Social and Situational Crime Prevention Strategies

The most widely recognized definition of crime prevention in the latter part of the 20th century refers to the difference between social and situational strategies of crime prevention—social strategies are generally called ‘community crime prevention’ (Stenson, 1991, p. 63). Many argue that the concepts of social and situational prevention are quite contemporary, even though the principles they support are not. This paper analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, and applications of situational and social crime prevention strategies. Social crime prevention focuses mostly on transforming social environments and the impulses of lawbreakers. Social crime prevention strategies hence are likely to place emphasis on the creation of programs, like activity-based courses and youth associations, to discourage existing or possible delinquents from future criminal behavior. Jon Bright claims that one of the main advocates of social crime prevention is the United Kingdom, which aims to strengthen socialization agencies and community institutions in order to influence those groups that are most at risk of offending (Stenson, 1991, p. 64).On the other hand, situational crime prevention strategies primarily involve ‘opportunity reduction’, like monitoring of activities in public places (e.g. parking lots, shopping malls, etc.) through surveillance equipment, to lessen opportunities for criminal activities. Both social and situational crime prevention strategies are likely to be ‘multiagency’ in focus, instead of being motivated by a single agency, like law enforcement (Lowman amp. MacLean, 1992). The top radical criminologist, Jock Young, has identified multiagency crime prevention measures in this way: Multiagency intervention is the planned, coordinated response of the major social agencies to problems of crime and incivilities (Lowman amp. MacLean, 1992, p. 64).