Planning for Crime Prevention: A Transatlantic Perspective

By Richard H. Schneider; Ted Kitchen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

AMERICAN POLICY AND PRACTICE

INTRODUCTION

In this chapter we move from the place-based crime prevention postulates offered up by Newman, Jeffrey, Clarke, the Brantinghams and their disciples to constructed projects that either helped generate the theories, or have come to be supportive of them after the fact, and to examples of legislation that are largely grounded in these theories and projects. We look first at the structural context of federalism, since this frames the adoption and implementation of new policies generally in the United States, with implications reaching down to local level jurisdictions, where place-based crime prevention interventions actually take place. Next we concentrate on intervention examples from North America, and primarily from the United States, as a basis for comparison with examples from Britain, which are discussed in Chapters 7 and 8. Our interest is to focus on projects that typify place-based crime prevention in the USA and Britain but that also help distinguish the approaches between the two nations. These projects and legislation suggest a range of fundamental historical, structural and policy contrasts between the USA and Britain that have led both countries to grapple with crime prevention from different perspectives, sometimes with different results. This comparison moves us toward an understanding of where we have come from in each nation relative to place-based crime prevention, as well as where we are likely to go.

Together, the four interrelated place-based crime prevention theories presented in Chapter 4 sought to revolutionise academic criminology, sociology, architecture and urban planning and, by so doing, influence crime prevention interventions in the field. While there is no question that a growing number of academics have come to acknowledge the value of defensible space, CPTED, situational crime prevention and environmental criminology principles as legitimate components of crime prevention theory, the extent to which they are actually put into practice in the everyday planning, design and construction of the built environment is open to question. In the United States new policy and programmes often are far easier to verbalise than operationalise, especially within the context of the highly fragmented federal system in which decision-making plays out.

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