Perspectives on Crime Prevention: Issues and challenges/Perspectives Sur la Prevention Du Crime: Questions et Enjeux
Hastings, Ross, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
I. Introduction to the special issue
The year 2004 marked the tenth anniversary of two significant events in the development of crime prevention in Canada: the launch of the first phase of the National Crime Prevention Strategy and the founding of the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime.
The federal government launched Phase I of the National Strategy on Crime Prevention and Community Safety in July 1994. It included initiatives aimed at family violence and drugs as well as the creation of a national crime prevention secretariat. However, the centrepiece of the strategy was the creation of a National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). The NCPC was composed of 25 volunteers drawn from across the country and representing many of the key sectors interested or involved in prevention or related activities. Its mandate was to help design a road map for policy and action aimed at creating a safer society. The NCPC strove to do this by providing policy advice to governments on pro-active approaches to crime, victimization, and insecurity and by acting as a voice for communities in the development of prevention policy.
The NCPC chose to focus its limited resources (about $525,000 per year) on the design of prevention initiatives aimed at children, youth, and families. The work was organized around the recognition of two simple truths (Canada, NCPC 1997c). The first is that children and families of all types have similar needs and confront similar challenges; however, there are enormous differences in their capacity to meet these challenges and in their access to the resources or tools they require. A prevention strategy must seek to reduce these inequalities and strive to provide the resources families and young people need to confront the challenges they face.
The second truth reflects the recognition that governments are over-committed and are often either unwilling to divert funds from elsewhere or unable to invest new resources into crime prevention. Moreover, it is unlikely that the private sector will find the types of profit opportunities that will induce it to get involved here on a large-scale basis, especially in attempts to address the risk factors related to social development. The result is a reliance on communities to take up the slack. But communities vary enormously in the problems they face and in their capacity to engage in successful prevention or problem-solving activities. There is often an inverse relation between the extent of the problems and capacity: the communities facing the greatest challenges usually do not have access to the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to mount an effective response. A national prevention strategy must help develop community capacity and support community mobilization.
The federal government ended its support of the NCPC in 1997, after the council had submitted its final reports (Canada, NCPC 1996, 1997a, 1997b, 1997c). On the basis, in large part, of this foundational work, the federal government launched Phase II of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) in 1998. This phase included the creation of a National Crime Prevention Centre within the Department of Justice and the investment of $32 million per year in support of prevention activities. The article by Leonard, Rosario, Scott, and Bressan in this issue gives some information and strategic perspective on the activities undertaken by the NCPS.
The year 1994 also marked the launch of the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC); Irvin Waller was its founder and first executive director. The ICPC is funded in part by the City of Montreal, the province of Quebec, the government of Canada, and nine other national governments. Their support of the ICPC reflects a desire to share what has been learned from their own experiences and to benefit from initiatives undertaken in other jurisdictions. The goal of the ICPC is to contribute to improving policies and programs in crime prevention and community safety around the world. It does this by making the knowledge base for prevention better known and more accessible, encouraging the use of evidence-based practices, fostering exchanges between countries or cities, and providing technical assistance and networking opportunities. The articles in this issue by Shaw and Andrew and by Sansfacon provide further information on its activities.
The tenth anniversary of these events seemed like an opportune time for a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice to reflect on developments in the field of prevention and, perhaps, to offer some advice or suggestions as to what types of steps would help us sustain and build upon our successes to date. This issue follows an earlier special issue of the journal on crime prevention edited by Thomas Gabor in 1989.
The articles are divided into two groups. The first six focus primarily on issues or initiatives in crime prevention in Canada or on developments in the field that are particularly relevant to some of the current debates around prevention in Canadian jurisdictions. The first article, by Leonard, Rosario, Scott, and Bressan, describes some of the findings and the lessons learned from the large-scale demonstration projects sponsored by the Crime Prevention Investment Fund of the NCPS. Linden and Chaturvedi then describe the requirements for the design and delivery of a comprehensive response to the problem of automobile theft and offer suggestions for steps needed to support such initiatives. The next article, by Brantingham, Brantingham, and Taylor, focuses on the current state of situational crime prevention and argues for the benefits of embedding such an approach in crime prevention planning and funding in Canada.
The next three articles assume a broader approach to prevention. Shaw and Andrew provide a critique of the failure of most prevention initiatives to give sufficient attention to issues of gender. They describe developments in this area, both internationally and in Canada, and argue for the need to "engender" prevention if we are to deliver on the promise of creating safe and secure cities. There follows an analysis by Paquin of partnerships in prevention and of the difficulties perceived by those who must confront the challenges of implementing and sustaining effective partnerships. The final article in this section, by Welsh and Farrington, describes some of their latest work on what works in prevention and offers some indications as to how this knowledge could be better used by decision makers and practitioners.
The second section of this special issue shifts the focus to crime prevention from an international perspective with articles on current developments in Australia, England and Wales, Finland, France, South Africa, and the United States. In light of the constraints of time and the limits of a journal article, we did not ask the authors to provide an exhaustive inventory of everything that has happened in their country or of all that has been learned to date. Instead, each article attempts to focus on a few key developments and to draw out their implications for the evolution of prevention in that country. This section ends with an article by Sansfacon that reflects on some successes to date and on some of the challenges for prevention in the years to come.
On behalf of the editors, I wish to express our appreciation for the support of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) of Canada in the preparation and publication of this special issue of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Their generous contribution has made this initiative possible. At the same time, the editors were given complete control over the content of the issue. All the opinions expressed herein are those of the authors of the articles and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the NCPS. The four of us who edited this issue are grateful for this opportunity.
II. Looking ahead: Some challenges for crime prevention
Taken together, the articles in this issue …
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Publication information: Article title: Perspectives on Crime Prevention: Issues and challenges/Perspectives Sur la Prevention Du Crime: Questions et Enjeux. Contributors: Hastings, Ross - Author. Journal title: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Volume: 47. Issue: 2 Publication date: April 2005. Page number: 209+. © 2009 Canadian Criminal Justice Association. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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