The Need for Comprehensive Crime Prevention Planning: The Case of Motor Vehicle Theft

By Linden, Rick; Chaturvedi, Renuka | Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, April 2005 | Go to article overview

The Need for Comprehensive Crime Prevention Planning: The Case of Motor Vehicle Theft


Linden, Rick, Chaturvedi, Renuka, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice


La plupart des programmes de prevention du crime sont mal planifies et appliques, et ne contribuent que peu ou pas du tout a la prevention du crime. Les programmes sont habituellement fragmentes, la communication etant insuffisante entre les groupes qui ont un interet commun en matiere de reduction de la criminalite. La plupart des programmes sont isoles les uns des autres, et non lies dans le cadre d'une strategie de prevention communautaire globale. Les collectivites qui ont reussi a faire baisser de facon significative les taux de criminalite ont adopte une approche globale en matiere de prevention du crime, dans laquelle s'integrent une serie de programmes coordonnant les efforts concertes d'un grand nombre de partenaires et de participants. Pour etre complets et efficaces, les programmes de prevention du crime doivent viser a analyser les problemes de criminalite dans leur contexte communautaire, mobiliser un grand nombre de gens et d'organismes, tabler sur des strategies de prevention tres diverses, etre soigneusement choisis en fonction des besoins propres a une collectivite; enfin, leurs resultats doivent etre evalues. Cet article illustre l'application de ces exigences a la prevention du vol de vehicules a moteur.

Introduction

Most crime prevention programs do little or nothing to prevent crime (Sherman, Gottfredson, MacKenzie, Eck, Reuter, and Bushway 1997). Why are crime prevention efforts so unsuccessful? The main reason is that they are poorly planned and implemented. Those responsible for the programs rarely undertake a careful analysis of their community's problems, and programs are often implemented because they are fashionable rather than because they have been shown to be successful. All too often, programs are initiated in neighbourhoods that don't really need them, while less organized neighbourhoods with higher crime rates are not served by programs because local residents have not taken the initiative or do not have the capacity to start them and because programs are much more difficult to implement in high-needs communities. Furthermore, many programs are have little or no funding, and even projects that are funded may have little chance of surviving after the initial funding period is over. Programs are typically fragmented, and there is a lack of communication and awareness among groups with common interests. Finally, programs typically operate in isolation and are not linked to a broader community-wide prevention strategy.

However, some communities have found that it is possible to achieve meaningful reductions in crime rates. These communities have developed comprehensive programs that involve cooperation among different levels of government and other agencies and groups able to contribute to the solution; that are targeted to areas where they are most needed; that use a broad range of prevention approaches tailored to the specific needs of the communities; that draw upon programs that have been shown to be effective in other places; and that give the community a meaningful role in prevention. Comprehensive initiatives can be of two types:

* those that focus on the needs of an entire community or on high-crime neighbourhoods in the community, and

* those designed to address a particular problem, such as domestic violence or vehicle theft, on a broad scale.

In either case, the common theme is an attempt to deliver an integrated series of programs by coordinating the efforts of a broad range of partners and participants. Comprehensive planning for crime prevention emphasizes the need for a detailed understanding of the problem, one grounded in knowledge of the social and physical environment in the local neighbourhoods in which the problem occurs; it also requires that the necessary financial and human resources be available to respond to the problem. Finally, this approach stresses the need for a coordinated approach to developing and implementing solutions and evaluating the results. …

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