Evidence-Based Crime Prevention

Evidence-Based Crime Prevention

Evidence-Based Crime Prevention

Evidence-Based Crime Prevention

Synopsis

Crime prevention policy and practice is, on the whole, far from objective. Instead of being based on scientific evidence, the crime policy agenda is seemingly driven by political ideology, anecdotal evidence and programme trends. Evidence-Based Crime Prevention seeks to change this by comprehensively and rigorously assessing the existing scientific knowledge on the effectiveness of crime prevention programmes internationally. Reviewing more than 600 scientific evaluations of programmes intended to prevent crime in settings such as families, schools, labour markets and communities, this book grades programmes on their scientific validity using the 'scientific methods scale'. This collection, which brings together contributions from leading researchers in the field of crime prevention, will provide policy-makers, researchers and community leaders with an understandable source of information about what works, what does not work and what is promising in preventing crime.

Excerpt

Effective public policy and practice needs to be based on scientific evidence. This is the approach taken in medicine and other fields dedicated to the betterment of society. This is not, however, the standard usually adopted in crime prevention and criminal justice. Anecdotal evidence, program favorites of the month and political ideology seemingly drive much of the crime policy agenda. This book aims to change this by assessing the existing scientific knowledge on the effectiveness of crime prevention programs. It shows what works, what does not work and what is promising in preventing crime, reviewing programs as diverse as training parents in child rearing techniques, preschool intellectual enrichment programs, drug abuse resistance education (DARE) in schools, CCTV and improved street lighting, targeted police activities at crime hot spots, and juvenile boot camps.

This book presents the most up-to-date, comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of preventing crime in the United States, the United Kingdom and internationally. It reviews more than 600 scientific evaluations of programs intended to prevent crime in seven settings in which crime prevention takes place: families, schools, communities, labor markets, places (e.g. urban centers, homes), police and courts/corrections. Programs are evaluated on the “scientific methods scale, ” which ranks scientific studies from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest) on overall internal validity. This scale is not only important scientifically, but it also helps more effectively to communicate science to policymakers, practitioners, the media and the general public.

This book updates and substantially revises the 1997 report Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising, by Lawrence Sherman and his colleagues at the University of Maryland. This report was commissioned by the United States Congress as an independent, scientifically rigorous assessment of more than $4 billion worth of federally-sponsored crime prevention programs. The New York Times called Preventing Crime “the most comprehensive study ever of crime prevention.” It is our hope that the present volume will deserve a similar accolade and, more importantly, lead to more effective public policy in preventing crime and building safer communities.

This book is a publication of the Jerry Lee Center of Crimology at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the University of Maryland and the University of Cambridge.

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