In this chapter, we revisit much of the ground that we have already covered in this book, but this time with the explicit objective of making some more formal Anglo-American comparisons. We want to do this not merely for its intrinsic interest, but also because we are conscious that ideas and practices in the contemporary world can flow very quickly between locations and cultures. Unless, however, these ideas and practices are understood in the contexts in which they have been developed and/or applied, there is a risk that they will be transplanted without consideration of the contextual elements which may be of critical importance to their success or failure. Further, it would be helpful if those considering adopting ideas and practices used in other locations would check whether any careful evaluation studies have been undertaken, to try to understand in what ways and to what extent particular initiatives actually succeeded in achieving their stated objectives. Sadly, in far too few cases will such an evaluation exist, so people will be forced to rely on the inherent attractiveness of an idea (which may well be a function of how effectively it has been sold by its progenitors and supporters) rather than on reliable evidence about what its application has achieved. Our ideal would be that moving ideas around the world, which is becoming ever easier with modern information technology, is done in full knowledge both of context and outcome, because we believe that this is the most successful way to take policy ideas from one society and culture to another. Since many of the major ideas in the field covered by this book emanate from either the USA or Britain, an Anglo-American comparison is clearly important in terms of understanding how portable this material might be (Kitchen and Schneider, 2000).
To this end, we revisit the relationships between crime and the fear of crime, crime trends in both societies, the history of place-based crime prevention, the intellectual heritage that supports our current understandings of the relationships between crime and the design of the built environment, and the policy and practice frameworks in the two countries. Our broad overview of this is that the major differences are to be found in crime trajectories (although not, we think, in terms of some of the issues of the geography and the demography of crime that sit behind these trends) and in the policy and practice frameworks in each country. There are also some significant differences in the ways in which individual ideas are