This chapter tries to pull together some of the most important threads that have been emerging throughout this book. To do this, we have divided it into three broad sections. The first deals with general stances, and discusses some of the most significant perspectives which in our view should determine the way forward for the broad field of planning for crime prevention. The second looks at some key propositions which we feel able to advance with a degree of confidence as useful elements to help with this journey. And the third section deals with what we consider the way forward for research in this field to be, given that we have placed emphasis throughout on the importance of knowledge accumulation rather than polemic if the field is going to develop and if practice decisions are to benefit from effective guidance from the record to date. Our conclusions reiterate the key messages that we hope readers will take from this book.
We should say straight away that we do not feel able to advance an approach to 'the way forward' which people can simply take away and apply to whatever cases they are dealing with in the full expectation that the outcome will be successful. Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to be able to do this: to produce the equivalent of a Mrs Beeton's cookery book (or, for American readers, a 'Joy of Cooking') for the field of planning for crime prevention which could stand the test of time would be an achievement indeed. But, as we have said on many occasions throughout this book, the level of what we can claim to know in this field which is backed up by reliable research or by post-hoc evaluation is simply insufficient to support a cook-book approach of this kind. This may well be an appropriate long-term objective, but were we to attempt this for the present this would simply put another piece of polemic alongside the considerable volume of material of this kind which already exists. This is so despite the fact that there is indeed a growing body of evidence collected on both sides of the Atlantic to the effect that some place-based crime prevention strategies do work or are at least promising. Nevertheless, the tripartite approach that we have outlined (general stances, key propositions and further research) is as far as we think we can reasonably go at this stage; and we hope it contributes not merely to current understandings but also to the process of shaping future work agendas. To readers who have come thus far with us and who were expecting a conclusion