In the current economic climate it could be argued that crime prevention budgets would be better invested in situational measures rather than social crime prevention projects. To what extent might this represent a false economy?
Word count: 2922 (Not included references).
The world economy is currently going through austerity changes, affecting industry, exposing society to unemployment and causing social discourse, weakening communities and social cohesion, escalating the fear of crime and criminal behaviour, whilst placing pressures upon government provide effective crime prevention policies and use methods that offer immediate results at low cost. This essay will consider the understanding of society and community, its relevance within crime and crime prevention; how criminal opportunity and social deviance play their part in criminal behaviour and crime. Whilst also discussing crime in order to understand crime prevention, we will examine Schneider’s four pillars of crime prevention (Schneider, S. 2009) then expand on situational and social crime prevention methods to identify their effects on crime and society. The examination of situational crime prevention will expose how narrow the method only seeks to removing criminal opportunity; produce quick fix results to crime, whilst marginalizing and failing society in other social contexts. The concept of deviance will discuss Durkheim anomie theory and Merton’s strain theory (Schneider, S. 2009), both of which forms part of the complexity of social prevention, and the difficulties face in identifying results with this method. This leads onto how the government controls the monopoly on setting crime strategies, and uses national recorded and surveyed crime statistics to support their crime prevention policies and budgetary agendas; policies which currently rely excessively on the judicial system, causing prison over crowding, unaffordable budgetary costs and growing risks further social marginalization and discourse.
Society is suggested to be the coming together of individuals, who through a contractual agreement form society; crime is neither an attack on the social sovereignty, more a breaking of contract, causing society or the community to become the victim. Therefore, society is obliged to redress wrong or any deviation with punishment, in an attempt to prevent and deter further wrongs or deviance being committed (Dreyfus and Rabinow 1982; Tait, G. 2004). Socio-economic changes in modernity have increased opportunities for crime to be more prevalent. The increasing amounts of money and goods in the economy and the growth of a consumer society have meant an increased opportunity for crime, providing individuals to expect more than they could achieve; fuelling their motivation to commit crime. Durkheim’s anomie theory suggests that, “social norms are confused, unclear or rejected by people” (Schneider, S. 2009: 79), and therefore crime and deviance occurs through a lack of commonly held social beliefs and values or conventional norms, characterised by rapid social change disorganisation. Where Merton’s strain theory suggests individuals act under socio-environmental pressure to achieve personal goals or wealth in excess of their ability; rejecting social norms and acting in a deviant or criminal manner to realize these expectations. These theories suggested the reasons for criminal deviant behaviour are rooted within the dysfunctional social environment of the individual, which must be fixed to prevent crime (Schneider, S. 2009).
The current economic changes have seen the decline of the economy, manufacturing industry and a growth of long-term unemployment, leading to a difficulty for many individuals, who are now unable the achieve personal, family economic or consumer goals through legitimate means of employment. Leading a society of the “haves and have not’s,” causing criminal deviance to increase and the fear and...
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