Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess Sociological Views of Crime Reduction Strategies.

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Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess sociological views of crime reduction strategies. (21 marks). There are numerous different types of strategies for crime reduction. These include crime prevention tactics which are suitable for whole societies, and also forms of punishment which are suitable for individuals. Crime prevention strategies include situational crime prevention, environmental crime prevention, and social and community crime prevention. Ron Clark describes situational crime prevention as ‘a pre-emptive approach that relies, not on improving society or its institutions, but simple on reducing opportunities for crime’. He identifies three features of measures aimed at situational crime prevention, firstly that they are directed at specific crimes, that they involve managing or altering the immediate environment of the crime and lastly that they aim at increasing the effort and risks of committing crime and reducing the rewards. For example, ‘target hardening’ measures such as increased surveillance in shops via CCTV or security guards increases the effort a shoplifter needs to make. Underlying situation crime prevention approaches is an rational choice theory. This is the view that criminals act rationally, weighing up the costs and benefits of a crime opportunity before deciding whether to commit it. This contrasts with theories that stress ‘root causes’ such as capitalist exploitation. Clarke argues that most theories offer no realistic solutions to crime. The most obvious things to do, he argues, is to focus on the immediate crime situation, since this is where possibility for prevention is greatest. Most crime is opportunistic, so we need to reduce the opportunities. One criticism of situation crime prevention measures is that they do not reduce crime, they simply displace it. For example, Chaiken et al found that a crackdown on subway robberies in New York merely displaced them to the streets above. Although displacement can be in...
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