Chapter 26 Review questions answer guidance


1. What do you understand by the term ‘crime prevention’?

This question requires an understanding that crime prevention can refer to both the prevention of future offending and measures taken to deter crime from occurring in the first place. Your answer might identify that crime prevention strategies and policies are based on the idea that if the causes of crime can be understood then policies can be put in place to eradicate or at least substantially reduce crime.

2. Who are the principle targets of crime prevention – offenders, potential victims or communities?

In addressing this question, you should consider that there are debates about whether crime prevention activities should be focused on preventing (potential) offenders from committing crimes, on identifying (groups of) potential victims and working to reduce the likelihood of their victimisation, or on the combination of circumstances which allow the conditions for crime to occur.

3. In line with Brantingham and Faust’s framework for crime prevention, give an example of ‘primary’, ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ prevention tactics.

For primary prevention, think about the types of intervention that would work to address problems with the physical or social environment e.g. better locks. For secondary prevention, consider interventions that would prevent individuals or groups from offending; initiatives like Prevent might fall into this category. For tertiary prevention, you need to consider mechanisms that will prevent reoffending. 

4. Outline the main difference between deterrence and diversion measures in relation to potential offenders.

Deterrence is intended to discourage individuals from committing crime by reducing temptation and opportunity, increasing the fear of getting caught, and emphasising the likely consequences. Diversion attempts to encourage those identified as at risk of offending to find more constructive uses for their time, in order to turn them away from crime.

5. What are the main features of ‘situational’ crime prevention?

Situational crime prevention focuses on interventions designed to impact on the processes leading up to the commission of crime. Situational crime prevention intends to make it harder or less desirable to commit a crime. Your answer might explore the rational choice perspective (RCP), the routine activity approach (RAA) and crime pattern theory (CPT), to show how situational crime prevention can affect decisions to commit crime.

6. What is the main assumption underlining the rational choice perspective?

According to RCP, offending is essentially rational and so those committing crime choose to do so. This question requires an understanding of rational choice as a perspective based on the idea that decisions to commit crime include a deliberate calculation by the offender of the costs and benefits of the crime. You might explore the different elements that go into this calculation, such as the ‘value’ of the crime, the likelihood of being apprehended, and the likelihood of receiving punishment.

7. What do you think of the idea of ‘scaring straight’ potential offenders?

In answering this question, you might explore the benefits of the kind of ‘aversion therapy’ represented by such programmes. Your answer will likely consider the possible effects of exposing those at risk of offending to custodial institutions and the real consequences of getting caught. You should look at the available evidence on the effectiveness of these programmes, to consider whether or not they actually work.

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