Keri McMahon Situationalcrime prevention entails focusing on mechanisms that reduce the opportunity tocommit crime. Situational crime prevention methods are based around theclassical school and deterrence theory. This prevention tactic focuses on aspecific crime type to discover the situational factors that are causing thatcertain crime (Freilich & Newman, 2017).
Situational crime prevention focuseson eliminating the opportunity for crime, no matter how motivated the offendermay be, which will subsequently reduce crime. It also emphasizes the importanceof deterrence and reducing opportunities to increase an offender’s motivation. Situationalcrime prevention focuses on reducing crime rather than punishing orrehabilitating offenders (Freilich & Newman, 2017). The major concepts ofsituational crime prevention include rationality, specificity, and opportunitystructure (Freilich & Newman, 2017). Rationality focuses on human’s abilityto make rational decisions. However, it is up to each individual to chooseeither the rational or irrational thought process. A rational choice howevercan mean different things to different people. An offender may believe stealingfood is a rational choice because they need to feed their family whereas anoutsider would view this as irrational since it breaks the criminal law.
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Specificityaddresses situational crime prevention’s initiative to reduce very specifictypes of crime by emphasizing which exact crime it wishes to prevent (Freilich& Newman, 2017). For example, instead of wanting to reduce stealing,situational crime prevention focuses on stealing food from supermarkets. Focusingon the specific type of problem helps identify what the exact characteristicsand opportunities associated with that crime are. Knowing thesecharacteristics, helps discover possible strategies to prevent the crime.Opportunity structure deals with analyzing the situations that surround a crimeso we can understand the opportunities offenders see when committing crimes. Thisusually leads to breaking the opportunities that surround a crime into smallercomponents which can lead to finding a productive way to prevent the crime (Freilich& Newman, 2017). Theroutine activities theory is centered around three factors which are amotivated offender, a suitable target, and the lack of guardianship. Thistheory focuses on the notion that people go about their daily lives involvingthemselves in situations where the possibility to commit crime is available.
Amotivated offender is just as it sounds, there are people who have a motivationto commit crime. A suitable target can encompass a vast majority of situationsdepending on the crime the motivated offender wants to commit. Guardianship cancome in many forms, from police officers to better lighting in a parking lot.When a form of guardianship is lacking, the motivated offender has a greaterchance of committing a crime on his/her suitable target. Situational crimeprevention relates to routine activities theory since crime can be prevented ifthere is better guardianship, less suitable targets, and less motivated offenders.Situational crime prevention would try and have every place where crime canoccur be guarded so the offender does not seize the opportunity.
Situationalcrime prevention would also make sure no target is suitable for crime andbetter educate or prevent the creation of motivated offenders. Situationalcrime prevention uses the factors of routine activities theory to better learn aboutwhy crime happens, so it can discover what needs to be instilled within societyto prevent crime. When I was at my boyfriend’sapartment this weekend, we decided to do homework out on the patio. We wouldcasually watch our surroundings and see what the other apartment residents weredoing.
A yellow car drove up right in front of my boyfriend’s apartment since itis on the side of the parking lot. We saw a lady get out and proceed to deliverflowers to a neighboring apartment unit. However, she left her car on while shedelivered the flowers. She was probably away from her car for about threeminutes. Her car could have easily been stolen fromsomeone who was motivated to steal a car since it lacked her guardianship andalready had the doors unlocked and keys in the ignition (suitable target).
Situationalcrime prevention could have been applied by her turning her car off, taking thekeys with her, and locking her doors. Although she was only gone for a fewminutes, someone could have easily seized that opportunity to steal her carsince the offender would only need to open the door and put the car in reverse.The lady made stealing her car very easy. Situational crime prevention wouldsuggest taking the keys with her and locking the doors so there is a reducedopportunity to steal the car. Myboyfriend’s apartment complex requires residents or visitors to enter through agate. Residents have a pass and visitors must search through a call box to callwho they are visiting. This technique prevents non-residents and others whohave no business going to the apartment complex from entering the premises.
Althoughit is a good idea, the gate closes very slowly, and a motivated offender couldeasily enter if they followed a car in. The apartment complex also has a securityguard that rides around the complex looking for suspicious activity. This crimeprevention technique is supposed to deter offenders from committing crime. The securityguard is supposed to prevent any theft, suspicious activity, and/or disturbancesfrom occurring within the complex.