Situational Crime Prevention: Definition & Strategies

Instructor: Ryan Futo

Ryan has a master of education and a BA in Criminal Justice.

When discussing crime prevention, it is simply just that — looking at how to limit crime. Here we will discuss strategic maneuvers and how to deter potential offenders from committing crimes.

Situational Crime Prevention

Traditional crime prevention strategies aim at reducing crime and violence by changing criminal tendencies. Situational crime prevention (SCP) focuses on the more immediate opportunities for offending. Situational crime prevention seeks to reduce the harms caused by crime through altering immediate or situational factors in the environments where crime regularly occurs.

There are many methodologies that are implemented to create situational crime prevention categories. Here we will discuss which prevention ideas have been successful in the workplace in addition to personal crime prevention.

In the examples, try and place yourself in these situations. Imagine that you are home alone and that you hear a noise outside. Think about what techniques you could employ to keep yourself and your belongings safe. Or you may be the business owner described. You will do everything in your power to run a successful business, and part of that is keeping all employees safe and merchandise from getting stolen. How will you accomplish that?

How Does SCP Work?

The SCP framework consists of four major components. These can be considered the pillars of the situational model. The fundamental elements include the following.

  • Theoretical foundation is the explanation and the floor upon which SCP was started, such as target hardening.
  • Standard methodology is everyday normal practices that are not out of the norm, such as an alarm at someone's home or business.
  • Set of opportunity reducing techniques means having a set of relied-upon procedures that can be deployed as needed after evaluating your situation.
  • Body of evaluated practice is to assess your situation constantly and alter your crime prevention tactics when needed.

When interpreting the upcoming strategies, remember the fundamentals. These are the backbone from which the theories of crime prevention are comprised. These work for business and personal crime prevention schemes.

Crime Prevention Strategies

Have you ever seen a store with bars or a gate over the windows and/or doors? Maybe you walked into a store and the clerk was behind a piece of glass, which was more than likely bullet proof. These two concepts are crime prevention tactics known as target hardening. Simply stated, they make a target more difficult, which is known as theoretical foundation. We see this in the information technology (IT) world as well. Theoretical foundation can include virus protection programs, personalized pins, card chip readers; these are all basic examples of how the IT world uses target hardening to keep information secure. These are good tactics, along with signs that may read that the store is under surveillance or that there is an alarm system.

Surveillance cameras can help deter crime.

Did you ever find yourself driving through an area and see a sign that says ''speed enforced by radar''? Now traffic cameras are certainly debatable, but there is one thing that cannot be debated — speed kills. In high volume traffic areas, traffic cameras have proven to be successful in limiting the number of traffic accidents. Thus, the number of personal liability and wrongful death suits has also decreased. When you know there is an area of town that has a traffic camera, there is a good possibility that you slow down.

Protecting Yourself and Your Belongings

Does anyone want to live with bars on their windows or have glass that is bullet proof? Personally, there are many efforts we can make in order to keep us safe, and be able to live a normal life. Do you enjoy going for a jog or walking through the local park? Find a friend to go with; two is always better than one! Using the set of opportunity reducing techniques, it is easy to protect your belongings. Do not leave valuable items in plain view when you park your car at the mall or even in your driveway for the night.

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