This module is a resource for lecturers

Effective prevention strategies

Crime prevention strategies

Crime prevention typically involves a multi-faceted approach to:

  • Reduce the opportunity for offenders to commit the crime.
  • Reduce the rewards from the crime, including by reducing demand for goods and services produced or supplied using victims of trafficking through changing consumer attitudes and behaviour.
  • Increase the risk of punishment for offenders committing the crime, thereby increasing deterrence. This is addressed in Module 9.
  • Create a climate in which the crime and its offenders are no longer tolerated and which heaps blame on all but the most hardened offenders.

As Kara (2011, p. 71) puts it, "[a]n increase in penalties, along with increased prosecution and conviction levels achieved through the kinds of tactics described above, should elevate the real risk and cost of human trafficking to an economically detrimental level. Put in criminal law terms, we are trying to elevate the deterrent and retributive value of the real penalty associated with the commission of slave-related crimes to a far more effective level".

One method of crime prevention that may be particularly suitable in the trafficking context is situational crime prevention (SCP). As described by Clarke, one of the main proponents of the situational crime prevention approach: '[s]ituational crime prevention comprises opportunity-reducing measures that are (1) directed at highly specific forms of crime, (2) that involve the management, design or manipulation of the immediate environment in as specific and permanent way as possible, (3) so as to increase the effort and risk of crime and reduce the rewards as perceived by a wide range of offenders' (Clarke, 1997).

Box 14

Situational Crime Prevention

Situational crime prevention (SCP) is a criminological perspective that calls for expanding the crime-reduction role well beyond the justice system. SCP sees criminal law in a more restrictive sense, as only part of the anticrime effort in governance. It calls for minutely analyzing specific crime types (or problems) to uncover the situational factors that facilitate their commission. Intervention techniques are then devised to manipulate the related situational factors. In theory, this approach reduces crime by making it impossible for it to be committed no matter what the offender's motivation or intent, deterring the offender from committing the offense, or by reducing cues that increase a person's motivation to commit a crime during specific types of events. SCP has given rise to a retinue of methods that have been found to reduce crime at local and sometimes national or international levels. SCP's focus is thus different than that of other criminological theories because it seeks to reduce crime opportunities rather than punish or rehabilitate offenders.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Situational crime prevention essentially intends to reduce crime by decreasing or eliminating the opportunities, impetuses and motivations leading to, or allowing, the realization of the criminal conduct (Korsell, 2018). It includes "hard" and "soft" interventions. The former includes deterring offenders from committing the offence and making it impossible for the offender to perpetrate the crime regardless of his or her intent. Soft interventions reduce situational prompts that increase a person's motivation to commit a crime during specific types of events.

Other strategies that contribute to crime prevention are discussed in Modules 4, 8 and 9 (for example, protection and managed reintegration of victims of trafficking and creation of criminal deterrence by prosecuting traffickers).

Next: Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness of prevention strategies
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