Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics - Situational
Situational Crime Prevention
'Situational Crime Prevention' (SCP) is the name given by criminologists to crime prevention strategies that are aimed at reducing the criminal opportunities which arise from the routines of everyday life. Such strategies include 'hardening' of potential targets, improving surveillance of areas that might attract crime (e.g. closed-circuit television surveillance), and deflecting potential offenders from settings in which crimes might occur (e.g., by limiting access of such persons to shopping malls and other locales). While there has been much research and criminological discussion of SCP, it has focussed on issues of effectiveness and other technical aspects - e.g., does closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance 'work', in the sense of deterring offenders or aiding in the detection of offences? The larger issues - especially the ethical ones - were little addressed.
In a linked pair of colloquia, held while the Centre was still in the process of being established formally, a group of philosophers, criminological theorists, and SCP researchers were brought together to discuss the wider issues associated with SCP. Following the first colloquium, a number of participants were invited to contribute articles for review in the second colloquium, which then became the Centre's first published volume. Some of the issues addressed are ethical: To what extent are situational crime-prevention strategies likely to constrain unduly people's freedom of movement?; To what extent do they involve an undue intrusion upon a citizen's 'right to anonymity' in public space? Other issues addressed concerned the place of SCP within criminological discourse: To what extent, for example, does it 'normalise' the treatment of crime so as to become an everyday risk in need of 'management' - and how would this alter the character and expectations of the crime prevention enterprise?
Authors of the articles in this volume include David Garland, Ronald Clarke, Anthony Duff, Clifford Shearing, Joanna Shapland, Richard Sparks, and Andrew von Hirsch. The volume has now appeared as the first of the Centre's series of books, published by Hart Publishing in Oxford, under the title, A. von Hirsch, D. Garland and A. Wakefield (eds) Ethical and Social Issues in Situational Crime Prevention (2000).