Crime Displacement - Paper Example

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Crime displacement can be defined as changes that occur to crime due to preventive actions that are undertaken by the society (Lab, 2016). It is mainly based on shifting of crime across a geographical area, a process referred to as crime spillover. Crime displacement also incorporates temporal displacement, tactical displacement, target displacement, functional displacement and perpetrator displacement (Clarke, 1995). In temporal displacement, the period of the crime is changed while the geographic location in which the crime occurs remains the same. It is illustrated by the occurrence of crimes late in the night or very early in the morning. Tactical displacement refers as to the change in methods utilized by criminals to commit an offense and can be shown by shifting from entering houses through unlocked doors to breaking windows during a burglary (Cornish & Clark, 1986). Target displacement represents the change in individuals targeted by crime. Securing stores with weapons may force criminals to target women and the elderly. In functional displacement, criminals ventures into new crimes. For example, a shift from burglary to robbery represents functional displacement. Perpetrator displacement involves replacement of an individual who ceases his deviant behavior with another individual in the same geographic location. A criminal ceases committing a crime and is replaced by another criminal.

Crime displacement usually has several assumptions about the offenders and their potential targets (Lab, 2016). The accuracy of these assumptions is very important to the possibility of crime displacement happening. These assumptions are: crimes are inelastic, offender have mobility and can make rational choices, and there are alternative targets for the offenders. In elasticity, the criminals led to commit crime at certain periods due to the availability of an opportunity.

Crime diffusion is defined as the assumption that crime prevention efforts will deter crime in other places rather than the targeted area (Boda & Szabo, 2011). Protecting one area or merchandise may deter or discourage crimes in other areas. For example, protecting a bank with armed security and CCTVs may deter crimes in the neighboring businesses. In this case, the probability of being apprehended is increased, and potential criminals are deterred by a higher probability of being caught. Crimes are discouraged by decreasing its reward while increasing the effort required to commit the crime.

Crimes are not committed randomly by the offenders (Lab, 2016). They spot an opportunity and make decisions on when, where, and how to execute a crime based on the opportunity. According to Felson and Clarke (1998), the cornerstone of every crime is the opportunity. Understanding how criminals spot and opportunity and evaluate it is very vital in crime prevention. Felsom and Clarke (1995) produced ten assumptions of crime opportunity which were based on three theories; routine activities, rational choice, and crime pattern theory. Under routine activity theory, regular activities by a target provide an opportunity for crime to occur. Products that are concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable and disposable (CRAVED) also encourage criminals. Before committing crimes, offenders make rational choices based on needs, risks, and payoffs before determining where and when to attack. Criminal theory pattern explains that criminal behavior and crime fits behaviors that can be comprehended by analyzing social, economic and physical environments in which people operate and the peoples understanding of their environment (Lab, 2016).

The mass media have a high affinity for crimes. There is a wide coverage of crime in the news as well as fictional programming in both television and cinema (Boda and Szabo, 2011). In fictional works, for instance, the media has misrepresented crime and the judicial system, and this has an enormous influence on people's perception of crime. Media's glorification of crime and violence encourages crime. Media's presentation of crime also evokes fear in people. According to Robinson (2011), crime news increases fear. There is also consistent evidence showing that television violence leads to increased fear (Boda and Szabo, 2011). This fear development due to mass media is qualified by demographic factors such as race or gender.

Mass media plays a key role in crime presentation. It reduces the crime by increasing the risk to offenders, increasing the offenders perceived risk and encouraging safety practices within the public (Robinson, 2011). People are encouraged to provide any information on the crime to the authorities, and this increases the risk of being apprehended. To increase the offenders' perceived risk, the mass media is used to send messages directly to the offender and to inform them of the available potential deterrence schemes available. It is also the role of the mass media to inform the public of the safety practices that make crime more difficult to commit.

Deterrence can be defined as actions taken to prevent individuals from committing a crime, and it has two types; general and specific (Lab, 2016). General deterrence aims to affect more than one offender. For example and offender can be jailed to serve as a warning to other potential offenders. Specific deterrence such as imprisonment hopes to prevent the offender from repeating the crime. Deterrence and its effectiveness in society are guided by the severity of sanctions, the certainty of punishment, combined certainty and severity, and certainty of apprehension The ability of punishment to deter offenders is based on the following perceptions; perceived certainty, perceived severity, and combined deterrence factors.


Boda, Z. & G. Szabo (2011). The media and attitudes towards crime and the justice system: A qualitative approach. European Journal of Criminology 8:329342.

Clarke, R.V. (1995). Situational crime prevention. In Tonry, M. and D.P. Farrington (eds.), Building a Safer Society: Strategic Approaches to Crime Prevention. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cornish, D.B. & R.V. Clarke (1986). Situational prevention, crime displacement and rational choice theory. In Heal, K. and G. Laycock (eds.), Situational Crime Prevention: From Theory into Practice. London: Her Majestys Stationery Office. Felson, M. and R.V. Clarke (1998). Opportunity Makes the Thief: Practical Theory for Crime Prevention. London: Home Office Police and Reducing Crime Unit.Bado

Lab, S. (2016). Crime Prevention: Approaches, Practises and Evaluations. 9th ed. New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis.

Robinson, M.B. (2011). Media coverage of crime and criminal justice. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Essay Four

Crime Prevention

Developmental crime prevention refers crime prevention by targeting the potential of an individual to become a criminal (Lab, 2016). It is based on an assumption that any deviant behavior is due to early childhood experiences and learnings. The inability of the society to deal with those childhood issues introduce people especially teenagers to crime. The foundation of the developmental crime prevention is in the learning theory. This theory explains crime originates from behaviors and attitudes that are learned mostly in youths. The learning theory explains well the growth of behavior, but it does not adequately explain criminality.

A new model referred to as the elaboration model attempts to utilize several theories to create a single explanation of criminality (Clarke, 1983). Other writers offer different explanations of the elaboration model with varying complexities. However, they all agree that identification and elimination of factors that lead to crimes are key to preventing crimes. Farlington (2007) classified the risks into two groups; individual risk factors such as low empathy and impulsiveness and family risk factors such as child abuse and poor parental supervision.

Many social skills pieces of training have been developed in schools to enable children to identify problematic issues and react appropriately to them (Lab, 2016). These programs aim to reduce behavioral and emotional problems while developing a child's self-control and problem-solving skills. Parents are also trained to provide a favorable environment for the emotional development of their children. Other programs involve mentorship programs and pre-school programs for young children.

Secondary prevention focuses on individuals with a high probability of a deviancy, who may display a tendency for criminality (Lab, 2016). Since it is a primary intervention, that is it is used before a crime is committed, it is based on the prediction. Prediction involves choosing the right variables as indicators of future behavior. Choosing the correct variables is usually a difficult task and will usually vary depending on the evaluator. Psychologists will rely on information gathered in clinical assessments based on an individual personality, interpersonal relationships, and their life experiences (Clarke, 1992). Sociologists will make their assessment based on the persons race, ethnicity, age and group affiliations. The accuracy of these predictions is also very important.

There are two types of predictions clinical and actuarial (Clarke, 1983). Clinical prediction is based on one's medical evaluations and personal records. An individual rater chooses what variables are appropriate for the specific case and uses his total discretion to make a decision. Strictness in the determination of subsequent offending may lead to inaccurate clinical evaluation. Actuarial prediction is usually based on data available and the set parameters. It is based on the identification of appropriate parameters such as age, gender, socioeconomic status and family background. Recently, risk factors have been used to predict people who are likely to commit offenses in future (Lab, 2016). These risk factors do not necessarily show that a person will become a criminal in future but only signify the need for more attention. The risk factors are grouped into family, peer, psychological, community, and biological risk factors.

Prediction of place and time of the crime is also important in crime prevention (Lab, 2016). Crime hotspots are defined as places with a high frequency of crime occurrence. Knowledge of hotspots is important for authorities to link locations with places with the most likely crime to occur. Identification of hot commodities that may attract criminals in an area may also be important in the implementation of preventive interventions. Knowledge of hotspots and crime duration is vital for the appropriate implementation of interventions.

Situational crime preventions involve identifying people and places which have a high risk of victimization and developing an intervention which is highly specific to these problems, individuals or places (Lab, 2016). According to Clark (1983), situational crime prevention originated in British Home Office in 1970s. The effectiveness of the method led to its growth. In situational prevention, rational choices, lifestyle perspectives, routine activities, and criminal history is very important in developing anti-crime measures.

The growth of situational crime prevention is illustrated by development in its typology. Its initial approach as explained by Clark (1983) included surveillance, target hardening, and environmental management. Clark (1992) revised the list to include increasing the risk, increasing the effort and reducing the rewards. The situation crime response has been revised several times as it develops. Cornish and Clarke (2003), created a new typology improving the previous typologies that included twenty-five techniques for situational crime...

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