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Study notes

Social and Community Crime Prevention

  • Levels: AS, A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas, WJEC

Sometimes referred to as an actuarial approach to crime, these crime prevention strategies are based on identifying individuals and groups who are most at risk of committing crime and intervening in some manner or other.

Actuarialism refers to insurance and the way premiums are calculated based on risk. The same principles can be applied to crime: as seen in the sections on the social distribution of crime, some social groups are apparently more likely to commit crimes than others. Targeted interventions such as pre&dash; school classes, parenting classes, and family and relationship counselling could prevent crime by reducing the circumstances that create crime. Some of these approaches are supported by left realist sociologists.

An example of such a scheme was the Troubled Families Programme established by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government (in the wake of David Cameron's infamous "hug a hoodie" speech). The programme sought to "turn around" a significant number of identified "troubled families" in order to reduce crime, truancy and other social problems.

Evaluating Social and Community Crime Prevention

While the Troubled Families Programme claimed a 99% success rate, a leaked independent evaluation suggested that it had no discernible effect on criminality.

As with situational and environmental crime prevention, this approach again only tackles crime by the working class, not white&dash;collar, corporate or state crime

Marxists would argue that even where such programmes have produced some limited improvements in social conditions, they do nothing to tackle the structural inequality inherent in the capitalist system.

Some (such as Michel Foucault) would argue that these sorts of schemes really provide the state with new opportunities to put the public under surveillance and are about control and power rather than crime prevention.

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