Wednesday, June 6, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 9 - Know That Opportunity Makes the Thief

Back in 2009, I did a series of posts covering the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. The book is published by the US DOJ's Problem Oriented Policing Center (POP Center). Because of the value I think this book has for crime analysts, and policing in general, I am going to re-post this series on here on the blog.

In this post about the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're going to look at Step 9 - Know That Opportunity Makes the Thief. In this step the authors ask a question:
Suppose all situational controls were to be abandoned: no locks, no custom controls, cash left for parking in an open pot for occasional collection, no library check-outs, no baggage screening at airports, no ticket checks at train stations, no traffic lights, etc., would there be no change in the volume of crime and disorder? Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
The authors state that many criminologists wouldn't agree with this statement arguing that whether a crime occurs is more dependent on the personality of the persons as opposed to the opportunity for crime afforded by this situation. Unfortunately, criminologists who study a criminal's motivations don't have to work in same situations that we do. We generally can't affect a criminal's personality but we can affect the environment that gives a properly motivated criminal the opportunity to commit a crime.
Understanding that opportunity makes the thief will help direct your attention to practical means of preventing crime. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
More than anything else, the police have the opportunity to affect the environment the criminal operates in. We'll have to leave the causes of criminal motivation to the criminologists and other pointy headed academics.

Next time, we'll look at Step 10 - Put Yourself In The Offender's Shoes

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