For a number of months I have been walking chapter by chapter through the book Crime Analysis for Problem Solvers. A few chapters back, in Step 38 we saw that there were 25 techniques of situational crime prevention that were divided up into these five categories:
- Increasing the effort of crime
- Increasing the risks
- Reducing the rewards
- Reducing provocations
- Removing excuses
These reduced rewards aren’t strictly monetary based. In fact the authors explain the rewards of crime this way:
These benefits may not simply be material, as in theft, because there are many other rewards of crime, including sexual release, intoxication, excitement, revenge, respect from peers, and so forth.If you are going to reduce the rewards of crime, you should think about the potential rewards that motivate a criminal in a particular type of crime. This will give you an idea of ways you can reduce the benefit thereby changing the cost / benefit ratio for your offender.
The authors list five ways to reduce the rewards of crime for the criminal. They are:
- Conceal targets
- Remove targets
- Identify property
- Disrupt markets
- Deny benefits
Police "sting" operations - such as bogus used goods stores - should be avoided because research has found that they may stimulate theft in the area around the sting.How many times has the response to a crime problem in your jurisdiction been to “set up a sting operation”? I think it’s important to be extremely cautious about sting operations for this reason. If your sting operation is crafted in such a way as to reduce the cost to the offender(s) then you are weighting the cost / benefit ratio in their favor. You may actually induce someone to commit a crime they ordinarily would not have if the cost / benefit was not artificially swung the wrong direction.
Next time, we’ll cover Step 42- Reduce provocations.