Crime Prevention: Theory, Policy, and Politics by Daniel Gilling

By Daniel Gilling

This paintings summarizes and synthesizes the colossal crime prevention literature to supply an approachable and complete textual content for college students. It units out a serious research within the context of the politics of legal justice coverage.

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Sample text

In essence, planning orthodoxy had been responsible for making cities unsafe places, where vandals, robbers and other street criminals could ply their unnatural trades without fear of apprehension. The city, however, was not beyond salvation, for contemporary planning orthodoxy had not penetrated everywhere, and vestiges of hope remained in a number of models of urban safety from some older city quarters, from which valuable lessons could be learned, “to strengthen whatever workable forces for maintaining safety and civilisation do exist—in the cities we do have” (1965:41).

This diversity would, of itself, constrain the opportunities for crime on the streets, the focus of her criminological attention. In particular, diversity of use would bring more “eyes onto the street” by encouraging more widespread and continuous use of the streets and parks as places of leisure, play and commerce, and by clearly demarcating public and private space. This could be reinforced, moreover, by designing buildings in order to maximize their surveillance potential, which was far preferable to attempting to ensure safety by building physical barriers that encouraged a socially divisive “fortress mentality” and an aggressive “turf” attitude, not so dissimilar to that held by delinquent gangs.

Thus it could be dismissed as mere anecdote or polemic. In a male-dominated field such as criminology, moreover, it could not have helped that she was a woman, oversimplifying a problem that apparently greater male minds had struggled with for decades. Indeed, Jacobs herself was mindful of her recommendations being taken as any kind of panacea, pointing out that, ultimately, “deep and complicated social ills must lie behind delinquency and crime” (1965:41), and thereby paying reverence to the orthodoxies of the day.

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