The Perception of Crime and the Criminal Justice System
- Fear of crime is defined by Ferraro (Ferraro, 1995: 8) as â€œ an emotional response of dread or anxiety to crime or symbols that a person associates with crimeâ€ (Lab, 2014: 11). In other words fear creates negative emotions with a victim that impacts negatively on and traumatize the individual. For instance very often a woman is scared to open the door of her house after she or an acquaintance have been exposed to an armed house robbery in the recent past.
- Deterrence is defined in the SBS Study guide (CPM100: 5) as â€œ Means preventing crime in general because of fear of being caught by police, prosecuted through the courts and punished. It also means eliminating the physical opportunities to commit crime by the presence of a police official, or by using locks or alarms and other (physical) measures according to Van Heerden (Van Heerden,1976:154-155). The Merriam-Webster On-line dictionary defines deterrence as: â€œ the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishmentâ€ ( date of access 19 March 2015) In other words you will refrain from drinking more drinks at a pub than allowed by the legal limit according to the law. If you know that if you dink more than two beers will result in the blood alcohol level in your blood exceeds the legal limit, you will stick to it or arrange for designated driver. The factor that will encourage you is that the police have roadblocks in your area where they test your blood alcohol levels. The penalty for drinking and driving very severe and you may also loose your driverâ€™s license for a period. The idea of those consequences deters you from drinking and driving.
- a) The first one is referred to as Specific deterrence. It focuses specifically on the individual. The aim of this deterrence is to prevent repeat offences by the individual by discouraging a repetition and by creating an understanding that there will be consequences.
b) Secondly there is General or indirect deterrence. This deterrence focuses on making examples of perpetrators. It is not specifically focuses on influencing the public view and perception by instilling harsh and decisive punishment for crimes committed. It focuses on possible future offenders and prevents crimes before they can be committed.
(Schmalleger, 2003, p. 406), ( , Date of accessed: 19 March 2015). In other words specific deterrence focuses on the perpetrator that was being found guilty in a court of law and receives his sentencing. The severity of the punishment will deter him from committing crime in future. General or indirect deterrence focuses more on the general public by making an example of this specific offender and instilling a suitable sentence in order to discourage future offenders from committing similar crimes.
- a) The first requirement of deterrence is Severity; according to Lab (2014:175), it is when you have to ensure the punishment will be harsh enough in order to deter the would be offender from committing the offence. If an would be armed robber knows that should he be caught and found guilty in a court of law, he will be sentenced to a minimum of twenty years in prison.
b) Certainty; According to Lab (2014: 175) it deal with the chances of being caught, in other words if the would be offender knows that the police is understaffed and that the detectives are inexperienced and have just to much work, chances of them focusing on every docket are very slim, he might not be deterred from committing the crime. If the local police are perceived to be corrupt and criminals knew that from experience they can buy their way out, they might nit be deterred.
c) Celerity: According to Lab(2014: 276) it deals with the swiftness of punishment or pain that will be inflicted after committing a crime. Swift punishment after there experiencing of the pleasure of committing the crime is needed in order to prevent a possible crime. Should a criminal be caught soon after an armed robbery that as widely published a be arraigned in court soon after that serves as a deterrent. Should you be able to get swift trial and conviction while the act that he committed is still fresh in the minds of himself, and the public, it serves well as a deterrent, both for the criminal and other would-be criminals alike. An example of this type of prevention is the incident that was reported on News24 on the 22nd of March 2015. (: Date Accessed 24 March 2015) Two armed robbers attacked a guy that walked down the street in Johannesburg CBD. They wanted to carry his bags and he refused. They threatened him with a knife and robbed him of R40. Shortly after the incident the victim saw a police officer and alerted him. The two thugs were arrested and the money and knife found on them. They appeared in court on the 23rd oh March. Swift action and decisive, witnessed by many bystanders.
1.5.a) Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED):. Lab (2014: 54) is of the opinion that the hardenings of architectural design, that include the whole layout of cities and neighborhoods as well as houses by means of physical security measures prevent crime. In other words if you design a neighborhood for instance with just one or two entrance/exit roads; you can effectively prevent crime by controlling the traffic. If those access routes are protected by CCTV cameras that monitor the traffic, even better.
b) Neighborhood Crime Prevention: Lab (2014: 85) mentions that Neighborhood and Block Watches increases community awareness. The community discusses common problems and gets to know each other they look out for each other and solve problems together. The community also contributes and pool recourses, for instance by patrolling the neighborhood with their own vehicles at own expense. Garscom is a very successful community-policing group that operates in the Garsfontein area. It is run and organized by the community and has regular interaction with the Garsfontein Police Station. Another function of the forum is that they have an open door to the Station Commander where they report good and bad performances by the members of the station.
c) Displacement and Diffusion: According to Lab (2014: 113) if a community makes it more dangerous for a armed robber to rob a shop, due to the fact that more and more shop owners armed themselves, the robbers would move to a safer neighborhood to target. In other words if a home owner installs burglar proofing to the windows of his house and install an burger alarm and build a two meter wall around his house, the would be burgled would rather target a softer target and if a whole neighborhood does the same the burglar would target a different neighborhood that is a softer target.
d) Using the mass media to prevent crime: According to Lab (2014: 136) the implementation of the mass media to fight/prevent crime can be very effective. TV Shows like â€œCrimestopâ€ and â€œWhen Duty Callsâ€ where crime is reported and where photos of known criminals or suspects are shown and the publicâ€™s cooperation is requested are very useful in preventing crime.
e) Developmental Crime Prevention: According to Lab (2014:158) this type of primary crime prevention, targets the potential of people to become criminals. In other words it targets the behavior, beliefs and attitudes that are learned by youths. These programmes target the youth and attempt to embed the right environments and learning at an early stage. Essentially what the youngsters learn and are exposed to dictate their future behavior. Captain Crime Stop has been used to great effect in the past to visit pre and primary schools with presentations and shows to influence kidâ€™s behavior.
- a) Prediction for Secondary Prevention: According to Lab (2014: 194) The prediction of future offending where proper variables are used to perform analysis in order to prevent crime can be very effective. The two types are Clinical and Actuarial prediction. Clinical prediction involves more personal interviews and evaluations, where Actuarial prediction is done based on known parameters in available data. Data can be collected per police ward as per the CAS System and the management can analyze the data on for instance house robberies and then design a plan specifically to curb these types of crimes in the area.
b) Situational Crime Prevention: According to Lab (2014:215 â€“ 235) this type of crime prevention focuses to a great extent on planning before implementation. It leads to a more focused approach where places, individuals, and different things at risk are identified that are at risk to victimization and repeated victimization is prevented. For example, smash and grab incidents occur regularly at the robot on the fly-over in Garsfontein road. Female drivers early in the morning or just before sunset are targeted. A task team is formed and tasked to draft a plan on how to prevent the victimization of female drivers that drive alone in their cars.
c) Partnerships for crime prevention: According to Lab(2014: 237 â€“ 254) it includes Community policing. A very typical example is the old model of the British Police, the bobby on the beat. A specific police officer is assigned to a street, like for instance Oxford Street. He patrols this street every shift and gets to know all the shop owners, newspaper sales vendors and other people that frequent the street. He knows the ins and outs of the area and the people that frequent there providing a â€œpersonalâ€ service to them. In Garsfontein specific police officers per shift are assigned to specific sectors to work in.
d) Drugs, Crime and Crime Prevention: According to Lab (2014: 255 â€“ 296) drugs and the use and sale of drugs have a definite effect on crime in an area. Drug addicts to support their habits for instance commit theft, prostitution and other petty crimes. Focus on the drug dealers and take them out of the equation and you bring down the levels of crime.
e) Removing the potential reward(s) of the crime: According to website of The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault under the heading: Factsheets: Crime Prevention ( : Date of access: 24 March 2015) it mentions the removal of the potential reward(s) of the crime as a form of secondary crime prevention. It mentions that shop owners place tags on clothes that marks/stains the clothing with ink is it is removed after been stolen, thus rendering the reward/clothing useless. Another example closer to home is the method used by cash in transit companies to arm the cash containers with ink cartridges that stains the money if the container is opened after been stolen.
1.7.a) Specific Deterrence: Imprisonment : According to Lab(2104: 301 â€“ 304), imprisonment serves as a form of tertiary deterrence. He argues that it is not the most effective form, but one of the most accepted forms used by society/the judicial system to prevent recidivism.
b) Incapacitation: Tertiary Crime Prevention: According to Lab (2014: 297 â€“ 335) involves tertiary crime prevention the actions taken to prevent the offender to repeat such an offence. Most of tertiary crime prevention falls with in the formal judicial system that means suitable punishment or pain inflicted by the court of law on an offender. It also serves, as deterrence for would be offenders to prevent them from committing crimes. For instance if a car-thieve receives a ten to fifteen-year sentence, it should prevent him from committing another similar offence once he served his sentence. According to the web page of US Legal.com Definitions, incapacitation is defined as :â€ the effect of a sentence in terms of positively preventing the sentenced person from committing future offenses. This concept is different from the theory of specific deterrence in which an offender is punished to make him/her understand the specific consequences of his/her offense. Incapacitation aims to prevent future crimes by taking away the offenderâ€™s ability to commit offensesâ€ ( Accessed 24 March 2015). The three strikes rule is a good example of this type of tertiary prevention. This law means that an offender with two prior convictions is sentence to life imprisonment for the third offence. (Stanford Law School, Stanford Three Strikes Project, Accessed 24 March 2014)
c) Electronic Monitoring: According to Lab (2014: 310 â€“ 316) the use of electronic monitoring provides a new avenue of incarceration. The convict is attached to an electronic monitor that monitors his movement and keep the convict for instance under house arrest and monitors enables the authorities to ensure that he remains in his house.
d) Rehabilitation: According to Lab (2014 : 317 â€“ 335) rehabilitation of criminals was the major method of tertiary crime prevention. He also argues that there is no uniform opinion that rehabilitation is very effective in recidivism. Lab mentions various rehabilitation programs like Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions, Intensive supervision and Restorative Justice as some that are implemented.
2.1.On the website BLAIR Analytics (, Accessed 24 March 2015), they outline the SARA Model as the steps that are taken in a problem orientating policing approach. These steps are:
Scanning: The following information is gathered during this step:
- You need to identify recurring problems of that is of concern to both the public and the police.
- You need to identify the consequences of the problem for the community and the police as identified in the first step.
- The identified problems need to be prioritized.
- The next step is to develop goals that are not very specific, but are broadly defined.
- Before you can continue you need to reassure that the problems exist.
- Next you need to find out how often the problems occur and what the duration of these problems were.
- The next step is to choose the most prevalent problems for closer scrutiny.
- Following the steps taken in the scanning phase you need to identify and form an understanding of situations and conditions that pre-empt or precede and also are present with the identified problem.
- The data then need to be collected pertaining to the problem need to be identified.
- Identify similar types of problems and research them.
- Make a list of how the problem is now being dealt with and also look at how the current response reflects the strong points and the weak points of the approach.
- The scope of the problem needs to be narrowed down and you need to look at specifics.
- Make a list of all he available recourses that may help you to obtain a better or deeper understanding of the problem.
- The last step is to design a workable hypothesis on why there is a problem.
Response: The â€œRâ€ in SARA stands for response. You completed the â€œSâ€ scanning process of the problem and also completed the â€œAâ€ analysis of the problem. Now you need to look at the response. Take the following steps:
- Have a brainstorming session to look for new type of interventions/strategies
- Look out for other communities that experience similar challenges and have a look at their solutions.
- Identify what of those solutions or strategies you want to use.
- Draft a response plan and gather all role players. Stating the specific objectives for the response plan.
- The last step in this section is to implement the planned interventions.
Assessment: Following the implementation of the plan(s) you have to do a proper assessment:
- You need to find out is the designed plan was initialized and evaluate it.
- You need to gather qualitative and quantitative data of both before you responded with the plan and after you responded and compare it.
- Look at your goals that were set for the plan and find out if the specific objectives were reached.
- The process doesnâ€™t stop here; you need to keep on looking for new strategies that may enhance the initial plan.
Remember it is an ongoing process and you need to continuously assess and evaluate the process to make sure that is effective.
(Website: Center for Problem- Orientated Policing, University at Albany, State University of New York. Accessed 24 March 2014)
2.2.a) Strengths: Identify and list all the strong points and attributes of your Unit or Police station and note it down.
b) Weaknesses: Identify and list all the weaknesses or perceived weaknesses of your Unit or Police station in dealing with the problem.
c) Opportunities: Identify and list all the opportunities you have available to deal with the identified problem.
d) Threats: Identify and list the threats experienced or anticipated.
List of References
- Steven P. LAB, Crime Prevention, 2014, 8th Edition, Anderson Publishing, and imprint of Elsevier 225 Wyman Street Waltham, MA 02451, USA
- Southern Business School, Crime Prevention Management 1 Study Guide (CPM 100), 2008 Business School Revised 2014 (New Edition), Plot 10, R28 Service Road, Diswilmar, Krugersdorp.
- The Merriam-Webster On-line dictionary, ( date of access 19 March 2015)
- (Schmalleger, 2003, p. 406), (, Accessed: 19 March 2015).
- News24 on the 22nd of March 2015. Two held for Joburg armed robbery
: Date Accessed 24 March 2015
- Website: The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault under the heading: Factsheets: Crime Prevention : Date of access: 24 March 2015
- Web page of US Legal.com Definitions, , Accessed 24 March 2015
- Website BLAIR Analytics , Accessed 24 March 2015
- Website: Center for Problem- Orientated Policing, University at Albany, State University of New York. Accessed 24 March 2014