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Crime, and its prevention, are complex and challenging the one to understand, the other to successfully deliver. Specialist crime prevention practitioners of all kinds, and many others with professional crime prevention responsibilities (designers, architects and planners; social workers, health workers, managerial staff in public and private organisations, teachers and so on) all require a firm foundation of practical and theoretical knowledge.

This knowledge takes several forms:

  • Know-of crime: what crime is, definitions of specific offences; definitions of related concepts such as security, safety and partnership.
  • Know-about crime problems: their nature, costs and wider harmful consequences for victims and society; offenders’ modus operandi, patterns and trends in criminality, risk and protective factors… and theories of causation.
  • Know-what works: what methods work, against what crime problem, by what mechanisms, in what context, with what side-effects and what cost-effectiveness, more generally, what are plausible intervention methods and principles.
  • Know-who to involve and how: contacts for advice, potential partners and collaborators who can be mobilised as formal or informal preventers; service providers, suppliers of funds and equipment and other specific resources; and sources of wider support.
  • Know-when to act: knowing the right time to make particular moves – the climate must be right, other initiatives need to be coordinated with etc.
  • Know-where to target and distribute resources.
  • Know-why: covering the symbolic, emotional, ethical, cultural, political and value-laden meanings of crime and reductive action, including fairness and justice. Failure to address these issues can cause even the most rational and evidence-based actions to be rejected. The classic example is the public outrage sometimes caused by expensive sporting activities for young offenders.
  • Know-how to put into practice – knowledge and skills of implementation and other practical processes, and methodologies for research and analysis.
  • Supporting these forms of knowledge and their capture, assessment, consolidation, transmission, application and development requires frameworks to make the process systematic, rigorous and convenient. Frameworks like these should have theoretical, terminological, conceptual and practical aspects which at one end of the scale enable practitioners to use them in articulating and communicating their crime preventive understandings and interventions; and at the other, theorists and researchers to sharpen their thinking, their formulations, their studies and action projects, and their evaluations.

They should also act as a bridge conducting two-way traffic between theory, research and practice.

The aim is to make the frameworks easily findable on the web

The purpose of Crimeframeworks is to be a central repository of a suite of evolving conceptual/practical frameworks Paul Ekblom has developed (in collaboration with others) as tools for thinking and communication for crime prevention in general, and for Design Against Crime in particular. The aim is to make the frameworks easily findable on the web, to introduce people to the basic content, to supply links and downloads to relevant examples, documents and websites, and for users to offer their assessments of the frameworks and to participate in further development. The individual frameworks are not entirely consistent with one another, a result of their diverse origins; but the intention is to move steadily towards integration.

Features common to the frameworks set out here are:

  • A concern with clarity, consistency and rigour but simultaneously supporting innovation and creativity.
  • Appreciation that crime and its prevention are complex, demanding tasks which require a certain ‘appropriate complexity’ to understand and to influence them; with a corresponding vision of practitioners as resembling consultants more than checklist-bearing technicians, and a readiness to invest in the necessary training and education to deliver good performance in prevention.
  • A concern with conceptual systems rather than individual ideas taken in isolation ‘leading to the approach of definition-in-depth’ in which the main concept defined rests on a suite of interlinked, consistent definitions of subsidiary concepts.
  • A related concern with integration of theories and of knowledge more widely.
  • An interest in anticipation ‘futures, foresight or horizon-scanning’ applications.

Ultimately the site is intended to include interactive guidance on how to use the frameworks, and graphical interfaces to access knowledge.

Definitions in Depth of Crime, Crime Prevention, Crime Reduction and Community Safety (Know-of)

At the heart of the entire suite of frameworks is this set of working definitions of crime, crime prevention, crime reduction, crime control, security and community safety.

Definitional System of Risk and Security (Know-of)

A first attempt to develop an integrated and rigorous suite of definitions initially relating to the theft-centred risks attached to domestic consumer products, and counterpart security properties, but more widely applicable.

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Definition in Depth of Partnership (Know-who)

This definition seeks to portray a considered understanding of the concept of partnership, developed principally through expert discussions at the Council of Europe. The focus is on what partnership is for why it adds value to crime prevention and community safety activity. It also sets out a comprehensive and explicit picture of the key dimensions of partnership to organise what we know about it, when it is needed and how best to implement and evaluate it.

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5Is: Intelligence, Intervention, Implementation, Involvement, Impact (Know-how)

A knowledge-management framework for capturing, assessing, synthesising, transferring and replicating good practice in crime prevention, and setting out a process model for doing crime prevention which is a detailed equivalent of SARA and relates to the Iterative Process of design.

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CLAIMED: Mobilisation for Crime Prevention (Know-who)

Strictly part of the Involvement process in the 5Is framework, this sets out a generic procedure for getting particular people or institutions to take responsibility for effectively and acceptably preventing crime/improving safety.

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Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity: Classic (Know-about and Know-what)

The CCO framework, equivalent to the Crime Triangle but more detailed, supplies a map of 11 immediate causal pathways of criminal events covering both offender and crime situation, serving to integrate theories of crime causation; and to do likewise for crime prevention, by identifying 11 counterpart principles of intervention. Variants apply to organised crime and to terrorism.

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Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity: Dynamic (Know-about and Know-what)

A recent development of CCO which incorporates dynamic concepts such as crime scripts (e.g. seek, see, take, escape, sell), explicitly attempts to link with design and seeks to balance user and offender perspectives.

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Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (Know-about, Know-what and Know-how)

CPTED is a familiar field of crime prevention practice; this is an ongoing attempt to update its concepts and procedures and link them more closely to developments in architecture, design and crime science, including the other listed frameworks.

The Misdeeds and Security Framework (Know-about and Know-what)

While CCO covers causation and prevention of crime in general, the Misdeeds and Security framework is an aid to forecasting which maps out the generic types of crime risk that may be associated with a particular kind of new technology or design of product, place, procedure or system; and the counterpart opportunities for prevention.

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Crime Risk Assessment and Crime Impact Assessment

These related activities contribute to a systematic ‘futures-oriented’ approach to crime and its prevention, community safety and crime-proofing of designs, whether the timescale is next year or next decade.

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Gearing up Against Crime (Know-about and Know-how)

An evolutionary framework for understanding, and coping with, the crime and crime-prevention implications of social and technological change and adaptive/innovative offenders – including how to run arms races.

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