CRIME PREvENTION: AN INTRODUCTION
Guidelines for Cooperation andTechnical Assistance in the Field of Urban Crime
Prevention and the Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime.
There are a number of compelling arguments. First, since the factors that cause
law and justice system to ensure safety. Multisector partnerships between ministries
social services and the environment, as well as the police and justice sector, can all
make a significant difference to crime levels by establishing proactive rather than
reactive strategies to prevent crime and victimization.
Secondly, the value of collective approaches has become apparent from evaluations
of crime prevention programmes in high-income countries in particular, which
have shown the limitations of the police role. In almost all countries, for example,
justice system is primarily reactive, that is, acting after offences have been commit-
ted. Crime prevention takes a proactive approach. Moreover, there can be other
benefits from timely prevention programmes, such as improving social functioning
and employment prospects, and rebuilding communities, all of which can help to
reduce social and economic costs in a city or country.
The costs of crime and the benefits of crime prevention
As indicated above, investing in prevention programmes saves money. For example,
the costs of prevention programmes have been shown to be lower in the long run
than those of criminal justice interventions. Box 1 illustrates the costs of criminal
justice interventions in Canada.
Box 1 . Justice spending in Canada
In Canada, it costs more than Can$ 11.1 billion per year to fund the police, courts and correctional
system.* This means that Can$ 360 per Canadian is being used each year for law enforcement and
the criminal justice system.
*Andrea Taylor-Butts, "Justice spending in Canada, 2000/01", Juristat, vol.22, No. 11 (2002) available from
tions in rates of crime and in the numbers of people processed through the courts
the considerable expenses of running prison and parole systems. Apart from the
associated with lost productivity, and the social and welfare services incurred by
Steve Aos and others,
Benefits and Costs of Prevention and Early Intervention Programs for Youth (Olympia,
in Crime Prevention: International Experiences (Montreal, International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, 2000).