Organized Crime

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Organized crime

Organized crime


There is no single definition for crime. Different authors and studies offer varying definitions. Many early definitions actually used the term crime either in place of crime prevention or within the definition. However, crime control alludes to maintenance of a given or existing level of crime and the management of that amount of crime behaviour. True crime prevention looks to do more than just maintain a certain level of crime or to manage offenders and crime. Paul Ekblom offers a definition that revolves around interventions that reduce the risk of crime and its consequences. Such a definition addresses both crime and its impact on individuals and society. One of the very important consequences of crime that should be addressed in prevention initiatives is the fear of crime (Bowers, 2005, 89).

This entry examines crime prevention from a very broad perspective. Included here is a discussion of the history of crime prevention, different crime prevention models, and major crime prevention approaches, as well as insight into the effectiveness of prevention activities.

Strategies to Reduce Fear of Crime

Because of the detrimental effects of fear of crime, a number of strategies have been considered to help alleviate fear of crime among the public. Some of these policies are discussed below.

One strategy to help alleviate people's fear of crime is to educate the public about criminal activity, its causes and correlates, and methods to prevent crime from occurring. This strategy is based on the previously discussed impact of indirect victimization on fear of crime, and the realization that even those who do not have direct experience with crime victimization often have increased levels of fear of crime because of their knowledge of criminal activities in their community or among those they know.

As such, educating people about their generally low likelihood of victimization by crime, and the steps they can take to protect them and to reduce personal fear, could lower fear of crime among those with that knowledge. This strategy not only may help reduce fear of crime but also may help people have a better understanding of their risk and what measures do actually increase public safety.

A second strategy is designed to involve communities both in crime prevention through social development and in community-based justice programs. The premise behind this strategy is that citizens who are directly involved in the justice system are generally better informed about their risk of crime victimization and their understanding of what affects crime and how criminal activity can be reduced.

Ruggiero and Chambliss' analysis of crime

A pioneer of conflict theory, William J. Chambliss's career spans 50 years of research on the problems and patterns of power in society. Through his studies of organized crime figures, opium farmers, gang members, pirates, and corrupt politicians, Chambliss demonstrated that conflict between social classes is the basic social process in a capitalist society—and the key to understanding criminal justice procedures and structures (Ruggiero, 2000, 14).

Chambliss's and Ruggiero's primary contribution to conflict theory was to advance knowledge about who makes laws, ...
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