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Reducing Offending: An Assessment of Research Evidence on Ways of Dealing With Offending Behaviour

NCJ Number
P Goldblatt, C Lewis
Date Published
152 pages
This report summarizes the evidence on promoting a less criminal society by preventing the development of criminality among young people and by investing in situational crime prevention to reduce opportunities for crime.
The report also considers the comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different methods of reducing crime, the prevention of crime in the community by acting on social conditions that sustain crime in residential communities and by implementing effective police crime prevention strategies, and criminal justice interventions such as changes in sentencing policies and the use of effective interventions with offenders and drug users. Research on costs and benefits of particular crime prevention strategies indicates the criminal justice system plays a central role in providing the sanctions to enforce or reinforce compliance with the law. Efforts to redirect funds to more effective crime reduction measures, within or outside the criminal justice system, will have only a gradual impact on reducing crime. However, if reductions claimed by the most promising approaches are realized, long-term reductions in crime may be substantial. Components of an effective and integrated crime prevention strategy should focus on intensive interventions among children and families at risk; increasing informal social control and social cohesion in communities and institutions that are vulnerable to crime, criminality, drug use, and disorder; incentives to individuals and organizations to reduce the risk of crime; targeting situational crime prevention measures on hot spots and areas of high risk; reducing repeat victimization; placing greater emphasis on problem-oriented policing; extending the range of effective interventions with offenders and drug users; making more use of penalties such as fines and curfew orders with tagging; and improving consistency in sentencing. Situational crime prevention at the local level and community crime prevention programs are discussed, and additional information on assessing the strength of research evidence is provided in an annex. References, tables, and figures