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Science, Politics, and Crime Prevention: Toward a New Crime Policy

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2012 Pages: 128-133
Brandon C. Welsh; David P. Farrington
Date Published
April 2012
6 pages
This paper examines crime prevention literature and proposes a new crime policy aimed at preventing crime and building safer, more sustainable communities.
This paper reviews current literature on the benefits of crime prevention to establish a new crime policy for use by law enforcement professionals and policymakers. The new crime policy contains three key features: ensuring that the highest quality scientific research is at center stage in the policymaking process; overcoming the "short-termism" politics of the day; and striking a greater balance between crime prevention and crime control. The paper examines changes in research that have strengthened crime prevention efforts: prevention science and evidence-based policy. Prevention science has its roots in public health and provides a bridge between understanding how chronic violence develops and how prevention programs can stop development of chronic violence. The use of evidence-based policy in decision making ensures that facts and not opinions guide crime policies. The paper also examines the political challenges faced by politicians who may be afraid of appearing soft on crime if they use evidence-based policy to reduce and prevent crime. Notes and references