Criminalactivities have increased worldwide over time making it necessary forlaw enforcement and the community to come up with ways of reducing oreven eradicating crime. These crime prevention strategies allowcriminals to rethink their actions. However, there have beencriticisms towards these crime prevention strategies claiming thatthey basically displace crime. According to Weisburd& Telep (2012),little evidence is recorded in regard to displacement rendering it anecessary topic of exploration. In this paper, I strive to highlightthe different forms of displacement and discuss the theories thatclaim it is either an inevitable consequence of situational or not. Iwill also discuss the diffusion of benefits phenomenon, its theories,and provide a general evidence associated with both displacement anddiffusion of benefits.
Asdefined by Guerette &Bowers(2009), displacement serves as crime relocation from a specificplace, target, offense, time, offender, or tactic to another due tosome form of crime-prevention plan. The crime displacement theory isthen subdivided into five displacement forms and they include target,spatial, temporal, functional, and tactical. The target involvesexecuting premeditated crime forms on varied victims, spatialrequires one to commit a planned crime type to similar targets ondiverge places, and temporal displacement refers to intended crimeengagement at different times (Weisburd& Telep 2012).Additionally, functional displacement involves engaging in variousforms of crime while tactical displacement represents participatingin planned crime using different methods.
Therelationship between crime displacement ideology and the situationalcrime prevention is linked to two notions namely deterministictheories and rational choice theories (Eck, 1993). The deterministictheory interprets criminal behaviour as influences of subculturalvalues, unemployment, and stressed economic opportunities amongothers. According to Guerette &Bowers(2009), it predicts that the blocking of criminal chances usingsituational adjustments will unavoidably lead crime perpetrators tolook for other criminal opportunities. Therefore, crime tendenciesunder this theory are said to continue and are unsettled usingsituational characteristics. Weisburd& Telep (2012)conclude that displacement is inevitable if this theory is appliedcorrectly.
Onthe other hand, in the rational choice theory offenders are notpushed into crime but is a consequence of choice (Eck, 1993). Sincecriminal behaviours are associated with choices, it is achievable toprevent crime perpetuators if proper incentive combinations arepresented. The offenders under this theory depend largely on existingcrime opportunities to satisfy their wants and needs. As agreed byGuerette &Bowers(2009) these individuals calculate the risk, expected efforts, andprize anticipated after the crime. Under this theory, crimeprevention plans can deter crime and will not make displacementinevitable especially when criminal behaviour does not present betterresults than the risks.
Thediffusion of benefits is a spread of valuable influence ofinterventions that exceed the directly targeted places,intervention-focused crimes, people who require controlling, ortime-specific interventions (Weisburd& Telep 2012).It aims to spread the benefits of crime reduction past the intendedtargets. It contrasts with displacement in that a prevention orcrackdown activity in a specific region or targeting certain groupsprotect the market territory or congregation along with otheranalogous crowds (Eck, 1993). In terms of eliminating drugs from acertain area, diffusion of benefits applies effectively. For example,the eradication of drug dealing tendencies specific to a certainlocations will serve to benefit the surrounding areas. In agreementwith Weisburd& Telep (2012),the place well-known for drug purchases will change and later becomean area where one cannot buy drugs. Such forms of crime preventionactivities are significant since they create a wider safe communityand living environment.
Diffusionof Benefits Theory
Thetheories that support the diffusion of benefits include deterrenceand discouragement, which operate in an individual offender level(Weisburd& Telep 2012).The deterrence theory makes offenders think they are under anelevated arrest and detection threat and under the rational choiceideology they decide to stay away from crime. For example, a CCTV oran electric fence installation in an institution may be used as adeterrence tool to discourage criminals from committing offenses.Similarly situational deterrence or discouragement achieves crimereduction through intensifying an individual’s fear of arrest byconsidering risk and reward. Due to this, it is likely that offenderswill stay away from committing any form of crimes in places wherethey have been discouraged to making diffusion of benefits aresourceful form of preventing crime.
and Diffusion of Theory Empirical Evidence
is primarily documented in empirical study literature review but isonly published in three (Guerette&Bowers(2009) while diffusion of benefits enjoys no published reviews. Theevidence of displacement by Eck (1993) claim that community’sexperience ninety one percent little to no displacement. Otherstudies by Hesseling recorded forty percent of no displacement usingfifty five reviewed studies where six of these reported on diffusionof benefits (Guerette &Bowers,2009). Even though there displacement reviews exist, they presentlimitation in that minimal researches for review are available andthey are descriptive owing to little availability of data.Resultantly, authors reporting on displacement did not havedefinitive determinations regarding the levels of displacement. It istrue that the reviewers of displacement evidence were often limitedto the reporting of the authors. Despite this, sufficient evidencewas documented but the reliable methods to determine empiricaldegrees of displacement were developed in later years (Weisburd& Telep 2012).
Thedisplacement and diffusion of benefits measurement depended on threeaspects (Guerette&Bowers,2009). They included displacement or diffusion of benefit proximityof catchment location associated with the treatment region, thesefactors size, and probable contamination. To make a sound review, theauthors needed to consider all these measures but it is useless toconsider displacement of diffusion of benefit if an area has nopredetermined scheme (Weisburd& Telep 2012).It makes it impossible to even imagine the effects of these factorswhen no straightforward crime prevention advantages occur in theintended target locations.
Owingto the little empirical evidence linked to both displacement anddiffusion of benefit, there is need for more recent studies in theareas to ensure that people get a proper scope of the issue. If thisis done, it will become easy for the law enforcement agencies and thecommunity to prevent the high rate of crime. Despite the little useof diffusion of benefits in explaining crime prevention, it is anessential tool and should be used alongside displacement to ensurethat communities are safe to live in. With the proper analysis ofthese two factors using modern methods, it is possible to capture allforms of crime from the grassroots creating a friendly environment.
Eck,J. E. (1993). The Threat of Crime . CriminalJustice Abstracts,527-546
Guerette,R. T., & Bowers, K. J. (2009). Assessing the Extent of Crime and Diffusion of Benefits: A Review of Situational CrimePrevention Evaluations. Criminology, 47(4),1331
Weisburd,D., & Telep, C. W., (2012). Spatial and Diffusion ofCrime Control Benefits Revisited: New evidence on why crime doesn’tjust move around the corner. Journalof Experimental Criminology, 142-159
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