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Modern Control Theory and the Limits of Criminal Justice$
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Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190069797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190069797.001.0001

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Policing and Situational Crime Prevention

Policing and Situational Crime Prevention

(p.185) Chapter 10 Policing and Situational Crime Prevention
Modern Control Theory and the Limits of Criminal Justice

Gottfredson &

Oxford University Press

Control theory doubts a significant effect for criminal sanctions, including policing and imprisonment, on the crime rate. Contemporary research supports that view, especially with respect to variation in severity of sanctions. This chapter reviews historical and recent claims about effects for policing, especially highly selective policing of high-crime-rate areas (hot spot and focused deterrence policing). Saturation policing is not inconsistent with the expectations of control theory, although the evidence of effectiveness is modest, and the research on collateral consequences is not encouraging for highly selective policing. It is noted that selective policing is a variant of situational crime prevention, which does have a considerable body of research support. Control theory predicts the lack of effects for general policing and the collateral negative consequences for selective policing, along with generally positive effects for situational crime prevention and a focus on early childhood undertaken by non-state entities, thus supporting alternative methods to prevent crime.

Keywords:   policing, situational crime prevention, focused deterrence, control theory, deterrence, selective policing, self control and criminal justice

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