02e Crime Prevention


Risk management is the key to prevention of victimisation: identify the risk factors and avoid them or ‘design the risks out of your life’. 

  • Avoidance is preferable to confrontation or amelioration through ‘talk down’ with an aggressive person.
  • Avoid high-risk environments such as: around licensed premises, gang meetings, and other late night congregations of people in inner-city areas.
  • Avoid higher-risk persons, including those intoxicated with alcohol or illicit substances (especially crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride - known as ‘ice’ - and ‘speed’ and cocaine).  Violence perpetrators have sometimes been known colloquially as “the sad, the bad, and the mad’.  Another anecdotal statement from an experienced police officer was: ‘Alcohol causes 90% of problems and illicit drugs 10%, but alcohol gets 10% of the attention and illicit drugs 90%’.
  • Females, in particular, need to be aware that they are probably more at risk from a person already known to them and who visits their home, including an ex-partner.  Children and very small children may be at greatest risk of assault or sexual assault from a parent or relative, including a step-parent.
  • Avoid display of high-value goods (jewellery; lap top computers etc) that may invite opportunistic violent crime.  Similarly, always lock windows and doors of houses even when at home.
  • Criminal justice workers, including criminologists and the police, have developed a body of literature and guidance to reduce the risks of victimisation.  Broadly known as ‘Crime prevention through environmental design’ (CPTED), ‘Situational crime prevention’ or ‘Safer by design’.  There are also many publications from bodies such as Neighbourhood Watch that provide guidance on home, garden and personal security.  For example, having a high fence around a house is likely to have the reverse effect of that planned: potential perpetrators can hide behind a high fence and be invisible to passers-by; a better option is to have a low fence where the waist to head area of all passers by is clearly within sight.
  • If possible, select a town/suburb to live in that has a lower overall risk profile.  Generally, this means selecting a town/suburb where employment opportunities are strong and where there are not marked disparities in wealth between different sections of the population.  Ideally, the Local Authority Area will have also implemented a community safety programme (see, for example, White and Coventry, 2000).