Lawrence Sherman is one of the world’s most renowned experts on crime prevention. His use of empirical evidence, mainly derived from randomized field experiments in criminal sanctions and crime prevention, has had a profound impact in policy in the developed world.
He recently developed for the IDB a protocol
designed mainly for people working to reduce crime and improve justice in Latin America, but it discusses principles that can be used anywhere in the world. Those principles can be summarized as evidence-based crime prevention, a process by which good evidence on the facts of crime and its prevention is at the heart of theories and programs for promoting citizen security.
The protocol is based on 10 principles
1. Crime must be measured reliably and precisely by well-audited systems.
2. Crime should be classified in whatever way supports crime prevention.
3. Crime should be analyzed in multiple units, or categories, including offenders, criminal networks, victims, micro-places (hot spots), communities, times, days of the week, and other categories.
4. Priorities for crime prevention should be set within types of units based on the degree of harm caused by different kinds of crime.
5. A power few, or small proportion, of all units of criminal behavior causes most of the harm for most crime types.
6. The efficiency of crime prevention can be greatest when resources are concentrated on the power few units, identified using predictions derived from their past behavior.
7. The effectiveness of crime prevention is best determined by field tests that compare crime rates among people, areas, or other units under different programs.
8. The theory of any crime prevention practice should specify a logical sequence by which the practice produces measureable outputs of action that reduce outcomes of crime or injustice, explaining how and why the practice should prevent crime.
9. The ethics of a crime prevention practice depend not on its success in reducing crime, but on whether the practice a) respects human rights and b) maintains a proportionate balance between the harms of coercion and the harms of crime.
10. The best evidence for developing and improving local crime prevention practices draws on both international impact evaluations and on local crime analyses of all kinds, including assessments of past efforts and predictions of future crime patterns.
Read the paper here