Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 7

Policing for Prevention: Reducing Crime, Public Intoxication and Injury

Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 7
Edited by Ross Homel

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Regulation of the Licensed Drinking Environment: A Major Opportunity for Crime Prevention
by Tim Stockwell

Beyond reactive policing of problems as they occur, the traditional response to reduce alcohol-related crime has been to educate individuals to moderate their drinking, and to try and rehabilitate offenders. An overview is provided of a research program that identified the prior drinking locations of offenders and the characteristics of high-risk drinking settings. Licensed premises were found to be at high risk for both drink-driving and violent offences, in particular those permitting or encouraging high levels of intoxication among their customers. An intervention program designed to reduce levels of intoxication on medium- and high-risk premises indicated that substantial reductions in risk and harm can occur when there is full cooperation from a licensed venue. Realising the enormous potential for the prevention of crime and bodily harm will require an adjustment of existing priorities and resources for policing and liquor licensing administration.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Through Community Action: The Surfers Paradise Safety Action Project
by Ross Homel, Marg Hauritz, Richard Wortley, Gillian McIlwain and Russell Carvolth

The Surfers Paradise Safety Action Project, the initial phase of which was implemented in 1993, was a community-based initiative designed to reduce violence in and around licensed venues in the central business district of an international tourist area on Queensland AUS Gold Coast. This paper describes specific aspects of the implementation of the Surfers project, and presents the results of the evaluation. Findings showed marked reductions in violence and crime (inside and outside venues) and in practices that promote the irresponsible use of alcohol (such as binge drinking incentives), as well as improvements in security practices, entertainment, handling of patrons, and transport policies. Activities in 18 nightclubs were observed by teams of students using a structured observation schedule in the summers of 1993 (before the project) and of 1994 (after the major features of the project had been implemented). Police and security data showed: pre-project increases in assaults, indecent acts, stealing, and drunk and disorderly incidents; stabilization in the initial stages of the project; and sharp declines following the period in which a Code of Practice was instituted. Verbal abuse declined by 82%; arguments by 68%; and physical assaults by 52%. However, there are indications that nightclubs became more "upmarket," suggesting that displacement of problem patrons may have been at least partly responsible for the impact of the project. In addition, observational data collected over the summer of 1996 indicate that violence has returned to pre project levels, and that compliance with the Code of Practice has almost ceased. It is hypothesized that only a system of regulation that integrates self-regulation, community monitoring, and formal enforcement can ensure that the achievements of community interventions are maintained on an indefinite basis.

Danger on the Dance Floor: A Study of Interior Design, Crowding and Aggression in Nightclubs
by Stuart Macintyre and Ross Homel

This study is concerned with the role of physical design features in promoting crowding in nightclubs, and with the relationship between crowding and aggression. It measures patron densities, crowding, patron behaviors and aggression levels in 36 two hour visits to six nightclubs in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, AUS. It was found that the more crowded venues tended to be the more violent, and in these high-risk establishments crowding increased more rapidly with patron density than in low-risk venues. Crowding appeared to arise partly from inappropriate pedestrian flow patterns caused by poor location of entry and exit doors, dance floors, bars and restrooms. Crowding was statistically related to observed aggressive incidents, even when controls were introduced for patron drinking practices, levels of male drunkenness and staff interactions with patrons. It is argued that architectural guidelines for licensed premises should be produced to minimize the risks of unintended contacts leading to aggressive incidents in new or renovated venues. In addition, design and its possible effects on crowding should be incorporated into the model used by officials to set patron limits for individual venues, and regular inspections should be carried out to ensure that these limits are not exceeded.

Reducing Pub Hopping and Related Crime
by Marcus Felson, Robyn Berends, Barry Richardson and Arthur Veno

The central business district of a service city often provides entertainment for the whole region, which may result in high rates of drunkenness, assault, vandalism and burglary. Such was the case for Geelong, the second largest city in the state of Victoria, Australia. Groups of youths would pub hop" among numerous establishments serving liquor within the central business district. This led to fights, intimidation and a variety of crime and incivility. In 1989-90, together with the Liquor Commission and hotel licensees (publicans), the police led a cooperative effort - the Accord - to stop pub hopping. The Accord required cover charges to enter after 11: 00 p. m., and removed exemptions for young women who were used to lure crowds of young men. The Accord prohibited unlimited re-entry when a cover was paid, thus discouraging movement among establishments. It banned special promotional prices for alcoholic drinks, including 'happy hours." Police patrolled and enforced provisions against underage drinkers and drinking in the streets, not to increase arrests but rather in the spirit of problem-oriented" policing. The Accord made serving policies universal in order to discourage those who were under age or already drunk from moving about in search of a weak link. The initiative was apparently followed by a major decline in pub hopping, along with a relative reduction in serious assault rates.

Restoring Public Order in a City Park
by Johannes Knutsson

In 1991, Stockholm narcotics officers conducted a crackdown in an attempt to reduce drug activity in a central city park. This evaluation uses surveys of residents living near the park, interviews with local business owners and park drug offenders, and site observations to demonstrate that the police tactic was successful in virtually eradicating drug activity in the park. An analysis of arrest records over time suggests that while some displacement occurred, it was diffuse and benign.

Policing the Beat: The Experience in Toowoomba, Queensland
by Christine E.W. Bond and David John Gow

Modern beat policing, or foot patrol, programs have expanded the role of the beat officer beyond the traditional surveillance function of "walking the beat." Today, beat officers are also expected to liaise with the community and solve community problems. Thus, the beat officer's role has become a popular way of incorporating preventive and reactive functions into the day-to-day duties of a police officer. This paper reports the major findings of an evaluation of a two-year beat policing pilot project established in Toowoomba, AUS. The results showed that the Toowoomba project: increased beat residents' levels of satisfaction with policing services; had little effect on beat residents' feelings of safety; had some success in tackling chronic problem addresses in the beat areas and helped to reduce, or at least contain, the incidence of certain types of crime. Implications of the Toowoomba evaluation for police management are discussed.

Using Police Enforcement to Prevent Road Crashes: The Randomised Scheduled Management System
by L.M.W. Legget

Police traffic enforcement for the prevention of road crashes can be considered in two dimensions: technology and organisation. In recent years in Australia, there has been considerable development in technology, including breath testing apparatus and the speed camera. In parallel with such developments in technology, there are opportunities for further development of the systems of organisation that underlie the delivery of the technology. A management system is outlined that attempts to enhance the effectiveness of police traffic enforcement resources for crash prevention by utilising quality management principles at each step of the organisational process. In the system sites for enforcement are clearly labelled; police vehicles are deployed to individual sites by a formal, randomised timetable; and data on police attendance and crash occurrence are collected on a site-by-site basis. Dose-response relationships between police attendance and crash reduction are continuously evaluated and management adjustments to the program fully guided by these results. In six implementations throughout Australasia since 1984, evaluation suggests the approach has generated an average 32% reduction in major casualty crashes, at an average and marked benefit/cost ratio of approximately 70:1. Some $200 million in crash social costs is estimated to have been saved. Opportunities are outlined for the further use of the organisational system in road safety management and crime prevention.

Auto Theft in Central Philadelphia
by George F.Rengert

Auto theft is a major concern for cities attempting to revitalize their centers. Tourists, shoppers and workers will avoid this region of the city if they think their property may be stolen. This research is an attempt to identify whether public and private facilities about which parked cars are expected to be clustered at specific times of the day provide a focus for auto thieves. Using the Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Crime computer program designed to identify spatial clusters of criminal events, auto theft in Central Philadelphia is shown to cluster about various sites at different times of the day. This information can be used to help local police focus directed patrol on these "hot" localities when they are hot.

A Problem-Oriented Approach to Preventing Sex Discrimination in Police Recruitment
by Tim Prenzler

This paper examines the utility of applying situational crime prevention measures to sex discrimination problems in police recruitment. Discrimination against disadvantaged groups such as women is now a "crime." In some jurisdictions, the offence extends to lack of active support for women. Traditional masculinised characteristics of police departments put them at risk for this type of offending, and a variety of courts have found police departments guilty of discrimination. To address the problem, a situationally oriented, problem-based approach is needed that builds on discrimination- reduction strategies that have already shown some success. The examples of pre-entry physical ability tests, firearms handling tests and interviews are used to illustrate the benefits of highly specific modifications in selection processes.