Australian Institute of Criminology

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Introduction

The CPD of DAGJ contracted the AIC to undertake a systematic review of crime prevention interventions suitable for implementation by local government. The purpose of this project was to identify crime prevention interventions that were supported by evidence of effectiveness and that local government could implement to address the following priority crime types:

  • non-domestic violence related assault;
  • break and enter—dwellings;
  • stealing from dwellings;
  • steal from motor vehicle;
  • malicious damage;
  • steal from person; and
  • steal from retail store.

Based on these findings, NSW CPD selected a number of interventions as preferred strategies. The decision about which of the strategies would be supported by NSW CPD was to be guided by the best available evidence and an assessment of their suitability for implementation under local government leadership in different settings.

The findings from the review process have informed the development of a series of factsheets and handbooks for each of the preferred interventions, to assist local government to select and adapt the most suitable intervention and manage the implementation of that strategy.

Purpose of this report

This project aims to address the following key research questions:

  • What crime prevention interventions are effective in addressing the priority crime types?
  • Which of these interventions are appropriate for and may be implemented by local government or the NSW CPD?
  • What are the key characteristics of effective crime prevention interventions?
  • What are the key requirements for the successful implementation of those interventions that have been identified as being effective?

The purpose of this report is to outline the findings from a review of the research and evaluation literature relating to the prevention of the identified priority crime types. In outlining the findings from this research project, this report includes:

  • a description of the AIC’s methodology for undertaking the systematic and comprehensive review of published and unpublished research, and evaluation and review studies to identify both effective crime prevention interventions and those with limited evidence of effectiveness;
  • an overview of the crime prevention approaches, theory and mechanisms that underpinned the AIC’s approach to including strategies as part of the review;
  • a brief description of the role of local government in crime prevention, based on previous AIC projects and research;
  • a summary of the evidence in support of interventions that have been implemented to prevent the identified priority crime types, including characteristics of effective strategies and an assessment as to the suitability of interventions for implementation by local government;
  • an overview of the requirements for successful implementation of those interventions reviewed; and
  • some general conclusions based on the review and the implications for both policy and practice.

Resource development

The findings presented in this report have informed the development of a series of factsheets for use by local government that briefly outline the nature of each preferred crime prevention intervention, how they work, the context and locations to which those interventions are best suited, characteristics of successful strategies and requirements for their implementation. These factsheets are designed to assist local government to select the most appropriate strategy for addressing local crime problems and to suit local circumstances.

The findings presented in this report have also informed the development of a practical handbook for each intervention type. These handbooks have been developed to help local councils through the various stages of planning, implementing and evaluating evidence-based interventions in their local government area. Both the factsheets and the handbooks present a number of case studies, based on evaluation reports reviewed as part of this research, to highlight important lessons regarding the design and implementation of effective crime prevention strategies.

Terminology

In this report, strategies refer to the crime prevention projects that have been developed, implemented and evaluated and that were examined as part of this review. They frequently involve a range of different actions to bring about desired outcomes.

Interventions refer to the specific actions that were implemented as part of each crime prevention strategy.