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Crime Displacement and Diffusion

Crime Displacement and Diffusion

Crime displacement can be defined as the process by which crime relocates from one region to another due to increased crime prevention efforts by the law enforcement agencies. It also refers to relocation or movement of criminals from one place to another as a result of crime prevention efforts by the law enforcement agencies. According to Evans (2011), crime displacement occurs when the police successfully deter criminals from committing crime in a given area, thus, forcing them to move to a different location. Crime displacement occurs when law enforcement agencies collaborate with the community, thus, successfully deterring criminals from committing crime in specific locations because they fear being caught. Crime displacement also results from successful crime deterrence which reduces the opportunities for committing criminal activities. Diffusion of benefits refers to the process by which the community begins to realize advantages or gains of crime prevention or deterrence.

Mass Media and Crime Prevention

Crime prevention can be defined as the attempt to lessen and discourage crime in the community. Crime prevention usually refers to a wide range of efforts and attempts made by federal and state governments to reduce crime in the society through law enforcement agencies. The law enforcement agencies often deploy a number of strategies to deter crime in the society, for examle, they may use community policing.

In the recent past, the mass media has played a key role in crime prevention. First and foremost, the mass media has helped in promoting informative crime prevention campaigns. The mass media has been passing useful information from the law enforcement agencies to members of the community and vice versa. This has helped in increasing awareness about crime and criminals in the society. Secondly, various forms of mass media such as television, newspapers and magazines have been effectively used in sharing and spreading critical information relating to crime and criminals between the law enforcement agencies and members of the community. Thirdly, mass media has increased participation of the community members in crime prevention programs. Through mass media, collaboration between members of the community and law enforcement agencies has increased considerably, hence, promoting crime prevention in the society.

 

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General Deterrence

Deterrence can be defined as the use of punishment to threaten people and to prevent them from committing criminal offences. The punishment is often mandatory and seen as a necessary consequence for committing the offence. One of the most common forms of deterrence is general deterrence.

Mackey and Levan (2013), define general deterrence as a form of crime prevention technique which involves the use of specific deviants to discourage criminal offences in the society. General deterrence is also called indirect deterrence. According to Mackey and Levan (2013), general deterrence does not focus on the offenders but rather focuses on other individuals who may intend to commit similar criminal offences in the society in the future. Mackey and Levan (2013), explain that general deterrence is usually used by law enforcement agencies especially the police and criminal justice agencies such as the law courts to discourage persons other than the offender from committing similar criminal offences in the future. It is based on assumption that when a criminal is punished in public, other persons who may intend to commit a similar crime in the society would be discouraged because of fear. Evans (2011), also asserts that general or indirect deterrence instills fear among the population through punishing offenders in public. When an offender is punished in public, non-offenders develop fear of the punishment and consequences for the crime committed, hence, tend to avoid committing a similar crime. General or indirect deterrence is considered as one of the most common forms of crime prevention in the society since time memorial. General deterrence uses the theory of rational choice which presumes that an individual would choose to do what he feels is not harmful to him and choose not to do what he thinks would be harmful to him.

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