The Aggravation and Allure of Criminal Deterrence
For some time now, western industrialized Europe has realized that traditional (police) control over crime offers little in the way of new opportunities. Modernization through police procedural reform and better equipment is also barren from the perspective of deterrence.
An alternative to previously effective but now impotent measures, crime prevention began to be considered in the 1960s as a new direction in criminal policy: a system that on the strength of cooperation between state institutions and grass-roots organizations would pull out crime together with its roots. Today a necessary legal base for crime prevention appears to exist in every European country, as does the respective infrastructure, encompassing state, municipal and grass-roots institutions.
In the current era of societal structural change, criminal deterrence is an historical inevitability – a challenge, in a certain sense, that cannot be left unaccepted. Measures that were used to regulate and control people’s social lives in a rigid centralized state structure no longer work in today’s fairly lax dynamic structure, in a civic society, however embryonic it still is. The new foundation for social structure demands new approaches in terms of regulation and control. Herein lies the allure of crime prevention. On the other hand it would be simplistic to think that the answers to problems are within our reach right now. Rather is a long and arduous road. Let us be brave in bearing the burden. Let us abandon jumping to conclusions due to preconceived notions and applying illusionary plans by trial and error under the gaudy and expansive banner of a “new crime policy”.