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Towards rational and evidence-based crime policy

Authors
Journal
Journal of Criminal Justice
0047-2352
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
35
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2007.09.003
Disciplines
  • Criminology
  • Design

Abstract

Abstract Rational crime policy constitutes a basic goal for society. If, however, evidence-based, cost-efficient crime prevention is the standard, there is little indication that current policies—including programs, laws, and court decisions—are rational. To support that assessment, this article uses an evaluation research perspective to highlight five prominent problems with extant crime policies: (1) a lack of empirical assessment of the need for them; (2) a range of design issues, including gaps between crime theory and policy, and, most notably, the pursuit of silver bullet solutions; (3) a range of implementation issues, including disjunctures between ideal and actual practice; (4) the lack of rigorous impact evaluations and the sometimes misplaced emphasis on them; and (5) a scarcity of cost-efficiency analyses for guiding investment decisions. It then discusses the implications of these problems and suggests steps that can be taken to place crime policy on a more evidence-based foundation.

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