Could Publicising Phantom Crime Prevention Activity Reduce Crime?

Shane D. Johnson, University of Liverpool
Kate J. Bowers, University of Liverpool

In this paper we discuss the power of publicity in crime prevention. Using evidence from a variety of crime prevention schemes we demonstrate that reductions in crime are often realized even before implementation commences, an effect referred to as an anticipatory benefit. We hypothesize that it is the publicity of crime prevention activity that causes this effect. In support of this, we will also show that, for 21 burglary reduction schemes, reductions in burglary were coincident with incidents of publicity and, that schemes that used publicity as a primary intervention were more successful than those that did not. The implications of these findings for crime prevention and evaluation will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006