CACP Bulletin

Spring 2017

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10 CACP Spring 2017 CRIMINOLOGISTS SHARE CRIME- PREVENTION ADVICE IN NEW BOOK By Len Garis T here is no doubt that the criminal justice system – the police, courts and jails – plays a significant role in reduc- ing crime. However, it is also true that law enforcement alone cannot make crime go away, and that the related costs continue to rise. Experience has taught us that effective, sustainable crime prevention requires both the criminal justice approach and evidence-based, community-focused strategies. Although crime-prevention programs are relatively common – Block Watch is one example –they often suffer from a lack of sustained support and a one-size-fits-all approach. While the desire for feel-good fixes is in part to blame, governments have also lacked resources for evaluating and implementing crime- prevention solutions. This changed in November 2016, when British Columbia's University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) published Designing Out Crime and made it available via free download. Written by criminologists and edited by UFV adjunct professor Len Garis and Wilfrid Laurier University professor Paul Maxim, Designing Out Crime provides both theory and practical advice on a range of crime-prevention solutions. The information is not new to criminologists, but until now, has not been easily accessed by the public. Surrey, B.C. Mayor Linda Hepner, who wrote the book's forward, noted: "Cities are on the front line of law enforcement, and we need proactive crime-prevention programs that are not only based on evidence, but are tailored to our communities. It's timely to have a new resource that translates the professional literature into a form that is both relevant and useful." The concept for the book grew from the 2014 report Getting Serious About Crime Reduction by the B.C. government's Blue Ribbon Panel on Crime Reduction. Based on the recommendation for a greater focus on designing out crime, criminologists from across North America were tasked with writing chapters on problem-solving approaches, administrative and regulatory methods, transitions and social programming, the design of environments and products, technology, and prolific offenders: Gurvir Brar, Kevin Burk, Irwin Cohen, Yvon Dandurand, Jordan Diplock, Trevor Johnson, Darryl Plecas and Julia Shuker from the UFV; Adrienne Peters from Memorial University of Newfoundland; and Tim Croisdale from California State University, Sacramento. Their insights can help governments more effectively reduce crime, save money and ultimately improve quality of life. As the book notes, many solutions would not require a massive capital investment or significant reorganization of communities. "As communities and the criminal justice system continue their fight against crime, they need to refocus on crime prevention and see it for what it is worth in the long-term," co-editor Maxim said. "Small investments in the right places can result in very large returns. We often know what we need to do––we just have to start doing it." Download Designing Out Crime at Len Garis is the Fire Chief for the City of Surrey, B.C., and an adjunct professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and associate to the Centre for Social Research at the University of the Fraser Valley. Contact him at

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