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Situational Crime Prevention is the circumstantial analysis of a particular crime to introduce an environmental change that will limit the opportunities for the crime to occur. It deals with the factors responsible for inducing the crime rather than the people involved in the crime. It is a form of preventive mechanism through which criminal action is made less attractive to offenders (Linden). The enterprise of situational crime prevention does not fall within the ambit of the criminal justice system, rather it is the responsibility of public and private organizations such as schools, hospitals, malls and parks, as these are the places which present the opportunities for most number of crimes. The success of implementation of situational crime prevention has been well established and documented. It is unfortunate, however, to note that situational crime prevention has not yet become a significant phenomenon in the contemporary world.
The fundamental ideology of situational crime prevention lies in the reduction of opportunities to commit a crime. This is brought about by various factors such as increasing the effort and risk involved in the crime through surveillance and profiling, reducing the rewards of the crime and removing the excuses that are used to rationalize or justify the crime. The systematic and permanent shaping of the immediate environment through management, design and manipulation is a key aspect of situational crime prevention. It would be unwise to assume that physical measures is enough for preventing crime as such measures merely suppress the urge to commit a crime at one instance which manifests itself in another instance (Clarke 136). Social measures such as job opportunities, revitalization of communities and recreational activities are the driving force of crime prevention as they strike at the root cause of motivation for crimes.
Underage drinking is a major social evil that has resulted in the ruining of numerous young lives. Underage drinking within campuses is especially a greater threat as it robs adolescents of the most productive years of their lives. The most commonly used drug amongst adolescents is alcohol. Many studies have explained and established the relation between alcohol and many social, emotional and behavioral problems such as illegal usage of drugs, violence, stealing, driving under the influence of alcohol and depression. There are three efficient strategies for curbing underage drinking in campuses and thus achieving situational crime prevention.
The first method of situational crime prevention for underage drinking is inculcating school and college-based programs that advocate against adolescent drinking, by increasing personal and social protective factors, and at the same time curtailing social risk factors (Komro and Toomey). Ignorance plays a huge role in the motivation of adolescents to take up drinking. So, it is the responsibility of the schools and colleges to create awareness among its students and provide them with critical information which may very well keep them away from the threshold of underage drinking. Interactive courses which focus on comprehensive life skills and social influences must be initiated within campuses as these courses help in shaping the young minds towards identifying the path to personal and social responsibility.
The second strategy lays the emphasis on familial involvement for the prevention of underage drinking on campuses. The modern world has witnessed a perpetual strain on parent-child relationships and many psychologists have observed that adolescents who enjoy a healthy communication with their parents are less prone to drinking as compared to those who do not. Disciplinary action and rulemaking, though considered to be passé in modern parenting, has proved to be an effective tool for monitoring the adolescent progress. Another practice which psychologists strongly stress upon is listening and positive reinforcement. It is the duty of the parents to create an atmosphere which encourages the ward to involve the parents in the decision making process of adolescent life.
The third strategy involves changes brought upon by extracurricular activities and community. A recent survey has revealed that more than fifty percent of the students’ waking hours in campuses are discretionary and bereft of any commitment towards activities such as eating, homework, chores and other social activities. This acute dearth of structure and obligation in the life of students on campuses emboldens underage drinking. Activities conducted by peers that are aimed at mutual benefit of the participants involved, work more effectively than lectures and presentations. The involvement of the students in the planning and implementation of such activities has shown to enhance participation. Alternative programs which present positive activities more appealing than alcohol consumption are the most productive approach, when dealing with high risk youth who experience an absence of positive social activities. Such programs also aim to instill skill development which provides a cushion to fall back on when one is compelled by the urge for alcohol. Institutional policies also have to undergo comprehensible changes in order to abate underage drinking and this can be done only through community participation. These changes include sterner implementation and removal of discrepancies in Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA), active role of media in promoting awareness and regulation of alcohol outlets to lower alcohol availability.
Linden, Rick. Situational Crime Prevention: Its Role in Comprehensive Prevention Initiatives.
University of Manitoba, 2007
Clarke, Ronald V. Situational Crime Prevention. Harrow and Heston
Komro, Kelli A, and Tracy L. Toomey. Strategies to Prevent Underage Drinking.
University of Minnesota, 2002
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