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date: 21 May 2019

(p. ix) Preface

(p. ix) Preface

Crime prevention, the subject of this volume, is an important component of an overall strategy to reduce crime. It can involve early interventions to improve the life chances of children and prevent them from embarking on a life of crime (developmental prevention); programs and policies designed to ameliorate the social conditions and institutions that influence offending (community prevention); or the modification or manipulation of the physical environment, products, or systems to reduce everyday opportunities for crime (situational prevention). Here, the focus is on preventing crime or criminal offending in the first instance—before the act has been committed. Also important is that each of these strategies takes place outside of the formal criminal justice system, representing an alternative, perhaps even a socially progressive, way to reduce crime.

The main goal of the volume is to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date, and authoritative review of research on crime prevention. Specifically, it includes critical reviews of the main theories that form the basis of crime prevention and key issues that confront the prevention of crime, evidence-based reviews on the effectiveness of the most important interventions to prevent crime and criminal offending, and cross-cutting essays that examine implementation, evaluation methodology, and public policy.

For all of this volume’s uniqueness and contemporary nature, it has some history. In 1995, the University of Chicago Press, as part of its Crime and Justice series, published Building a Safer Society: Strategic Approaches to Crime Prevention. Michael Tonry and David Farrington were the volume’s editors. It was advertised as the “most comprehensive exposition of research and experience concerning crime prevention ever published.” It more than lived up to this claim. Its only drawback is that it was never updated or duplicated by any other publishing house. The Oxford Handbook of Crime Prevention is to some extent the sequel to this highly successful volume. The present volume builds on the earlier one’s conceptual advances in the study of crime prevention, its comprehensive coverage of different types of crime-prevention research, and its rigorous scholarship and policy analysis. With our great cast of contributors, we set out to make this Handbook the most authoritative and scholarly resource on crime prevention in the United States and across the Western world.

The volume is divided into four parts. Parts I, II, and III are organized around the three major crime-prevention strategies: developmental, community, and situational. Each of these parts includes chapters on the prevention strategy’s theoretical foundations, core issues, and evidence-based reviews on the effectiveness of the most important interventions. Part IV is focused on advancing knowledge and on the role of crime prevention in contributing to a safer, more sustainable society.

(p. x) Many people made this book possible. First and foremost, we are grateful to the 44 contributors. We made them work—with tight deadlines, multiple drafts, and no doubt a great deal of nitpicking—and they delivered in brilliant fashion. It was an absolute pleasure to work with every one. While we are mindful that our acknowledgment of the next two people is verging on chronic flattery, they proved (once again) to be nothing short of indispensible on this project. Michael Tonry, the Oxford Handbooks series editor, and James Cook, editor at Oxford University Press, are simply topnotch and we are truly honored to work with them.

Brandon C. Welsh

David P. Farrington