Preventing crime is complex and difficult to assess, given the many determinants of criminal activity and the difficulty of specifying counterfactual levels of crime in the absence of a given policy. Social science research has focused largely on various strategies designed to either deter criminal activity or incapacitate individuals who would otherwise commit crime. Deterrence strategies can be broad-based, such as through the imposition of severe sentences, or quite focused, such as through hot-spot patrols or swift-and-certain sanctions. Incapacitation strategies rely on surveillance and the suppression of liberty, with intervention ranging from regular check-ins with a probation officer to solitary confinement. Empirical researchers have tried to estimate the deterrence and incapacitation effects of incarceration and other forms of punishment (e.g., Hawken and Kleiman, 2009; Nagin, 2013; Paternoster, 2010).
Posted on by Kelly Smith