Heuni paper No. 11 Anticipating instead of Preventing: Using the Potential of Crime Risk Assessment in Order to Minimize the Risks of Organized and Other Types of Cri­me Seppo Leppä The European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control

Download 169.97 Kb.
Date conversion12.05.2016
Size169.97 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7

HEUNI Paper No. 11

Anticipating instead of Preventing:

Using the Potential of Crime Risk Assessment

in Order to Minimize the Risks of Organized and Other Types of Cri­me

Seppo Leppä

The European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control,

affiliated with the United Nations
Helsinki 1999

This document is available electronically from


The European Institute for

Crime Prevention and Control,

affiliated with the United Nations

P.O.Box 161

FIN-00131 Helsinki

Tel: +358-9-18257880

Fax: +358-9-18257890

e-mail: heuni@om.vn.fi


ISSN 1236-8245

Table of Contents

1. On the necessity of crime prevention 4

2. Organized crime: a problematic issue in terms of prevention 5

3. A potential solution; anticipation /early awareness of crime risks 6

4. A particular concern: law reform outside of the crime sector 7

4.1 Examples of crime risk categories of particular relevance in this context 7

4.1.1 Money laundering 7

4.1.2 Corruption 7

4.1.3 Purposeful infiltration of legal business 8

4.1.4 Falsification of documents 8

5. Assessing organized crime risks in the context of legislative reforms; presentation of a potential method for anticipation 8

6. Three case studies 9

6.1 Basel convention on the control of transboundary movements of haz­ardous wastes and their disposal 11

6.2 Directives on public procurement within the European Union/ European Community 12

6.3. Draft treaty on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment 15

7. Lessons learned; why potential crime risks are considered only partially or not at all in law reform work that creates the potential for profit-making 18

8. Ideas for further exploration of the issue 20

9. Concluding remarks 21

References 22

Annex I 26


1. On the necessity of crime prevention

Crime prevention as an option in the control of crime is gaining momentum. A recent United Nations resolution states that "the prevention of crime through non-punitive measures is to be considered an important complement to the administration of criminal law" (ECOSOC, para. 1). The resolution further maintains that "the concept of crime prevention should not be limited to conventional forms of crime, including domestic violence, but should encompass new forms of crime, such as organized crime, terrorism, illegal trafficking in migrants, computer and cybercrimes, environmental crime, corruption and illegal commerce related to the ac­quisition and development of weapons to mass destruction" (op. cit., para. 2). Furthermore, account should also be taken of "the growing internation­aliza­tion of criminal activities and the relationship between the global economy, ad­vanced technologies and national phenomena of crime" (op. cit., para. 3). It would thus be advisable al­ways to consider any law reform programme in the context of a so­cial ac­tivity involving the potential for crime from two angles - both that of the law enforce­ment and that of preven­tion.

There is wide consensus that it is not enough to control crime through reactive intervention and puni­tive means alone. The deterrent effect of coer­cion - whether we are thinking of individual or general deterrence - in the tradi­tional sense of the concept does not always work very well in modern society (see, e.g. Ashworth, pp. 1097-1098). As Pease points out, "we should con­stantly remind ourselves that, in crime, we have a set of actions or omis­sions united only in their proscription by law" (Pease, p. 963). Ac­cording to Pease, "because an action is a crime, this does not mean that the best way to control it is through the police and the courts. The be­haviour itself must be understood, to determine where change could best be brought about" (op. cit., p. 963). Similarly, Graham and Bennett are of the opinion that "during the 1970s and 1980s there was a rapid loss of faith in the ability of the criminal justice system to reduce crime or criminality" (Graham & Bennett, p. 1). In sum, "crime, disorder and fear of crime have become major concerns for the govern­ment and many communities. Traditional responses to these concerns - such as more police and tougher penalties - are no longer suffi­cient as the benefits of intervening before crime is committed become more and more evident" (Glanfield, p. x). Consequent­ly, and particular­ly with the con­cern over the increas­ing risk of transnational or­ganized crime, great efforts to develop preven­tive strategies can be observed both nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally (see, e.g. Lely & van Toorn; European Union, Action Plan).
Various categorizations have been developed in order to describe approaches to crime prevention (see, e.g. Graham & Bennett, pp. 5-7). One well-known classification in this area is the following typol­ogy:

- 'Criminality prevention' (also called 'social' or 'offender orient­ed' crime prevention);

- 'Situational crime prevention'; and

- 'Community crime pre­vention' (op. cit., p. 7).

2. Organized crime: a problematic issue in terms of prevention

Situational and community prevention are applied, as a rule, in response to observed criminal activity1. Criminality prev­ention, on the other hand, aims at the socializa­tion of potential offenders. Thus, criminality prevention targets risk groups and individuals before the in­itiation of criminal careers2. All this, however, reflects the preoccupation of socie­ties, both national and interna­tional, primarily with traditional mass or conven­tional crime.

However, organized crime and other types of so-called modern crime, as listed in the ECOSOC resolution mentioned above - whether national or transnational in character - pose a problem in this respect. Profit-making could be understood to be the major goal of all kinds of criminal activities in this category - even gaining power can be seen just as a means of reaching that goal (cf. Arlacchi, p. 205) - if we put aside the cases of pure negligence (as is the case with some environmental crime) or mis­chie­vous­ness (as is the case with some computer and cyber­crime/crackers). In addition, "developments that have made it possible to move goods, people and money through the global economy - and have traditionally been regarded by international political economy specialists as positive and benign in their effects - have facilitated the movement of 'dirty money', as well as the transportation of drugs, arms, illegal aliens, and nuclear material" (Godson & Williams, pp. 3 - 4). The result, according to Williams, is that "criminals, in effect, ignore or transcend borders in the pursuit of profit, but use variations in national laws, in the effectiveness of criminal justice systems, and in the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement bodies to minimize the risk that they will be apprehended or punished" (Williams, p. 2).
These facts make it rather difficult to develop work­able prevention efforts to com­bat modern types of illegal acts within the clas­sifications men­tioned. Criminality prevention will rarely be relevant and viable in this con­text due to the nature of the offences, although, accor­ding ­to God­son and Williams "preventive educational programs in primary and secondary schools throughout the world - what specialists refer to as 'legal socialization' - might turn out to be an important ingredient in the overall global strategic mix", since "already some regions have created civic education programs to counter crime and corruption" (Godson & Williams, p. 34). They give as an example the city of Palermo in Italy, where 25 000 children every year attend an educational program designed to change the cultural norms that allow the Mafia to flourish.
As Ar­lac­chi points out, "a number of studies have shown that we are faced with ra­tional economic phenomena and well-structured 'in­dustries'. Illegal markets have much in common with their legal counter­parts" (Arlacchi, p. 204). Similarly, Williams claims that "indeed some of the major organizations that have emerged have more in common with major transnational corporations than they do with the old style mob" (Williams, p. 2). Com­munity prevention and situation­al prevention might some­times provide a feasible frame of reference, but in a great ma­jori­ty of cases they are not viable either. There are several reasons for this. First, as a rule the preven­tive efforts are not carried out but until at a fairly late sta­ge, very often not before vari­ous interest groups have started demand­ing that something be done. It might not be easy to intro­duce a new measure, especially since these measures often hit legal and illegal ac­tivit­ies alike. Busi­ness life, for ex­ample, is not necessarily hap­py with retroactive preven­tive measures imposed by policy makers. Such measures can easily be experienced as infringement and red tape. Second, more often than not the offenders are several steps ahead of the designers of the prevention strat­egies, which means that the policy makers in the field in question will have to be in­volved in a continuous struggle against time3, since, as Mueller writes, "the ingenuity of transnational criminal organizers and organzations may outrun our contemporary efforts" (Mueller, p. 15). Lastly, suc­cess­ful preven­tion in this sector some­times would call for the changing ­of deep­ly rooted be­haviour patterns of entire populations (cf. the Palermo example quoted above).

  1   2   3   4   5   6   7

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page