, Volume 11, Issue 3-4, pp 321-346
Date: 01 Mar 2006

The Market for Scientific Crime Prevention: A Comparative Study of Canada and Venezuela

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Abstract

Crime prevention is an activity that, sooner or later, requires the concourse of science. But the dictates of science may not mesh well with the social, institutional and political considerations that are persistent and powerful determinants of collective action. To the extent that they are ignored, crime prevention is less scientific and more pragmatic. Using a marketing metaphor, this paper examines selected aspects of the supply of and demand for scientific crime prevention in Canada and Venezuela from 1949 to the present. In both countries, academic entrepreneurs are revealed to be a necessary factor in the sale of crime prevention to government. On the demand side, governments adopt and adapt crime prevention policies in relation to their broader perspective on social problems and social change. However, rising crime rates and climates of urgency reduce the attractiveness of crime prevention. Scientific crime prevention is easier to sell when crime rates are stable or declining.