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Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 53–70 | Cite as

Guardianship for crime prevention: a critical review of the literature

  • Meghan E. Hollis-Peel
  • Danielle M. Reynald
  • Maud van Bavel
  • Henk Elffers
  • Brandon C. Welsh
Article

Abstract

Cohen and Felson’s (Cohen and Felson American Sociological Review 44(4):588–608, 1979) routine activity theory posits that for a crime to occur three necessary elements must converge in time and space: motivated offenders, suitable targets, and the absence of capable guardianship. Capable guardians can serve as a key actor in the crime event model; one who can disrupt, either directly or indirectly, the interaction between a motivated offender and a suitable target. This article critically reviews the literature on guardianship for crime prevention. Our specific focus is two-fold: (1) to review the way guardianship has been operationalized and measured, and (2) to review experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations and field tests of guardianship. Research on routine activities has had an uneven focus resulting in the neglect of the guardianship component (Reynald Crime Prevention and Community Safety 11(1):1–20, 2009; Sampson et al. Security Journal 23(1):37–51, 2010; Tewksbury and Mustaine Criminal Justice and Behavior 30(3):302–327, 2003; Wilcox et al. Criminology 45(4):771–803 2007). Evaluations of guardianship-related interventions demonstrate support for the theoretical construct; however, high-quality field tests of guardianship are wholly lacking. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

Keywords

Crime Prevention Target Hardening Security Guard Informal Social Control Place Manager 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the editor and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meghan E. Hollis-Peel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Danielle M. Reynald
    • 3
  • Maud van Bavel
    • 4
  • Henk Elffers
    • 4
  • Brandon C. Welsh
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law EnforcementAmsterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement and VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  5. 5.School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA

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