Developmental Crime Prevention in the Twenty-first Century: Generating Better Evidence Embedded in Large-scale Delivery Systems

Abstract

In recent decades, a strong foundation for developmental crime prevention has been constructed by a small band of criminologists, including the authors in this special issue. However, the evidence base is incomplete and needs strengthening. Moreover, the “flagship programs” that largely constitute the evidence base simply establish “proof of concept” rather than providing evidence readily translatable into policies for sustainable, population-wide crime prevention. I propose the development of a research agenda for both type 1 translation (applying basic scientific research to the development and testing of new prevention initiatives) and type 2 translation (investigating the complex processes and systems through which evidence-based practices are adopted, implemented, and sustained on a large scale). The agenda could include (a) experiments that integrate universal, selective, and indicated interventions; (b) study of the crime prevention effects of “services as usual” because routine services can be the pathway to scale; (c) research in partnership with practitioners and communities to construct risk and protective factor profiles to guide prevention planning, implementation, and evaluation; (d) type 1 research in areas where better evidence is needed; and (e) better integrating the timing of interventions with knowledge about the development of criminal propensity. I argue that type 2 translation could be viewed as the new frontier for developmental crime prevention, requiring a shift in focus from programs to systems and new research methodologies such as those developed in the CREATE Project, which has built electronic and human infrastructure to help bridge the gap between developmental prevention research and routine services.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Arthur, M. W., Hawkins, J. D., Pollard, J. A., Catalano, R. F., & Baglioni, A. J. (2002). Measuring risk and protective factors for substance use, delinquency, and other adolescent problem behaviors: The communities that care youth survey. Evaluation Review, 26, 575–601.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2016). Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - main structure and greater capital city statistical areas, catalogue number 1270.0.55.001. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/by%20subject/1270.0.55.001~july%202016~main%20features~statistical%20area%20level%202%20(sa2)~10014. Accessed 10 Feb 2021.

  3. Australian Governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations. (2020). National agreement on closing the gap. https://www.closingthegap.gov.au. Accessed 18 Feb 2021.

  4. Beelman, A., & Lösel, F. (2020). A comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized evaluations of the effect of child social skills training on antisocial development. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.

  5. Bierman, K. L., Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Lochman, J. E., McMahon, R. J., & Pinderhughes, E. E. (2019). The fast track program for children at risk: Preventing antisocial behavior. The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Branch, S., Freiberg, K., & Homel, R. (2019). Strengthening the prevention delivery system for children in disadvantaged communities through infrastructure development. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, 53, 54–73.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Carey, G., Crammond, B., & De Leeuw, E. (2015). Towards health equity: A framework for the application of proportionate universalism. International Journal for Equity in Health, 14, 81–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Catalano, R. F., Hawkins, J. D., Kosterman, R., Bailey, J. A., Oesterle, S., Cambron, C., & Farrington, D. P. (2020). Applying the social development model in middle childhood to promote healthy development: Effects from primary school through the 30s and across generations. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.

  9. Day, J., Freiberg, K., Hayes, A., & Homel, R. (2019). Towards scalable, integrative assessment of children’s self-regulatory capabilities: New applications of digital technology. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 22, 90–103. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-019-00282-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Developmental Crime Prevention Consortium. (1999). Pathways to prevention: Developmental and early intervention approaches to crime in Australia (summary report, full report and appendices) (400 pages). Australian Government Publishing Service. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304737879_Pathways_to_Prevention_Developmental_and_Early_Intervention_Approaches_to_Crime_in_Australia. Accessed 25 Jan 2021.

  11. Fagan, A. A. (2020). Developmental prevention programs intended to change peer risk and protective factors: A review of the evaluation literature. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.

  12. Fagan, A. A., Bumbarger, B. K., Barth, R. P., Bradshaw, C. P., Rhoades-Cooper, B., Supplee, L. H., & Walker, D. K. (2019a). Scaling up evidence-based interventions in US public systems to prevent behavioral health problems: Challenges and opportunities. Prevention Science, 20, 1147–1168.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Fagan, A. A., Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Farrington, D. P. (2019b). Communities that care: Building community engagement and capacity to prevent youth behavior problems. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Farrington, D. P. (2007). Childhood risk factors and risk-focussed prevention. In M. Maguire, R. Morgan, & R. Reiner (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of criminology (4th ed., pp. 602–640). Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Farrington, D. P., Lösel, F., Braga, A. A., Mazerolle, L., Raine, A., Sherman, L. W., & Weisburd, D. (2019). Experimental criminology: Looking back and forward on the 20th anniversary of the academy of experimental criminology. Journal of Experimental Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-019-09384-z.

  16. Fonagy, P., Butler, S., Cottrell, D., Scott, S., Pilling, S., Eisler, I., Fuggle, P., Kraam, A., Byford, S., Wason, J., Ellison, R., Simes, E., Ganguli, P., Allison, E., & Goodyer, I. M. (2018). The Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30001-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Ghate, D. (2016). From programs to systems: Deploying implementation science and practice for sustained real world effectiveness in services for children and families. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 45(6), 812–826.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Gottfredson, D. C., Cook, T. D., Gardner, F. E. M., Gorman-Smiths, D., Howe, G. W., Sandler, I. N., & Zafft, K. M. (2015). Standards of evidence for efficacy, effectiveness and scale-up research in prevention science: Next generation. Prevention Science, 16, 893–926.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Greenberg, M. T., & Abenavoli, R. (2017). Universal interventions: Fully exploring their impacts and potential to produce population-level impacts. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10(1), 40–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2016.1246632.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Homel, R., Lincoln, R., & Herd, B. (1999). Risk and resilience: Crime and violence prevention in Aboriginal communities. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 32, 182–196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Homel, R., Freiberg, K., & Branch, S. (2015). CREATE-ing capacity to take developmental crime prevention to scale: A community-based approach within a national framework. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 48(3), 367–385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Homel, R., Bumbarger, B., Freiberg, K., & Branch, S. (2017). Sustaining crime prevention at scale: Transforming delivery systems through prevention science. In B. Teasdale & M. Bradley (Eds.), Preventing crime and violence: Volume 3 of advancing prevention science (chapter 29) (pp. 351–376). Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Homel, J., Homel, R., McGee, T. R., Zardo, P., Branch, S., Freiberg, K., Manning, M., & Wong, G. (2020). Evaluation of a place-based collective impact initiative through cross-sectoral data linkage. Australian Journal of Social Issues (Early View). https://doi.org/10.1002/ajs4.147.

  24. Humayun, S., Herlitz, L., Chesnokov, M., Doolan, M., Landau, S., & Scott, S. (2017). Randomized controlled trial of functional family therapy for offending and antisocial behavior in UK youth. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 58, 1023–1032.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Koegl, C. J., Farrington, D. P., & Augimeri, L. K. (2019). Predicting future criminal convictions of children under age 12 using the early assessment risk lists. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.

  26. Lynch, J. (2017). What can early interventions really achieve, and how will we know? Family Matters, 99, 15–22.

    Google Scholar 

  27. McCord, J., Tremblay, R. E., Vitaro, F., & Desmarais-Gervais, L. (1994). Boys’ disruptive behaviour, school adjustment, and delinquency: The Montreal prevention experiment. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 17, 739–752.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Robling, M., Bekkers, M.-J., Bell, K., Butler, C. C., Cannings-John, R., Channon, S., Martin, B. C., Gregory, J. W., Hood, K., Kemp, A., Kenkre, J., Montgomery, A. A., Moody, G., Owen-Jones, E., Pickett, K., Richardson, G., Roberts, Z. E. S., Ronaldson, S., Sanders, J., … Torgerson, D. (2016). Effectiveness of a nurse-led intensive home-visitation programme for first-time teenage mothers (building blocks): A pragmatic randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 387, 146–155.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Shonkoff, J. P., & Fisher, P. A. (2013). Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1635–1653.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Clair, S., Shin, C., Greenberg, M., & Feinberg, M. (2011). Preventing substance misuse through community–university partnerships and evidence-based interventions: PROSPER outcomes 4 1/2 years past baseline. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(4), 440–447.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Spoth, R., Rohrbach, L. A., Greenberg, M., Leaf, P., Brown, C. H., Fagan, A., Catalano, R. F., Pentz, M. A., Sloboda, Z., Hawkins, J. D., & Society for Prevention Research Type 2 Translational Task Force Members and Contributing Authors. (2013). Addressing core challenges for the next generation of Type 2 Translation research and systems: The Translation Science to Population Impact (TSci Impact) framework. Prevention Science, 14, 319–351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Walter, M., Lovett, R., Maher, B., Williamson, B., Prehn, J., Bodkin-Andrews, G., & Lee, V. (2020). Indigenous data sovereignty in the era of big data and open data. Australian Journal of Social Issues (Early View). https://doi.org/10.1002/ajs4.141.

  33. Welsh, B. C., & Tremblay, R. E. (2020). Early developmental crime prevention forged through knowledge translation: A window into a century of prevention experiments. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.

Download references

Acknowledgements

The CREATE Research Program, Creating pathways to child wellbeing in disadvantaged communities, was funded and supported by the Australian Research Council Linkage Grants LP130100142 and LP170100480, and by Partner Organisations: Australian Department of Social Services; Queensland Department of Education; Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women; New South Wales Department of Education; New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services; The Smith Family; Mission Australia; The Benevolent Society; The Salvation Army (Qld) Property Trust; The Trustee for Logan Child Friendly Community Charitable Trust; Australian Primary Principals Association.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ross Homel.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Homel, R. Developmental Crime Prevention in the Twenty-first Century: Generating Better Evidence Embedded in Large-scale Delivery Systems. J Dev Life Course Criminology 7, 112–125 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40865-021-00163-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Evidence standards
  • Type 2 translation
  • Scaling up
  • CREATE Project
  • Population impact