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Focused deterrence: effective crime reduction strategy for chronic offenders?

Abstract

This paper assessed a chronic offender program in Cambridge, MA, that utilized focused deterrence elements to reduce the social harm and crime. In contrast to other studies of focused deterrence programs, chronic offenders who do not specialize in any type of crime and participate in both violent and nonviolent offending behavior were selected to participate in this program based on their social harm index score. The paper details the features on the program. We then examined the social harm committed by the offenders as well as individual level time to arraignment as outcome measures. The results show that the focused deterrence program did not significantly reduce the social harm index nor the time to arraignment for these offenders. The use of focused deterrence for gangs and groups as opposed to chronic offender is discussed.

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Correspondence to Julie Schnobrich-Davis.

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Schnobrich-Davis, J., Swatt, M. & Wagner, D. Focused deterrence: effective crime reduction strategy for chronic offenders?. Crime Prev Community Saf 23, 302–318 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-021-00121-1

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Keywords

  • Focused deterrence
  • Social harm index
  • Crime reduction
  • Chronic offenders