Identifying what works: Recent trends in crime prevention strategies

Christy A. Visher*, David Weisburd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This paper reviews lessons learned from evaluations of crime prevention programs in the past three decades and discusses how crime prevention approaches have changed in terms of theory, research, evaluation, and public policy. We argue that present strategies of crime prevention may be best understood by tracing the failures of earlier American crime prevention efforts. The paper discusses different types of crime prevention strategies and draws upon examples from developmental, law enforcement, and criminal justice approaches. From this discussion emerges a set of principles for a new approach to crime prevention that is specific in terms of the problems addressed and the contexts examined. The paper concludes with examples of recent crime prevention strategies that utilize these lessons and that appear to have promising effects on crime. While these approaches suggest optimism in terms of the crime prevention potential of new strategies, we urge caution in that these new crime prevention efforts are at an early stage of development.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)223-242
Number of pages20
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1997


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