Crime is big news. From murder to theft to drug gangs, crime and criminal justice affect the lives of millions of people worldwide. Hardly surprisingly, crime has been pushed high up the public policy agenda across the world. But how can we measure crime, or evaluate the effectiveness of preventative measures? Does the threat of prison reduce someone's likelihood of reoffending, or would rehabilitation be more constructive?
In this Very Short Introduction Tim Newburn considers how we can study trends in crime, and use them to inform preventative policy and criminal justice. Analysing the history of the subject, he reflects on our understanding of crime and responses to crime in earlier historical periods. Considering trends in crime in the developed world, Newburn discusses its causes, exploring the relationship between drugs and crime, analysing what we know about why people stop offending, and looking
at both formal and informal responses to crime. Newburn concludes by discussing what role criminology can plausibly be anticipated to have in crime control and politics, and what its limits are.
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Tim Newburn is Professor of Social Policy and Criminology at the London School of Economics. He is a former President of the British Society of Criminology (2005- 08) and was elected an Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences in 2005. In 2009, together with two colleagues, he was appointed Official Historian on Criminal Justice. He is a member of the Home Office's Scientific Advisory Committee and numerous other advisory bodies. He is the founding editor of the journal Criminology and Criminal Justice and is the author or editor of 35 books, including the leading undergraduate textbook in the field: Criminology (Willan Publishing, 2007).
Introducing criminologyWhat is crime?Who commits crime?How do we measure crime?Understanding recent trends in crimeUnderstanding the crime dropHow do we control crime?How do we prevent crime?Where next for criminology?Sources and Further ReadingIndex