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Crime prevention has a long history in Australia, and in other parts of the world. In all societies, people have tried to themselves and those close to them from assaults and other abuses. Every time someone locks the door to their house or their car, they practise prevention. Most parents want their children to learn to be law abiding and not spend extended periods of their lives in prison. In this country, at least, most succeed. Only a small minority of young people become offenders. In a functioning society, crime prevention is part of everyday life.
Why, then, have three Australian criminologists written a book about crime prevention and community safety? There are several reasons. The first is that while prevention can be all-pervasive at the grassroots, it is oddly neglected in mass media and political discourses. When politicians, talkback radio hosts and newspaper editorialists pontificate about crime and remedies, it is comparatively for them to mention prevention. Overwhelmingly, emphasis is on policing, sentencing and other ‘law and order’ responses.