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Thread: What can be learned from traditional crime prevention to reduce and prevent environmental harm?

  1. #1 What can be learned from traditional crime prevention to reduce and prevent environmental harm? 
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    Worldwide concern about the impact of climate change, population growth and resource depletion will continue to drive a focus on environmental harms. Tackling and reducing these harms will inevitably lead to greater regulation and further criminalisation of both intentional and negligent acts by individuals, business and government. What can be learned from traditional crime prevention to reduce and prevent environmental harm?
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    What can be learned from traditional crime prevention to reduce and prevent environmental harm?
    The best known crime reduction strategy is prompt identification and arrest of the perpetrator. Much more effective than heavy penalties which turn into a lottery when detection and enforcement are overworked or weak or underfunded or incompetent or any combination of those things so criminals reckon it's worth the small chance of a big penalty. Getting caught quickly is the thing that seems to be the biggest deterrent. (Justice delayed is justice denied is true in more ways than one.)

    There's also the strategy of denying "satisfaction" to perpetrators. Regions that have graffiti patrols who go out and paint over/ clean/ obliterate tagging each and every day on each and every target surface finish up with less tagging occurring in the first place. It sometimes takes a few years of constant vigilance and regular hard work, but it can be done.

    So having enough inspectors and other enforcement personnel detecting and prosecuting offenders - as soon as possible - and also repairing the damage as soon as possible once it's occurred are good paths to take.

    Is that the sort of thing you mean?


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Tackling and reducing these harms will inevitably lead to greater regulation and further criminalisation
    Im not sure I understand the premise of the question (which is a bit general)

    maybe we could either focus on science and technology to develop new methods and processes that are less damaging to the environment (some of which would probably be beneficial for designing Mars colonies),
    or, we could train lawyers that could provide laws for legislators that would prohibit those without the lobbying power to negate/loop-hole these from harming the environment?

    Why is greater legislation and further criminalisation "inevitable", why not simply make adjustments to what already exists, but focus on changing the social/technical environment that is causing the harming of the natural environment?
    Last edited by icewendigo; March 21st, 2014 at 01:00 PM.
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    A focus on education might help. All too often, efforts to fight environmental problems meet resistance because people don't understand the issues. It is all too easy for the unscrupulous to manipulate debate in their own favor when the public doesn't understand what the debate is really about in the first place. Polluters get away with pretending they've done nothing wrong, because cleaning up their mess or avoiding creating it in the first place would cut into their profits, and it is cheaper just to hire a PR firm or congressional lobbyist to make the problem go away. On the other hand, there has been environmental legislation in the past that addressed nonexistent problems that served no purpose other than to ban substances whose patent rights had expired in order to make huge profits for the holders of patents on suitable replacements. This nonsense happens because the public doesn't understand the science and doesn't think critically about what the abusers' spokesmen say in public.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rh272 View Post
    Worldwide concern about the impact of climate change, population growth and resource depletion will continue to drive a focus on environmental harms. Tackling and reducing these harms will inevitably lead to greater regulation and further criminalisation of both intentional and negligent acts by individuals, business and government. What can be learned from traditional crime prevention to reduce and prevent environmental harm?
    Thanks
    Are you asking about how to enforce environmental controls in such a way that you don't increase the likelihood of organized illegal dumping?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Are you asking about how to enforce environmental controls in such a way that you don't increase the likelihood of organized illegal dumping?
    Your question reminded me of a New England tannery back in the 70s that continue to dump high amounts of chromium into what had been one of the most productive salmon rivers (Saco River) prior to it's placement ten miles from the mouth. The fine was $10,000 a day, which the plant paid for more than ten years before shutting down from overseas competition (where there was probably no regulations at all).
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    Im trying to examine the relationship between environmental harm and crime prevention. And whether the nature and dynamics of environmental crime will impinge upon law enforcement and prevention strategies in new ways. For example, how do we deal with harms that we cannot see or smell, as with some forms of toxic pollution. It is also a matter of conceptualisation and value judgement; where does the precautionary principle fit within criminological analysis? Who or what is the victim? It also relates to scope, given the globalised nature of certain types of environmental harm; how should we deal with transnational environmental harms, such as those associated with fishing and the logging of forests?

    I want to try and gain a better understanding of what we might learn from conventional crime prevention about how to prevent environmental harm. What ideas might we glean from the literature on situational prevention (e.g. satellite technology), community crime prevention (e.g. coastal watch groups) and crime prevention through environmental design (e.g. channelling people via predetermined routes through wilderness)? What skills, capacities and organisational relationships are needed if we are to prevent environmental harm adequately and successfully?

    What key tensions are likely to arise in criminological encounters with environmental issues?
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    In many areas of the world there isn't enough money to pay for law enforcement to find the criminals. As an example in Africa there are poachers that routinely hill animals that are endangered just to make money from whatever it is those animals have like ivory from elephants. so many criminals get away with things and are never prosecuted for their acts.

    Another problem is housing criminals in jails. Jails cost millions to keep running and many times criminals are doing things inside the jails as they would be doing outside or doing things to other prisoners to get money from them. There are over 60% rates of return to prison when the prisoners are released back into the community as well.

    Knowing that jail, in many instances, won't prevent a criminal from doing the same thing over and over when they are released seems like a waste of money and time. I would suggest that the times in prison be increased and that prisoners do the full amount of time instead of time off for good behavior. Make crimes against the environment more lengthy and no parole.
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    I don't know what to call what's happening in this thread, but you guys are basically responding to a question and having a discussion with this paper from 2008. Also here and elsewhere. Is this a known Internet phenomenon?
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    And whether the nature and dynamics of environmental crime will impinge upon law enforcement and prevention strategies in new ways. For example, how do we deal with harms that we cannot see or smell, as with some forms of toxic pollution.
    In advanced industrial economies we already know a great deal about these sorts of things - though the average citizen might not know the details.

    The biggest issue is the lack of enforcement along with the trivial penalties for most infringements. Generally those trivial penalties were decided after governments "consulted" with the relevant industries.

    The best thing we could do is to enforce the laws we now have on the books and ensure that company personnel suffer for their decisions along with their "employers" (sometimes the 'employee' is actually the owner of the company) having to pay appropriate rather than negotiated or minimal penalties.

    There are some quite clever rules and regulations where industrial use of water is involved - like forcing companies to have their water intakes downstream of their waste pipes in rivers. So cleaning up their waste water is actually cleaning up their own water supply. But that approach isn't possible with most waste issues.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    I don't know what to call what's happening in this thread, but you guys are basically responding to a question and having a discussion with this paper from 2008. Also here and elsewhere. Is this a known Internet phenomenon?
    It is the first time I have seen it done.
    I would never have noticed it.
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  13. #12  
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    I don't know what to call what's happening in this thread, but you guys are basically responding to a question and having a discussion with this paper from 2008. Also here and elsewhere. Is this a known Internet phenomenon?
    Well the same bloke wrote both of those items.

    It might be set as a study item in an environment studies course. (I rather thought the OP looked a bit like an assignment discussion piece.)
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