Guardianship - Not to be underestimated in crime reduction
The presence of capable guardianship is a key component in the crime event model. A capable guardian can disrupt the potential for crime, directly or indirectly, as explained in the recent study by Hollis-Peel and Welsh (2014).
In their article entitled "What makes a guardian capable? A test of guardianship in action" Hollis-Peel and Welsh (2014) argue that residential property can be better protected through capable guardianship that is supported by physical measures and the social environment. In particular they argue residents who are aware of their surrounds, aware of the environment and prepared to observe and report suspicious behaviour or suspicious presence assist in crime reduction generally.
The study was conducted through observations of private residences in the US however the principles discussed equally apply to similar environments.
The stages of guardianship ranged from no visible presence, being visible, being able to monitor, to interventions where guardians might actively act against inappropriate neighbourhood activity. Although the study appears related to the well-established Neighbourhood Watch concept, it extends in the area of active monitoring, situational awareness and potential intervention.
Security professionals conducting risk assessments should not overlook the importance of natural surveillance, defensible space, territoriality and guardianship, not merely placing security personnel or introducing physical measures to address risk.
Additional informartion is contained in the article which can be purchased online through Macmillan Publishers in Security Journal (2014) vol. 27, 3, 320-337 - Dr Tony Zalewski