Research and policy


The EUCPN publishes a toolbox series, with new titles appearing biannually. A toolbox focuses on the main theme of the Presidency and aims to support practitioners. It is a prevention-oriented manual in which we look at the difficulties and attempts to prevent the crime.

Our last edition:

The focus of this publication is twofold. First, it outlines the phenomenon of street gangs. Street gangs, or youth gangs, can take different forms in different countries or even cities. Starting from a European consensus definition, this Toolbox sheds light on the most important properties of street gangs. Special attention is devoted to the way in which gangs make use of the internet and social media. Secondly, the paper details three types of preventive approaches to youth gang problems: social work and welfare approaches to prevent recruitment into gangs, focussed deterrence policing strategies to reduce levels of gang violence, and exit programmes to stimulate rehabilitation of gang members and reduce recidivism. For each type of intervention, it looks at what we might or might not expect from it, what the difficulties are in successfully implementing it, and its overall effectiveness.

Toolbox street gang prevention

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These short papers focus on a common misconception in the crime prevention field.

Our last edition:

Why implement anti-burglary interventions when, as a result, burglars will merely relocate their activities to another nearby area? It is sometimes believed that implementing prevention interventions, such as CCTV cameras, will simply cause offenders to shift their activities to different locations, change their methods or find new targets. Yet this is only one of the possible outcomes an intervention can bring about. In practice, crime displacement is often outweighed by two other outcomes: a ceasing of crime and the diffusion of crime prevention benefits.

Read the mythbuster - Does crime prevented mean crime displaced?
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Monitor: What works to prevent domestic burglaries?
This paper aims to support European, national and local stakeholders by providing an overview of the initiatives which may, or may not, be successful in preventing domestic burglaries. All initiatives have been grouped in three categories: namely those for which strong evidence, moderate evidence or limited evidence is available. When labelling an initiative as having ‘strong evidence’, it means that several studies have consistently shown a reduction in the number of domestic burglaries, such as the one that was found to occur following target hardening by employing a combination of window locks, internal lights, door locks and external lights. Initiatives with the ‘moderate evidence’ label are those for which a limited number of studies have shown a promising impact in terms of crime reduction, such as property marking. However, more research is needed for this to be labelled ‘strong evidence’. Others, such as intruder alarm systems, have shown contradictory results or have not been evaluated properly yet but contain some characteristics that seem promising and deserve more attention. Finally, we would like to emphasise that lessons learned during implementation and the specific context should always be taken into account when policy makers and practitioners develop their own domestic burglary prevention strategies.

Recommendation paper: A holistic approach towards preventing fencing
In order to tackle fencing, an elaborate approach aimed at several focus areas while including various partners is needed. This paper discusses four focus areas that make up the phenomenon of fencing. The first focus area targets frequently stolen goods by sharing some marking techniques, as well as methods for making stolen goods less sustainable. The second focus area is aimed at the fences and their customers by discussing databases and awareness-raising methods for reaching both target groups. The third focus area discusses several legislative and administrative measures that can be implemented to tackle stolen goods markets as a whole. Finally, the fourth overarching focus area elaborates on various stakeholders that should be included to tackle fencing as a whole.

Preventing trafficking in human beings: labour and criminal exploitation
Trafficking in human beings is a serious offence against personal and sexual freedom and integrity. A distinction can be made between different kinds of THB based on the purpose, which is always a form of exploitation. Besides trafficking for sexual exploitation, the most studied and most reported type, there are trafficking for labour exploitation, trafficking for criminal exploitation, and a few other types. Perpetrators make money off of labour exploitation in two major ways: cost reduction and revenue generation. The most promising prevention initiatives are proactive labour inspections and targeted, multi-agency investigations of situations or businesses where labour trafficking is indicated. Forced criminality can take the form of forced begging as well as forced metal theft, pickpocketing, drug production, trafficking and dealing, and benefit fraud. Prevention efforts should focus on two axes: measures to eliminate the feeding ground for criminal exploitation on the one hand and stimulating the identification and non-punishment of victims.


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