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Investigating the Applicability of Situational Crime Prevention to the Public Mass Violence Context


In this article, we argue that situational crime prevention (SCP) strategies can be used to prevent public mass violence, as well as to mitigate the harms caused from those attacks that still occur. We draw from the SCP perspective generally, and its application to terrorism particularly, as well as from the public mass violence literature. We focus on the pillars of opportunity that include target selection, weapon selection, tools used, and conditions that facilitate public mass violence attacks.

We conclude that SCP's EVIL DONE risk assessment template could be refined for the public mass violence context. We argue that the exposed, occupied, nearer, and easy dimensions, along with a newly created personal grievance dimension, could be used to identify more at‐risk settings that should receive more situational interventions to prevent these attacks. We similarly conclude that SCP's other pillars could be used to prevent these attacks. We outline specific hard and soft interventions that could thwart these attacks. Importantly, we use examples to illustrate that SCP's strategies could effectively mitigate the harms caused by public mass violence attacks that do occur. We also set forth research strategies to test our claims.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Freilich, Joshua D., Steven M. Chermak, and Brent R. Klein. 2019. "Investigating the Applicability of Situational Crime Prevention to the Public Mass Violence Context." Criminology and Public Policy (December). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1745-9133.12480

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