Organisations and individuals can address the future in various fundamental ways.
This page sets these ways out, covering:
- How the future is perceived (through detection and anticipation)
- The kinds of response that can be made to the issues that are identified.
Below is a set of progressively more sophisticated levels of orientation towards the future.
The table below describes perception of the future, through detection and anticipation of problems and issues at increasing levels of sophistication.
Level 0 – you’re standing in a boat; wave hits boat, you then adjust posture
Levels 0-4 – you see wave coming and brace in advance to reduce disturbance
|0||Wait till new problem (or new growth in old problem) hits, or exceeds pain threshold|
|1||Scanning/early warning – identification of emergent new crime targets, new MOs, new resources e.g. wifi extender for stealing cars with electronic locks – develop systems for scanning|
|2||Anticipation by extrapolation of the problem – population projections, crime trends and statistical models|
|3||Anticipation by empirical prediction using indicators – e.g. identification of contemporary changes to risk and protective factors in early childhood, known to be correlated with crime or honesty in later life|
|4||Qualitative-leap anticipation – using theories of causes of crime combined with predictions of future states of those causes to identify possible future crimes or crime prevention possibilities that are entirely new|
This second table, below, depicts the range of responses, again at increasing levels of sophistication, to problems and issues detected or anticipated:
Levels 0-2 are reactive, levels 3-7 include anticipatory element)
|0||Do nothing – endure pain|
|1||Tackle problems after they hit the pain threshold, using existing operational capacity|
|2||Tackle problems after they hit the pain threshold, reactively building new operational capacity ‘ex-stock’ – e.g. take on more police or buy extra riot shields|
|3||Build a reserve operational capacity in anticipation – e.g. take on more police just in case crime problems increase. Weed out obsolescent crime reduction methods. Build |
resilience e.g. through redundancy
|4||Develop specific new operational capacity in anticipation of specific crime problems – e.g. design new forensic kit in anticipation of new date rape drugs coming across from USA. Create conducive climate to use of this capacity, resolve ethical/legitimacy issues in anticipation, support by new laws. Future-proof laws e.g. by using generic/functional descriptions of prescribed drugs|
|5||Build innovative capacity in anticipation that it will be needed against a range of unspecified crime problems – e.g. alert, inform, motivate and empower designers to incorporate crime prevention in their products; get police to innovate in problem-solving; and in support of this, supply them with evidence-based knowledge of principles, and conceptual frameworks|
|6||Develop innovative capacity – tools and R&D techniques, including attack testing, knowledge management and conceptual frameworks, so these are available to disseminate within practitioner/policy organisations|
|7||Develop and build capacity for anticipation – e.g. tools for crime-proofing, crime impact assessment, horizon-scanning|
This approach originated in Ekblom (2002b). It could be expanded to cover issues such as the kinds of knowledge we need to make us effective at each level, the risks attendant on acting or not acting and tools and techniques to support each kind of activity. Rather than being exclusively focused on adverse trends and events, it could even be extended to include opportunities for the security side. This dual perspective is taken further in the Misdeeds and Security Framework.