Futures: detection, anticipation and response

  • How the future is perceived (through detection and anticipation)
  • The kinds of response that can be made to the issues that are identified.
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
0Wait till new problem (or new growth in old problem) hits, or exceeds pain threshold
1Scanning/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
2Anticipation by extrapolation of the problem – population projections, crime trends and statistical models
3Anticipation 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
4Qualitative-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)
0Do nothing – endure pain
1Tackle problems after they hit the pain threshold, using existing operational capacity
2Tackle 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
3Build 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
4Develop 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
5Build 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
6Develop 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
7Develop and build capacity for anticipation – e.g. tools for crime-proofing, crime impact assessment, horizon-scanning