The practitioner-facing side of Crime Science has produced a diversity of problem-related processes and models such as SARA and the Problem Analysis Triangle. And the practice-led approach CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) is nominally a process, yet this side of it is under-developed.
How does 5Is relate to all these? Is it compatible with them? What advantages does it offer?
This page covers:
- How the 5Is, SARA and Problem-Oriented Policing are related
- The relationship between the 5Is and the Problem Analysis Triangle
- How the 5Is relates to other process models including those within CPTED and the wider field of design
5Is, SARA and Problem-Oriented Policing
How are 5Is and SARA related?
5Is is closely related to SARA, the process framework used widely in Problem-Oriented Policing, as shown e.g. in the ‘55 steps‘ guide (Step 8 of Clarke and Eck 2003). Both frameworks originated from action-research approaches developed, for example, by Kurt Lewin, Donald Campbell and Leslie Wilkins.
5Is concentrates on detailed capture, consolidation and replication of good practice knowledge. SARA (Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment) is more of a general-purpose set of action-steps that can be rapidly and easily communicated to ‘beginners’ in crime prevention, and those less willing or able to invest in the time and effort to up their game. As a result, SARA can be faulted for oversimplification of a complex and tricky reality, to the detriment of practice and research.
All the know-how encapsulated in SARA can be included within the more advanced process framework of the 5Is, with the advantage of being able to add and manage much more practical detail. This added sophistication is necessary because understanding the causes of crime problems and planning and implementing action to prevent them is often a challenging task, demanding of high performance by practitioners and researchers alike. The requirement for, and benefits of, greater sophistication are discussed further with reference to the 5Is here; and more generally, on the page on knowledge in crime and security.
The steps of SARA – Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment – map quite closely onto the counterpart 5Is task streams of Intelligence, Intervention, Implementation, Involvement and Impact, as the diagram below shows:
How do 5Is and SARA differ?
One obvious distinction between the frameworks is the pooling of SARA’s Scanning and Analysis tasks under the Intelligence task stream in 5Is. This appears to gloss over a valuable practical distinction but in fact the Scanning-Analysis divide is preserved under the tasks within Intelligence, as the process model description and the more detailed Master Headings of 5Is reveal. (Also available as Expandable-collapsible Word version of Master Headings.)
Another difference is the division of the amorphous Response stage of SARA into three distinct task streams within 5Is. This enables a far more nuanced characterisation of the different kinds of action needed to make crime prevention work on the ground, whether as an entirely new project or a replication of a success story intelligently-adapted to a new problem and context.
More generally, SARA has a ‘flat’ structure of just one level of action headings, whereas 5Is is more tree-like, with many branches and sub-branches. This greatly facilitates the capture, organisation and retrieval of detailed practical information in knowledge bases of past projects. In turn, this guides practitioners when selecting which to replicate, and how, as a solution to their own current problem (see this presentation and Bullock and Ekblom 2010).
This diagram shows how the hierarchical structure of 5Is can accommodate and organise more detail:
Are 5Is and SARA compatible?
Any know-how knowledge captured in a project description or a process guide based on SARA can readily be assimilated within the 5Is equivalents. However, attempting to do so in the reverse direction would be unproductive, because the structural organisation of the 5Is tasks and subtasks would be lost. The knowledge would either have to be listed in a jumbled heap of details or under a set of bespoke headings devised for each and every case, which would be inefficient and lose out on the advantages of 5Is, described next.
Advantages of 5Is over SARA
- 5Is has extra levels of detail, reflecting the aspiration of 5Is to handle the richness and complexity of preventive action on the ground. The tasks of ‘Intervention, Implementation and Involvement’ can each be further subdivided (for example, ‘Involvement’ includes ‘Partnership, Mobilisation and Climate-setting’, as in the following diagram). In this way, those describing or planning preventive action can be systematically prompted to look for certain kinds of information.
- Having a many-branched tree structure with a uniform set of headings on which to arrange knowledge enables knowledge managers to put like-with-like. Therefore, a large amount of knowledge can be organised for retrieval in case studies/knowledge bases, and distilled for incorporation in the process model.
- The modular nature of 5Is knowledge facilitates the ‘mix-and-match’ process underlying innovation. A failed intervention in a fraud project, for example, could be accompanied by a highly-successful involvement technique, which can be ‘salvaged’ and replicated elsewhere.
- 5Is also more closely reflects the underlying structure of crime prevention activity. For example in describing the Intervention aspect of a preventive project it distinguishes between the various detailed practical methods applied and the generic principles underlying them. In fact, just knowing the structure of the 5Is headings can teach practitioners (and researchers) a lot about prevention.
- 5Is has a greater functional scope – it aims to meet the knowledge requirements of a range of approaches beyond purely problem-oriented ones and/or situational crime prevention – e.g. service/case-based actions and those applying offender-oriented or community-level interventions.
SARA codified, for the practice world, the systematic analysis of the crime problem, the importance of a problem-appropriate response, and evaluation (a process which had its origins in action research/ operations research). And 5Is, in building upon SARA, brings systematic and detailed analysis and design of Intervention, Implementation and Involvement options too. SARA has mastered the art of the simple, but 5Is has a ‘variable geometry’ which can enable those practitioners and researchers who wish to progress from the simple ‘Task Stream’ level (Intelligence etc)) to the progressively more advanced ‘Task’, ‘Methodology’ and ‘Detail’ levels.
5Is and the Problem Analysis Triangle
In terms of intervention, SARA is normally associated with the ‘Problem Analysis Triangle’ (PAT – Offender, Target/Victim, Place) which is used as the framework both to analyse immediate causes of crime and to describe or plan interventions. 5Is could be used with the PAT, but by preference it employs the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity which includes a wider range of immediate causes and intervention principles, and gives equal weight to those that relate to the offender and the crime situation. Arguably, knowing more about offenders benefits practitioners designing situational interventions too (Ekblom 2007b).
5Is and other process models
SARA has spawned a number of functionally equivalent variants. How do these relate to 5Is?
One variant is Spatial, developed by Transport for London for use in dealing with crime and antisocial behaviour, road danger reduction and reliability problems on the transport system in London. The revised methodology highlights the importance of prioritisation, effective allocation of intervention resources and more systematic learning from evaluation. In 5Is, these are covered under the methodology and detail levels of Intelligence and Impact, as shown in the master list of headings.
Another variant is CAPRA, introduced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Clients Acquiring and analysing information, Partnership, Response, and Assessment. In distinguishing between Partnership and Response, this begins to differentiate action but the Involvement task of 5Is, where partnership knowledge is located, is more generic and inclusive. The Clients aspect of CAPRA is an important element not explicitly seen in SARA, which reflects the initiation of preventive action by various stakeholders. 5Is acknowledges the importance of this task and covers it explicitly under Intelligence, as ‘Demand’.
5Is also relates to the 7 Steps to a Successful Crime Prevention Project produced by the Beccaria Programme. Both share a concern with quality of action and quality of its description. However, 7 Steps focuses more on generic project planning and project management processes, while 5Is centres more on the specific content of the crime prevention action being described, and the logic or rationale of ‘problem and causes to intervention to implementation and evaluation’. Although there is some overlap, the two frameworks are complementary and the link between them could be developed further.
5Is and the CPTED process
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is a practice-led school of design – yet arguably, it lacks a well-articulated process model. Diane Zahm (2007) attempted to use SARA for this purpose.
This presentation explores how 5Is might be mapped onto CPTED.
5Is and wider design processes
Designers more generally have process models of their own, which obviously address multiple requirements way beyond security alone. An appropriate one for crime prevention is the Double Diamond (Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver) of the UK Design Council. Wootton and Davey (2012) introduce an alternative design lifecycle model.
The Crime Frameworks have in some cases been adapted to support design processes and the design way of thinking. For use of 5Is and other Crime Frameworks in various design projects, see here.