mardi 24 janvier 2023

Situational Prevention - English Version


Situational Prevention

"English Version

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Situational Prevention is the term used to present the methods oriented towards taking into account the security in public, or even private, developments and to decrease, or even disappear the criminal acts, vandalism and delinquency.


As explained by the French Eric CHALUMEAU, risk management consultant, in the Cahiers du DSU of 2003 (Urban Social Development): the definition of Situational Prevention "is the set of measures that aim to prevent the passage to the delinquent act by modifying the circumstances in which the crimes could be committed by hardening the targets.

Hijacking of a SWISSAIR plane in September 1970
To illustrate this methodology to prevent the act, we can take the example of airplane hijackings over the last fifty years:
During the 60's, more and more hijackings took place throughout the world. The most important year was 1969 with 70 successful hijackings and 12 attempted hijackings... Of these, 40 were on American airlines.

Passport control in an American airport
The response was international, and very strong among Americans: search before boarding, use of metal detectors and screening of passengers with flight lists given to local authorities. In 1973, these controls became mandatory in the United States.

Assault by the GIGN of the AIR FRANCE plane in Marignane on December 25, 1994
Between 1968 and 1972, more than 140 hijackings (successful or not) were recorded. During the following years, between 1973 and 1977, the figure falls to 32... The following years, the hijackings in the world vary around ten per year...

Boarding on the tarmac
The controls before boarding will be relaxed during the years 80-90 because of the notable decrease of hijackings, and in particular on the domestic flights so that the travels of the customers of the airline companies are fast...

Attacks of 11/09/2001 against the Twins Towrs in New York
During the September 11, 2001 attacks, the terrorists who were going to take over the planes during domestic flights used utility knives and cutters.

Image of the video surveillance of the Portland airport on 11/01/2001 filming one of the terrorists
We will even see the metal detector being triggered at the Washington airport when two of the terrorists will pass through the portal, be controlled, then pass without any problem...

Armored door of a cockpit with a bullet-proof eyepiece
Immediately after, a reinforcement will take place in the planes and airports: reinforcement of the control at the boarding, installation of armored door to reach the cockpit of the plane, door remaining locked during the flight, training of the security agents in the airports, use of explosive detectors in addition to the metal detector portals, etc

Taking off of a plane
Since September 11, 2001, no hijacking has taken place in flight...

Some cities or metropolises have also adapted this methodology in different ways:

illustration picture
The principle of the broken window 
In 1982, two American criminology researchers, WILSON and KELLING, showed an interaction between damage and a rapid response to it: A broken window not repaired will cause greater damage to the building and then follow these same incivilities in the vicinity. As they explain, "Abandonment behavior also leads to the breakdown of social controls." It does, however, show a reflection to have before it is broken: why was this window broken ? Shouldn't we have some ways of improving and reacting beforehand...

This technique is used by the authorities who apply the "ZERO tolerance". One of the most famous to have applied this technique was the mayor of NEW YORK from 1991 to 2001, Rudy GIULIANI, who increased his police force by more than 10,000 additional police officers and applied this policy to the letter, which is still relevant today...

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Designing a public space
The defensible space according to Oscar NEWMAN
Giving a re-definition of spaces: the role of public and private spaces, urban forms, building layout, interactions and exchanges between citizens. This has led to the practices of "Residentialisation" and to a more precise delimitation of public and private spaces, as well as the role of each.
System for alerting the population to a risk of imminent or ongoing danger
Western countries have set up, thanks to social or information networks, alerts that allow the population to protect themselves or to reassure their relatives following an industrial or natural accident or a terrorist attack. You can find these means on the following link:
  - English Version -
Digicode and access gate
The 25 techniques of the British Home Office,
These 25 techniques applied by the British Home Office were developed by Ronald CLARKE, and are based on 5 objectives around the spatial analysis of delinquency:
Objective Number 1: Increase the difficulty of the act
A- Harden the target
B- Controlling access
C- Filter the exits
D- Diverting offenders
E- Controlling weapons and tools

Video surveillance camera
Objective Number 2: Increase the risk of getting caught
A- Guarding
B- Monitor
C- Reduce anonymity
D- Post a guarantor of the premises
E- Hire a supervisor

Buried Building Trash
Objective Number 3: Reduce the gain of the delinquent act
A- Conceal the target
B- Remove the target
C- Identify the properties
D- Disrupt markets
E- To deprive of the gains of the crime

Swiss Night Correspondents on patrol in a neighborhood
Objective Number 4: Prevent the justification of the act
A- Reduce frustration and stress
B- To avoid arguments
C- Reduce temptation and excitement
D- Neutralize peer pressure
E- Discourage imitation

Illustration image
Objective Number 5: Reduce provocation
A- Establish rules
B- Post instructions
C- Raise awareness
D- Assist in compliance
E- Control drugs and alcohol

Street lighting
Other cases of situational prevention:

Adaptation of the environment of the places in front of the insecurity
This requires adapted lighting with a strong intensity on the sidewalks, eliminating concealment points, controlling the vegetation so that it does not hide the premises, having a field of vision from the inside to the outside and vice versa in the entrance halls.

Blind facade
On the other hand, one should not create blind facades without windows, create zones that are too closed, have dense vegetation making places invisible, have dark places or have building entrances or public places invisible from the outside...

Public layout
L’accessibilité et la facilité de déplacements 
sur la voie publique
In urban planning, it is necessary to facilitate access to allow everyone to move around without being blocked by malicious individuals.
The goal, here again, is to create a principle of continuity of the public space to avoid a feeling of insecurity...
In the same way, in a secure environment, criminals must be dissuaded from entering with protection measures with free access zones, with invitation, secured or strictly reserved...

Here is a link to what cities are doing to protect their populations from the risk of terrorism:
  - English Version -

Shopping street in Toulouse in France
The sign of a presence
A clean, lighted, walkable area with regular police patrols creates an environment where people respect each other. Having open and pleasant places creates that reassuring feeling of being in a safe place.

Tagging on a wall
Tagging, littering, unkempt vegetation, broken street furniture... It's all about the "Broken Window" principle.

NYPD patrol cars in New York
The assurance of being arrested
There must be no lawless areas. Indeed, the offender acts in a comfort zone, that is to say that he knows that he has little risk of being arrested because he has close fallback zones: at his parents' or family's home, at friends' homes or in a place he knows such as basements or parking lots in his neighborhood.

Video surveillance center of a city
It is a question of dissuading him by providing him with an action that is too complicated to carry out the act of delinquency. It is necessary to group together a set of actions that will prevent this act, such as being seen by residents or surveillance cameras, being arrested by a police patrol, having difficulty breaking street furniture, being in controlled places with a human presence, such as a building janitor.

French Warning sign for video surveillance in buses
Clear and precise rules
Information allows better management of disturbances and conflicts. Knowing what to expect in the event of a judgment, following damage, rebellion or aggression. It is important that the rules are posted, as well as internal regulations in buildings, transport or public places.
It is also important to regularly update this information and to post them permanently if they have been removed or damaged.
You must not make people think that the place where you are is not subject to any rules...

Giant aperitif phenomenon, here in Place Royale in the center of Nantes in May 2010
Anticipating changes of use
of public places or objects
Some places can become fashionable or also places of gathering. For that, it is necessary to remain vigilant to these evolutions by adapting a visible presence to dissuade delinquency or drunkenness on the public road.

Gabions to delimit a zone
It is also important to ensure that the furniture is easy to clean, as well as robust in the face of a risk of being vandalized... For example, avoid installing gabions, which, once the metal rods have been cut, can be used, with the stones inside, as projectiles...

Understanding the logic of violence
By this way of understanding, social solutions, help but also adaptation of interventions of municipal correspondents or the Police can be implemented.
As under the link below on the attitude of violence among young people:


Nantes municipal police officers during the COVID period.
You can find, as an example, what the Nantes agglomeration in France has put in place with measures taken with its principle of ilotage and the "Maison de la Tranquilité Publique":
and of which situational prevention is a part
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