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Crime Prevention within Metro Systems

Article for The European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, vol. 4.4,
by Drs. Manuel J.J. López, Result Crime Management, december 1996


The subject of crime and crime prevention within metro systems has gained increased attention in recent years. This may be no surprise, since criminal damages (in direct financial losses, repair costs, security measures, and loss of passenger revenue) often exceed the millions. More and more metro companies have started to look for cost-efficient solutions to counter the threats of crime and provide passengers with a higher standard of service. In their efforts to combat crime and insecurity metro companies and security experts have, however, been handicaped by the limited availability of theoretical knowledge on this subject. There have been studies on the possibilities to tackle single crime problems within the metro (Gaylord & Lester 1994, Sloan-Howitt & Kelling 1990), studies on crime control in individual metro systems (Gaylord & Galliher 1991, Webb & Laycock 1992), and studies on the effectiveness of individual measures (Clarke 1993, Eastman & Yuan 1994). What has been missing, however, is comparative research that provides insight into the factors that influence criminal opportunity within metro systems and a publication that offers a complete instruction on how to build and manage a system that limits the opportunity for crime to the extent possible. To meet this need an international comparative study was started among twelve metro systems in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States which has recently resulted in the publication of a book. This article provides a summary of the book and gives an overview of the main conclusions.

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