n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - A systems approach to community crime prevention

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In the business environment the "systems theory" is widely used as an analytical tool. A system typically has an input, process and output. In this article it is argued that individuals in our society are processed by the primary structures, such as the family and schools, in the community. A business has a preferred state, namely to make a profit while the community has a preference for order and stability. Contingencies may arise that put the business at risk and likewise incidents may occur in the lives of individuals that may put them and consequently, the community, at risk. The family represents the primary agent for the socialisation of children. The family is expected to teach social roles, moral standards and society's laws to children as well as to discipline those children who fail to comply with such norms and values. It is the input that children receive and the way they are processed by society that determine what sort of people they eventually become. The systems approach presents us with an analytical tool to determine where the system is failing and enables us to introduce remedial actions. A community support centre is proposed to assist with problem identification, professional analysis and support. Indeed, crime prevention is a community responsibility and through this article some theoretical considerations are converted to empirical application.


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