The effect of the 'code of the street' on violence: challenges for prevention

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    The paper investigates the extent to which street violence in the United Kingdom can be explained by a 'code of the street' of the kind described by Anderson in his classic study of crime in the inner-city suburbs of Philadelphia. It draws on research conducted by the authors as part of an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) project on violent street crime. The accounts of individual offences committed by over 100 street offenders indicate behaviour consistent with the idea of a behavioural code. In particular, offenders described the need to punish disrespect, to express violence overtly to avoid victimisation, to show self-reliance in resolving disputes and to maintain a frightening and formidable reputation. The implications of the existence of such a code for crime prevention are discussed. The study concludes that traditional methods of prevention based on surveillance and technology might be limited and something might be gained by looking at more innovative social and cultural approaches.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83 - 94
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers and Technology
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2011


    • code of the street
    • violence
    • prevention


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