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Anticipating Instead of Preventing: Using the Potential of Crime Risk Assessment in Order To Minimize the Risk of Organized and Other Types of Crimes

NCJ Number
Seppo Leppa
Date Published
29 pages
This paper examines the use of crime risk assessments (CRAs) similar to environmental impact statements in terms of assessing proposed transnational law reforms with respect to their anticipated effects on organized crime prevention and other crime prevention in Europe; it also uses three case studies to test the applicability of the CRA process.
The usual forms of crime prevention are rarely relevant for organized crime and other types of modern crime aimed at making a financial profit. An alternative approach to crime prevention is to anticipate the nature and seriousness of potential crime risks during the process of drafting any national or transnational legislative instrument dealing with financial matters. Some of the risk categories include money laundering, corruption, criminal infiltration of legitimate businesses, and falsification of documents. An approach similar to the Environmental Impact Assessment widely used in environmental planning and policy is a possible methodological tool for anticipating crime risks. The CRA should examine the law reform's objectives, specify its crime risks, present baseline data, assess the weight of the adverse impacts, develop methods of mitigating the problem, and merging the CRA conclusions with the text of the law reform before making a final decision. Three examples of the use of such an instrument are (1) the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, (2) the European Community directives on public procurement, and (3) the draft treaty called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Findings of these case studies indicate that the crime risk aspect deserves serious attention when planning a law reform and that the legislation should incorporate an early-awareness perspective. Footnotes, appended information on environmental impact assessments, and 44 references