By Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D.
While it is obviously best to prevent or deter crime before it occurs, this is not always possible. Despite the fact that modern policing tactics, such as problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing, have contributed to massive crime decreases since the 1990s, agencies still have to grapple with the challenge of solving crimes that cannot be prevented.
When criminal offenders avoid detection and punishment, it signals to the rest of society that the justice system is impotent and may encourage future offending. This applies not only to the most heinous crimes such as homicide and rape but also applies to violations of people’s fundamental sense of security in cases of burglary and robbery.