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Crime prevention

Crime prevention includes all the activities that contribute to halting or reducing crime as a social phenomenon. These activities are undertaken by all the actors that are likely to play a preventive role: local politicians, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system, social services, the education system, civil society organisations, industry, banks, the private sector, research workers and scientists and the general public, supported by the media.

A local approach for better results

Crime prevention by nature requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Hence, numerous national policies contribute to crime prevention: criminal law, social policy, education, town planning, taxation, etc. With regard to general crime, most effective preventive action should take place as close as possible to the grassroots level. This is reflected by the emergence of multiple local initiatives, "community policing" practices, which involve the police forces, businesses, associations and citizens.

Supporting measures

So far, EU States have had primary responsibility for crime prevention matters. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (Art. 84 TFEU), the EU now has the possibility to establish measures to promote and support EU States' actions in this field.

The EU focuses on facilitating exchanges of experience and best practices to ensure better prosecution and confiscation of proceeds of crime, to mitigate factors which encourage crime and recidivism or which put a person in a vulnerable situation and to prevent corruption as well as criminal infiltration of the economy and society. In addition, the EU has started to introduce, on a systematic basis, solid preventive provisions in its flagship initiatives, ranging from anti-drugs policy to cybercrime, trafficking in human beings and child pornography.

European Network

Since 2001, the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) has offered an EU-wide platform for exchanging best practices, research and information on different aspects of local crime prevention. Although covering all types of criminality, the Network pays particular attention to the fields of juvenile, urban and drug-related crimes.

In 2009, an evaluation pdf - 928 KB [928 KB] of the Network identified certain shortcomings, as a number of EU States had been rather passive and the Commission had not treated crime prevention as a priority. This led to the strengthening of the Network, in particular through enhanced participation of the national representatives (Council Decision 2009/902/JHA replacing Decision 2001/427/JHA ). A new evaluation of the functioning of the EUCPN is foreseen for 2012. A legislative proposal on the establishment of an Observatory for the Prevention of Crime (OPC) could be put forward in 2013.


The Programme for the Prevention of and Fight against Crime (ISEC) allocated an action grant of EUR 750 000 to Belgium, which is now hosting the professional secretariat of EUCPN and will further develop the Network. In addition, ISEC is funding a wide range of smaller crime prevention projects. Other crime prevention activities can be supported by a number of EU financial instruments, such as the Daphne III Programme, the 7th Framework Research Programme, structural funds and other programmes related to integration and education.

Additional tools


Trafficking in human beings

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or reception of persons, including the exchange or transfer ...


Specific Programme "Prevention of and Fight against Crime" (ISEC)

This programme contributes to citizens' security by preventing and combating crime, in particular terrorism...



Offences against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems (illegal access and ...


Criminal proceeds

Any economic advantage from criminal offences. It may consist of any form of property, whether corporeal or ...



The abuse of power for private gain (in both the public and the private sector).



A penalty or measure, ordered by a court following proceedings in relation to a criminal offence or criminal offences ...


Community policing practices

A partnership-based, collaborative effort between the police and the community to more effectively and efficiently ...



Every human being below the age of eighteen years, unless majority is attained earlier under the law applicable...