Combining State and Community-led Approaches: The Future for Crime Prevention in Nigeria
Both El Salvador and Nigeria practise community-based crime prevention, but in different contexts. The two countries present a wide variation in structure and outcomes of these Community-based Crime Prevention (CBCP) projects and practices. This Policy Brief uses studies by the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and FundaUngo, El Salvador to explain how contextual variables such as trust, willingness to act together and social ties define, influence and condition CBCP outcomes in the two countries in their efforts to tackle crime.
The strength of social ties explains why communities in Nigeria are willing to act collectively, while communities in El Salvador rely on strong state presence in the face of severe crime situations. However, willingness to act together does not translate to significant reduction in perception of insecurity in Nigeria.
Where there is a high level of trust in crime prevention institutions amidst weak social ties, state-led crime prevention initiatives may provide a better option as evident in El Salvador. Therefore, the future of crime prevention in Nigeria could also be a system that combines community-driven and state-led approaches to crime prevention.
- Community attributes such as level of trust, willingness to act together and social ties should be considered when deciding which approach to community crime prevention to adopt.
- High levels of willingness to act, social ties and civic participation are common features of CBCP in Nigeria. However, it may be impossible for communities to deploy these resources if crime severity rises sharply and overwhelms their capacity to handle the situation. Therefore, state capacity to prevent crime should be proactively enhanced to forestall this possible occurrence and to maintain the effectiveness of the CBCP practices.
- The future of crime prevention in Nigeria could be a system that integrates community and state-led strengths. Nigeria should consider adopting community-based national crime prevention projects as adopted in El Salvador. High level of trust in community security initiatives will provide the structure for the national crime prevention projects.
Other ELLA knowledge materials relating to Community-based Crime Prevention:
GUIDES AND BRIEFS