Journal of the Kuala Lumpur Royal Malaysia Police College, No. 3, 2004
CRIME PREVENTION
DCP Walter J. Rugbere1
INTRODUCTION
I intend to approach this topic from an underlying philosophical impulse,
which I have found useful as a springboard for take-off, each time there is
an opportunity to examine the issue of crime prevention. It is my view that
the legitimacy and authority of the state over the people can be sustained
only to the extent it can guarantee the security of life and property of the
citizens. In a crime-prone society, only those with might survive. The
weak are left at the mercy of the strong; and in the words of Thomas
Hobbes, their life will become brutish and short. The oppressed class of
the society will withdraw loyalty and commitment to the state. And for as
long as they remain endangered species in the state, so will they continue
doing all it takes to fight for their well-deserved existence, and the
livelihood to sustain it.
AIM AND SCOPE
This paper has the main aim of discussing the role of the Nigeria Police in
crime prevention in Nigeria. To achieve this, the scope will cover the
following;
i. Crime and Causative factors;
ii. The Nigeria Police Crime Prevention Methodology;
iii. Police Operational Constraints;
iv. A forward look at 2010, and
v. Conclusion.
WHAT IS CRIME
There is no precise and complete definition of crime in view of the many
perspectives to the phenomenon. For instance, Cross and Jones look at
crime from a legalistic angle and state that:
?Crime is a legal wrong, the remedy for which is the punishment of
the offender, at the instance of the state.?
Justice Fakayode, retired Chief Justice of Oyo State of Nigeria,
trailing the legalistic path, dissects crime in its component parts by stating
that crime:
1 Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Nigeria Police Force.
2 Crime Prevention
Journal of the Kuala Lumpur Royal Malaysia Police College, No. 3, 2004
i. is an act or omission;
ii. proscribed by the state; and
iii. has a punishment for its occurrence.2
Section 2 of the Criminal Code Act of Nigeria defines a crime or
offence as;
"An act or omission which renders the person doing the act or
making the omission liable to punishment " 3
A similar provision is provided in Section 3 of the Penal Code.4
And from a sociological perspective, crime is a form of deviance,
and therefore a social problem in any society. Fuller and Myers categorized
social problem as:
?A condition, which is defined by a considerable number of persons
as a deviation from social norm (rules of conduct) which they
cherish?5
Sheila Balkan (et al), defines deviance as-
?A behaviour that differs from the normal or acceptable standards of
a society?s statistical majority.?6
Sheila Balkan further observes that-
?The designation of behaviour as a crime, a special case of the
more comprehensive category of deviance, indicates that the
behaviour is formally defined as illegal through the codification of
laws which are assumed to embody the societal consensus?7
Elmer H. Johnson therefore sees the policeman as:
?A formal control agent, who has been assigned the duty of
consciously enforcing deliberately formulated criminal laws, and
that his enforcement activity involves clear-cut event (such as an
arrest) which stand out from the daily routine of life?
Therefore, the concept of crime implies:
i. Existing norms or rules of conducts established through
societal consensus.
2 See Justice E. O. Fakayode, The Nigerian Criminal Code Companion, (Benin ? Nigeria:
Ethiope Publishing Corporation, 1985), p.2
3 Criminal Code Act (CAP 77) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, p.3
4 Penal Code Cap 345 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, p.3
5 Richard C. Fuller and Richard R. Myers, ?The Natural History of a Social Problem? cited in
Elmer H. Johnson, Illinois: the Dorsery Press, 1973), p.3
6 Sheila Balkan (et al), Crime and Deviance in America: A Critical Approach, Belmont.
7 Ibid
DCP Walter J. Rugbere 3
Journal of the Kuala Lumpur Royal Malaysia Police College, No. 3, 2004
ii. Codification of such rules in the form of criminal laws.
iii. A deviation from the rules or violation of the laws.
iv. Prescription of sanctions or punishment
v. Establishment of agencies of formal controls like the police
force to perform regulatory functions.
CAUSES OF CRIME
There are several studies and correspondingly many schools of thought on
the causes of crime in the society. Some of these causative factors which I
refer to as foundations of crime, are summarized below:
i. Biological Foundation
Prominent advocates of this school are Cesare Lombroso and
Enrico Ferri, and have argued that criminals are biologically inferior
individuals (salvages and apes), insensitive to pain, excessively idle,
lovers of orgies, with an irresistible craving for evil for its own sake.
Criminality to them is characteristic of people at primitive stages of
biological evolution, who are overly indulgent of