Theory for crime prevention

Authored by: Nick Tilley , Aiden Sidebottom

Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138851054
eBook ISBN: 9781315724393
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315724393.ch1

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Abstract

‘Theory’ will be used in this chapter to refer to any set of ideas on which we might act or interpret the world. We follow Karl Popper in this, who went so far as to argue that biological organisms have built-in theories setting expectations and informing behaviours. If expectations and consequential behaviours are too far off the mark, the biological organism perishes. In contrast to other organisms, human beings can, ‘allow hypotheses to die in their stead’ (Popper, 1972, p. 244). By this Popper means that we can invent, critically discuss and test our hypotheses empirically in advance of putting ourselves at stake by acting on them.

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