The Problem with Crime Problem-Solving: Towards a Second Generation Pop?

Problem-orienting policing aims to “change the conditions that give rise to recurring crime problems” and has become a popular model for analysing crime. To be successful, however, problem-oriented policing approaches need to take account of, the wider network of issues within which a crime problem and potential solutions are embedded.


In his 2018 Stockholm prize winner lecture, Goldstein highlighted the need for problem-oriented policing (POP) to be not only effective but also fair. Contributing to the development of POP, this study examines how a wider perspective on problem-solving generally, and scoping in particular, can be adopted to address some of the growing challenges in 21st century policing. We demonstrate that the concept of ‘problem’ was too narrowly defined and that, as a result, many problem-solving models found in criminology are ill-structured to minimize the negative side-effects of interventions and deliver broader benefits. Problem-solving concepts and models are compared across disciplines and recommendations are made to improve POP, drawing on examples in architecture, conservation science, industrial ecology and ethics.

Citation & Link to journal full text

Borrion, H., Ekblom, P., Alrajeh, D., Borrion, A. L., Keane, A., Koch, D., … Toubaline, S. (2019). The Problem with Crime Problem-Solving: Towards a Second Generation Pop? The British Journal of Criminology.