Losing Control: Regulating Situational Crime Prevention in Mass Private Space


In this article the author puts forth an approach to regulating Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) (i.e. steps to preemptively eliminate or reduce crime, such as preemptive exclusion and closed circuit TV monitoring in Mass Private Space (i.e. private property that has characteristics normally associated with public spaces, such as a large shopping mall).

It has become increasingly common for owners of mass private space to employ SCP techniques such as close circuit television monitoring, exclusion of persons based upon behavior or risk factors and limits on attire, such as colors associated with gangs. While there has been a lively scholarly debate in this area, the primary literature provides fixed substantive solutions to the problem, which overlook the process by which such regulation is formulated as well as the variations among private spaces and their relationship to the community. The instant article, rather than simply seeking to come up with another place in which to draw the line between permissible and impermissible SCP techniques, puts forth a proposed structure by which regulation of SCP can be formulated. This proposal recognizes that not all mass private property is the same, particularly in regard to the role that mass private property plays in a given community. As such, the present article posits two main themes: 1) There is no one size fits all solution to the problem as to what steps the owner of a mall or similar property should be able to implement; rather what a given mass private property owner should or should not be able to do will depend on the unique characteristics of the property in question and the role it plays in the locale in which it is located; 2) the primary authority for regulating SCP in mass private space should reside in the representatives of the community in which the property is located, such as a city council.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Human Rights Law | Land Use Law | Law and Society | Property Law and Real Estate

Date of this Version

September 2006