How does 5Is relate to SARA, POP and the Crime Triangle?

5Is and SARA – along with other models of the Preventive Process such as CAPRA –  originated from action-research approaches developed, for example, by Kurt Lewin, Donald Campbell and Leslie Wilkins.

What do 5Is and SARA have in common?

The 5Is task streams of Intelligence, Intervention, Implementation, Involvement and Impact map quite closely onto the counterpart steps of SARA: Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment. The two frameworks are readily linked: ‘Scanning and Analysis for Intelligence’; ‘Response through Intervention, Implementation and Involvement’; and ‘Assessment for Impact evaluation’. A diagram is here.

As stated here SARA appears more action-oriented and 5Is more knowledge-oriented, but this is a matter of language – either framework can switch discourse from task to product of task. 

Are the frameworks compatible?

The two frameworks are in effect ‘interoperable’. Any description of practice written in SARA terms can readily be understood in 5Is terms and vice-versa. But there’s little detailed structure to unlearn from SARA when transferring to 5Is.

What are the differences between 5Is and SARA?

The obvious differences between the frameworks are first, the pooling of SARA’s Scanning and Analysis tasks under Intelligence; and second, the division of the amorphous Response stage of SARA into three distinct tasks within 5Is.

The first appears to gloss over a valuable practical distinction but in fact the Scanning-Analysis divide is preserved under the subsidiary tasks of Intelligence, as the Master Headings of 5Is reveal.

The second is a deeper difference, reflecting the aspiration of 5Is to handle the richness of preventive action. Involvement appears implicitly within more recent formulations of SARA’s companion model of causes and interventions, the Crime Triangle or Problem Analysis Triangle.   Each of the intervention points (target, offender, location) has a counterpart ‘crime preventer’ role (guardian, handler, place manager). However, these are limited in scope, depth and flexibility. A welcome addition to the Crime Triangle, however, is the concept of ‘super-controller’ – the people who influence the immediate preventers. (Note that the inner triangle of Offender, Place and Target/Victim is functionally equivalent to the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity; the outer triangle of Handlers, Managers and Guardians also come under CCO as Crime Preventers and Crime Promoters.)

But there are further differences between the frameworks. This partly stems from the greater, progressive detail of 5Is designed to make it fit for handling the messiness and richness of knowledge for crime prevention practice in a flexible, structured and retrievable way. (Dividing ‘Response’ into three aspects is only the start of this, as the diagram here illustrates.) But it partly also follows from functional scope: 5Is aims to meet the knowledge requirements of a range of approaches beyond purely problem-oriented ones and/or situational crime prevention.

The detailed and extended coverage of descriptions of preventive action supported by 5Is is intended to facilitate the systematic capture and transfer of knowledge on the wide range of activities that are necessary for successful replication. In particular it should help articulate tacit knowledge. In a biological analogy, 5Is doesn’t aim to capture just the DNA of the interventions at the heart of preventive action, but the whole ‘body preventive’ – the metabolism, physiology and anatomy of the action which are needed to replicate and realise the intervention against fresh problems and in fresh contexts.

It’s fair to say that SARA brought to the practice world the systematic analysis of the crime problem, the importance of a problem-appropriate response, and evaluation. And 5Is, in building upon SARA, brings systematic and detailed analysis and design of Intervention, Implementation and Involvement options too. SARA has mastered the art of the simple, but 5Is has a ‘variable geometry’ which can enable those practitioners and researchers who wish to progress from the simple to the complex.

How does 5Is relate to CAPRA?

A functional equivalent to SARA is CAPRA, introduced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Clients Acquiring and analysing information, Partnership, Response, and Assessment. In distinguishing between Partnership and Response, this begins to differentiate action but the Involvement task of 5Is, where partnership knowledge is located, is more generic and inclusive. The Clients aspect of CAPRA is an important element not explicitly seen in SARA, which reflects the initiation of preventive action by various stakeholders. 5Is acknowledges the importance of this task and covers it explicitly, as ‘Demand’.


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