5Is is an advanced framework for capturing, consolidating and sharing knowledge of good practice in crime prevention. It aims to improve performance, scope and delivery of that practice locally, nationally and internationally, enabling smarter responses with reduced resources. It is applicable to all of crime prevention, covering both situational and offender-oriented approaches, and service-like approaches as well as project-based ones. It has wider applicability e.g. for constituting the core schema underlying crime prevention education and training, guiding researchers on process evaluation, structuring and assessing bids for crime prevention action funding and managing and monitoring crime prevention projects. Beyond crime prevention it may be adaptable to practice areas such as public health or wider social innovation.
5Is is organised around a process model of crime prevention, covering five interlinked task streams:
Intelligence, Intervention, Implementation, Involvement and Impact.
Each task stream is further differentiated into detailed subsidiary tasks, organised using supplementary conceptual frameworks. For example, the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity framework supplies (for Intelligence) an integrated map of the immediate causes (and theories) of criminal events, and (for Intervention) a counterpart map of preventive principles/ mechanisms. And the CLAIMED process (for Involvement) addresses how to mobilise people and organisations to undertake crime prevention roles and tasks. 5Is also uses a standardised and carefully-designed set of terms and definitions of key concepts such as crime prevention, security and community safety. It has been expressly designed for knowledge management, with reference to an explicit specification of requirements.
5Is is deliberately more complex than alternative approaches to knowledge management in crime prevention. Its fundamental tenet is that trainers, programme managers and researchers have grossly over-simplified the guidance they give to practitioners on the mistaken assumption that practitioners do not want, and cannot handle, anything more sophisticated. By contrast, 5Is is based on the axiom that in order to help practitioners address a real-world domain that is messy and complex in itself (as practitioners know in their every working day), the frameworks they are given as tools for thinking and communication should themselves be more subtle and sophisticated. In parallel with leading designer Donald Norman, 5Is follows the principle of ‘appropriate complexity.
The framework is also designed to be flexible and adaptive, able to describe the complex ‘stories’ of crime prevention activity in a way that helps practitioners formulate and clarify their own problems, select appropriate action to emulate, and either replicate this action intelligently customised to context or innovate based on first principles. The vision is of practitioners who are more like consultants and less like technicians with limited diagnostic and response repertoires.
A basic introductory guide to 5Is is here – needs updating.