The folks at Behavioural Science Aotearoa (BSA) do amazing work applying Behavioural Insights to crime reduction. For one great example, you can see their lightning talk at BIG Difference BC 2022, which covered their project working with Māori wardens to reduce arrest warrants. BSA’s Dr. Matthew Davies has recently co-authored an article reflecting on the challenges and opportunities in using BI to reduce crime: “Reflections on applying behavioural insights to crime: a guide for behavioural scientists and criminologists in search of policy unicorns“.
Here’s more from authors Matthew Davies and Simon Ruda:
Behavioural science has made significant contributions to public policy over the last decade from tax compliance to pensions and energy use. However, behavioural insights (BI) have not yet been able to claim significant policy shifts in the area of crime, despite increasing interest and experimentation. This paper offers a critical reflection on the state of BI and crime from the perspective of those who have been at the forefront of this work since the inception of the world’s first behavioural science team in government. We outline how existing theories of crime have already laid foundations for the successful application of BI but identify opportunities to build on these with tools from behavioural science. We conclude by examining how continued cross-pollination of ideas between BI and disciplines such as applied criminology points to promising directions for future research.