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Risky Reports: Crime Risk Assessments and Spatial Governance

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Critical Criminology

Published online on


The identification, assessment, and minimization of crime risk has permeated practices that extend well beyond traditional criminal justice responses. This article analyses crime risk assessment reports and the guidelines and processes through which they are produced for large-scale commercial and residential developments and redevelopments, taking New South Wales Australia as a case study. The article suggests that although the crime risk assessment guidelines and reports deploy a language of risk, there is a messiness and inconsistency to the crime risk assessment process that raises significant questions its normative utility. The article concludes that the language and promise of risk minimisation can silence or ‘black box’ what appear to be coherent regulatory process making them little more than symbolic gestures.