Gun crime literally means the use of firearms to threaten, inflict harm or the use of firearms to commit felonious deeds.  It is the category of violence or crime that is committed with the use of firearms (Lott, 1998). In the classical sense, gun crime may or may not include those actions that have been categorized as self defense, crimes that are intentional and are characterized as homicide and assault with deadly weapons including unintentional injuries that result from the misuse of firearms either by children or adolescence. It also include self inflicted gunshots wounds with regards to attempted suicide. Gun crime in major cities in Canada and more specifically in Toronto has dramatically increased in an alarming rate drawing concerns among both the citizens and the law enforcement authorities (Lott, 1998). Reports indicating that firearm related crimes have increased in the last decade has caused public outrage as more and more young people use firearms in violent crimes. This has led the law enforcing authority to find ways of reducing this alarming rate of gun violent crimes. It is with this regards that a number of scholars and ancient philosophers have come up with theories that have been considered to be the effective tools in crime prevention.

Rational Choice Theory of crime
The Rational Choice Theory  origin can be traced back to the 18th century with regards to the classical ideas of ancient philosophers (Morrison, 1995). The origin of this theory was inspired by the moral worth or the utilitarian philosophies of Locke and Hume. The central of this belief was the perception that human nature was predicted upon the search for pleasure while avoiding pain. The theory further explained that  the human actions was consequently organized around and the calculative strategies that are aimed at utility maximization. The essence of this theory also claims that the nature has placed mankind under the rule of sovereign powers pain and pleasure (Morrison, 1995).

It therefore clear that gun control cannot solve this problem alone but rather the real issue is what causes individuals to commit certain behaviors. This has been clear that it is important to understand the Rational Choice Theory of crime and its cognitive field. In criminology, the rational choice theory has adopted that the idea of the moral worth of an action is determined by its use in providing happiness. It is therefore believed that a human being is a reasoning being who ways means and ends, cost and benefits of action in order to make a rational decision. With regards to the Rational Choice Theory, situational crime prevention have continually excreted a considerable influence among the criminal justice policy makers and criminologists.

According to a number of criminal justice policy makers, the migration of Rational Choice Theory in to criminology has been considered as a major success. The RCT, in its cognitive field of study situational crime prevention  has led to positive influence on the crime prevention strategies and practices. Supporters of this field have also claimed that such strategies on violent crime prevention, either by use of firearms or other harmful weapons, have represented the most efficient, effective and cost friendly approach in combating crime issues in Canadas major cities. Crime prevention assumes a wide range of variety of activities with regards to the broad range of criminal behaviors (Sutherland, 1947). Gun crime prevention in Canada has been initiated by diverse group of entities ranging from law enforcement authorities, private and public groups or organizations and individuals. Traditionally, gun crime prevention in Canada was regarded as a domain that was largely for the law enforcing authorities. However, as a result of the increase in this crimes especially in major cities in Canada, both public and private entities have become aware that they should all come together to combat these felonious deeds of gun violence. In Canada today, there have been a strong emphasis on the community based prevention programs and public participation that is aimed at reducing gun crimes and violence in Canada.

Situational gun crime prevention in Canada
Situational crime prevention can range from common sense safety precautions to even comprehensive  community planning in order to reduce these criminal actions (Crocker, 2010). It seeks to focus on reducing crime opportunities rather than the characteristics of criminals and potential criminals. The situational crime prevention strategy is of dire importance especially in the major cities in Canada where gun crime have been on the rise in the recent decades as it increases the associated risks and difficulties to commit crime. With regards to situational gun crime prevention, it is of dire importance to acknowledge the convergence that has taken pace between the rational choice theory of the offending behaviors and a variety of related fields of theoretical and practical criminology realms (Trasler, 1986). Situational crime prevention  also involves the use of measures that is directed at highly specific forms of crime, like prevention of gun crime in Canada. It involves the management, design or even manipulation of the immediate environment in which these crimes occur in order to reduce the opportunities of such occurrence.

The aspect of a wider concept in which gun crime and violence occurs lies in the discussion of the Rational Choice Theory and  Situational Crime Prevention. It is hence a roll-out of the neo-liberal forms of governance and control with regards to gun crimes and violence which accompanies the culture and the resources of gun crime management. Increasingly prevalent across the spectrum of social life, these techniques of gun crime managerial and governance have been found to frequently incorporate the principle of rational calculation and interest maximization with regards to the causes of the criminal behavior among individual in the society. The result of this discussion   can be seen as it speaks out not not of the differences in both social and psychological behavior of humans, contradictions, alternative moralities and subject moralities but rather of a single, unquestionable rationality that sets itself up as the enemy of all forms of irrationality and criminal behavior in this case, gun crime (Lott, 1998).

However, the denial of  irrationality is much in evidence within the United Kingdom United States and Canadian criminal justice system that has featured from everything from local fear of the crime surveys to to institutional and probationary cognitive behavior programs that can be considered to be part of the social development programs that are meant to help in the gun crime prevention especially in Canada. It is also important to consider how attempts to include normal moral responsibilities within the gun crime offender population so as to serve to further de-pathologize and demoralize the offenders of gun crime and violence (Crocker, 2010).

The situational crime prevention strategies can therefore be considered as micro preventive crime strategies. In Canada, local authorities, businesses and the public have been encouraged to use practice deterrence in order to ensure that buildings, public spaces and people do not provide soft targets for gun criminals (Stenson, 2001). Great care is therefore placed on an increase physical security and more importantly high profile surveillance in both public and private places in order to combat and prevent gun crimes in Canada.

Traditionally, Rational Choice theorists believed that there was only a small number of determined, predisposed personalities who are willing to commit crimes especially gun crimes and violence as long as the have sufficient opportunities. However, today, the contemporary situational crime prevention theorists have preceded fro this stand point to a conclusion that we are all criminal. This aspect of irrationality have been considered to inculcate high managerial approach to preventive measures especially with regards to crime prevention in Canada.  In the realms of the public sphere, it has been considered that the criminogenic situation is also the norm rather than the exception and an inextricable part of the daily life (Trasler, 1986). It is therefore clear tat in Canada, as long as crime prevention theorists continue to prioritize both the rational choice theory and the situational crime prevention strategies over and above any concerns with the subjective experiences of the criminals, especially gun criminals in Canada, the usefulness to control the growing number of the expressive crimes of all sorts will inevitably be limited. On the other hand, the slow response of the situational crime prevention practitioners to the changing nature of the street gun crimes in Canada over the years will inhibit the reduction of gun crimes. However, as it has been proven by researchers, situational crime prevention can not be considered to have a quick response to crime prevention but it is rather a long term solution (Lott, 1998).

While the conservatives in Canada have traditionally worked on the law and order perspective, in 2006, both the liberals and the NDP also advocated getting tough on guns and gun crimes (Crocker, 2010). It is then clear that there are a variety of factors that go into an effective strategy on the reduction of illegal gun circulation, gun crimes and gangs in Canada. These strategies include control on guns and ammunition, enforcement of the existing laws, the need for new and effective. It is also important to have an effective implementation of border controls around Canada in order to prevent the importation of illegal guns. As a result of an increase in gun crimes in Canada, it is there for important for the country to amend the criminal code of Canada in order to let provinces and territories to ban handguns. Canada have also focused on including an amnesty program and a buy-back program so as to collect the existing illegal guns both within and without the cities (Morrison, 1995).

Taking into account the situational crime prevention strategies, the Canadian government have been in a position to establish gun stoppers program to provide rewards for  any information leading to the removal of the existing illegal firearms from the streets of the major cities in Canada. Gun crime prevention in Canada have also gone further with the re-introduction of some legislation to combat gun crime in Canada (Lott, 1998). The legislation to combat gun crime in Canada was meant to double the mandatory minimum sentences for the key gun crimes that includes trafficking and smuggling of firearms and the illegal possession of loaded firearms in public places. This legislation was introduced in 2006 during the Canadian federal elections (Morrison, 1995). As part of gun crime prevention, the Canadian government funded diversionary and skill development programs that would support the reduction in gun violence and gang activities. The rural community safety funds have been allocated to the diversionary programs for the purpose of crime prevention initiatives in smaller communities in Canada. Additional policing measures have also been put in place in order to create an advance community safety and rabid enforcement teams. It also includes increasing the number of graduating officers in order to increase intelligence and surveillance so as to prevent the flow of illegal fire arms in to Canada.

The Canadian legislation have also considered enacting a mandatory minimum prison sentences for the individuals in possession of loaded illegal or prohibited weapons like the handguns (Lott, 1998). Juveniles also in possession and those convicted of gun violent crimes are treated as adults and hence will face the same sentence. It is also imperative to note the the Canadian government have tightened the security at the Canadas border and have elevated the crack down on firearm smuggling into the country (Crocker, 2010). Ending gun registry is also another factor that can enable the Canadian government to com,bat gun crimes and violence. The funds that would have been used on gun registry could then be used to hire more law enforcement authorities across the country. Since the new gun registration program started in 1998, the homicide rates in Canada has raised dramatically while it cost has surged beyond 1- billion, the government then decided to end the program. This is because, the Canadian law enforcement authorities have admitted that they could not identify one single crime that have been solved through gun registration. It was therefore imperative for the government to end the registration of firearms (Hayward, 2007). An internationally recognized approach have been used by Canadian government, this approach is called the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and has been used by architects, planners, builders and police services with the aim of preventing gun crime in Canada. The Canada Mortgage and Housing in conjunction with the RCMP has included the program of the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design principles that is meant to explain how to combat all sorts of criminal offending behavior especially the gun crimes and violent through proper use of design, lighting, alarms and landscaping to maximize home security. It is also clear that in Canada, other projects which uses situational approaches to combat criminal activities like the police led neighborhood watch have not been successful in reducing victimization and gun crimes in the country.

Situational crime prevention through social developments in Canada
It has been noted that certain childhood experiences like child abuse, living in poverty, living in concentrated areas of the disadvantaged and inadequate parenting have been continually linked with high likelihood of criminal activity in the later life. It is with this regard therefore that the government of Canada have put in place measures that are meant for the social development of the youth. With this research, it was found that youth that have been through such experiences are considered to be at risk and most of them have been found to be repeatedly in trouble with the law and hence the need of effective social intervention. With regards to the social development programs, the government provided a number of hours a week. These hours were basically meant for the social activities among the youth that have been considered to be at risk in the most affected neighborhoods in Canada. This programs have been successful in most countries and therefore complimenting the same in Canada was found to reduce the Juvenile arrests and school expulsion as a result of improved social behavior. It is also imperative for the social workers in Canada to provide programs fro home visits in order to assist mothers and children tat are considered to be at risk. This is because mothers with efficient parenting skills help to reduce the children who would later turn to criminal activities in their later years. Moreover, as part of situational crime prevention strategies, the governments should also provide incentives for the youth in order for them to complete higher education as this will reduce poverty and reduces juvenile arrests. Universities and colleges in Canada should also be involved in the social development of  their younger counterparts by being role models in the society. It is also important fro the Canadian government to include the issue of armed domestic violence in both education and public awareness programs. This could be done by implementing national campaigns against gun crimes in order to help people understand and enforce their legal rights. This  will enable the law enforcement authority to reduce a number of crimes including gun crime and violence. Previous research showed that putting more police on the streets and risky neighborhoods and more incarceration of offenders is not an effective way of preventing gun crimes. It is then important that the police force in the streets are reduced and the  fund be diverted to situational crime prevention through social development programs. On the other hand, increasing prison sentences on crimes related to gun violence will enable the police and the entire society to reduce these offending behavior among criminals. Apart from the corrective measures, the police, courts and the correctional facilities should have important roles to play and there for should be used effectively with programs of social development with the aim of reducing gun crimes and violence. Traditionally, the police service have been considered to focus only on city wide patrols, responding to emergencies, investigation and arrests while the courts focus on the determining how quilt of the offenders and sentencing them. The correctional facilities on the other hand have been focusing in overseeing the offenders during their sentences. This therefore has been a clear indication that if these facilities can focus on rehabilitating the offenders, future crimes will be eliminated and therefore these facilities should consider engaging themselves and participating in social development programs aimed at reducing the number of incarceration.

Gun crime and violence prevention in Canada
As a result of the increase in gun crimes in the country, it is important to enlighten  the public on how to avoid and prevent these crimes. This is because a number of individual have underscored the implications of these measures. These measures includes tightening of firearm legislation. The security personnel and even private citizens should be encouraged to adopt strategies that are aimed at hardening targets of the gun crime offenders. It is also important for the government to set up programs hat are aimed at dealing with criming genetic socio conditions such as family counseling and anti-poverty programs. More over, as a result of the overwhelming increase in such crimes like gun crimes, parents and teachers or guardians should be enlightened on child development in order to enable them identify the psychological behavior of children as most scholars claim that poor child upbringing may lead to offending and criminal behaviors in their adult life. A number of typologies should be presented in the criminological literature so as to deal with the maze of crime and gun violent preventive programs or intervention. Moreover, a number of preventive approaches could include, punitive preventive or deterrence, corrective preventive or the elimination of the crimino social conditions among individuals and the mechanical prevention which includes setting up measures to reduce criminal opportunities through target hardening, architectural planning and increasing the surveillance level within and without the community. If all this issues is put in place, gun prevention in Canada would be a success. The research revealed that these popular programs failed to reduce the gun crime especially in the high risk areas of the major cities in Canada. Therefore, it is clear that the existing evidence should be taken in to significant consideration especially when investing time and money in situational crime prevention programs. Moreover, it is also imperative for the Canadian government to be able to know what works well in gun crime prevention as this will enable the law enforcers to improve the security of the individuals and neighborhoods that are vulnerable to gun crimes and violence. It is therefore clear that there should be a tremendous support from both the public and private sector to engage in social development as it is a fact that incarceration of criminals costs the tax-payer more to achieve a ten percent reduction in crime than it does by crime prevention through social developments.

It is undeniably clear that Canadians are focusing of violent crimes including gun crimes only when they are faced with such situations. This is when the government steps in pursuit of taking guns from the criminals. The problem is that the law abiding citizens obey the law and criminals dont. Therefore, sensitizing the criminal to return in licensed guns will not help reduce the gun crime in Canada but rather the cumulative responsibility of both the private and the public sector to deal with the issues of gun violence and crime. This can be done by increasing emphasis on situational crime prevention programs and taking into consideration the theories of Rational Choice (Mele, 1987). Both Rational Choice Theory and Situational Crime Prevention have been considered to be effective tools in gun crime prevention. The regulations concerning firearms like the gun registry that was introduced in Canada can also be a very effective tool of situational approach to gun crime prevention. While in many cases the situational crime prevention programs have been very successful in reducing certain forms of  of crime that are shallow-end, like shop lifting and burglary, it has also helped in preventing the would be violent gun criminals from this point as it it that most gun criminals graduate from novice offenses.


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