Nationales Zentrum Kriminalprävention (NZK) /
National Center For Crime Prevention
The German National Center for Crime Prevention (NZK) is a newly established research institution for evidence based practices in crime prevention. It prepares systematic reviews and research synthesis for selected crime prevention approaches and crime problems, such as sexual offender treatment, young multiple offender rehabilitation and prevention of violent extremism. As a knowledge broker one of its objectives is to translate research evidence into policy relevant information. Whenever possible this includes information about the effectiveness of crime prevention programs. Although this kind of research evidence often is of particular interest to policy makers, methodologically sound impact evaluations in Germany are scarce. In absence of better data, German decision makers in crime prevention often have to rely on whatever “evidence” is available. In order to avoid biased interpretation of weak evaluation results the NZK develops a web-based register for research results on crime prevention (following the example of similar tools, such as the Crime Reduction Toolkit). It includes an easy-to-read metric that shows to what extent the results of evaluation studies are backed up by empirical evidence.
Next to the dissemination of research results the NZK also carries out evaluation research in particular in areas that lack impact evaluation. One such area is the prevention and countering of violent extremisms (CVE) where our understanding about the impact of preventive programs and measures is still very limited despite the massive expansion of programs in many countries.
Evidence based practices are well established in the health sector and many countries have adopted this paradigm in the area of crime prevention, policing and social policy in general. In Germany it is a rather emerging trend. The Crime Prevention Council of Lower Saxony (LPR), the German Congress on Crime Prevention (DPT) and the German Forum for Crime Prevention (DFK) are early pioneers and advocates of this idea. As the result of a national expert dialogue in 2012, the German Federal Chancellery decided to establish a National Center for Crime Prevention, which opened in Bonn January 2016. The NZK is funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and is organized as a research unit within the DFK. A steering commission and an advisory board agree on the NZK research agenda. The center is made up by a team of 6 researchers with interdisciplinary backgrounds in criminology, forensic psychology, political science and education.