Crime as a Cascade Phenomenon

67 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019

See all articles by John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet)

Date Written: February 27, 2019


Braithwaite and D’Costa’s (2018) Cascades of Violence deploys South Asian data to conclude that war tends to cascade across space and time to further war, crime to further crime, war to crime, and crime to war. This article sketches why it is analytically fertile to view crime as a cascade phenomenon. Once we see crime through the cascade lens, we can imagine how to more effectively cascade crime prevention. Like crime, crime prevention often cascades. Braithwaite and D’Costa (2018) show how peacemaking can cascade nonviolence, how it cascades nonviolent social movement politics, and vice versa. Seeing crime through the cascade lens opens up fertile ways of imagining a macrocriminology of crime control. Self-efficacy and collective efficacy are hypothesized as catalysts of crime prevention cascades in such a macrocriminology. Alcoholics Anonymous is one model for how to institutionalize the scaling up of cascades of prevention. Other movements for building recovery capital such as the social movement for restorative justice might follow the AA lead, rejigging their strategies toward institutionalizing the scaling up of self-efficacy into collective efficacy that prevents cascades of crime. Australian successes with gun control and drunk driving point to the importance of explicitly connecting evidence-based microcriminology to a macrocriminology of cultural transformation. More structurally, building collective efficacy in families, schools and primary work groups may cascade collective efficacy into neighborhoods and vice versa.

Keywords: Crime, Cascade, War

Suggested Citation

Braithwaite, John, Crime as a Cascade Phenomenon (February 27, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

John Braithwaite (Contact Author)

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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