The chapters in this volume represent a first attempt to identify the philo­ sophical and theoretical roots of situational crime prevention theory as they may be found in past and present works of social science and social theory. This means that some of the chapters cover particular aspects of philosophy, such as the concepts of utility and rationality, as well as the more modem aspects of social theory, such as rational choice and motivation. Some would hold that all concepts in social science and social theory necessarily arose out of older philosophical ideas, often assumed to be less sophisti­ cated than their modem counterparts. Whether this is so, thankfully, is not a topic for this book to answer. However, we have skirted close to the issue, by including a chapter (Chapter 7, by Marongiu and Newman) that ad­ dresses the origins of utilitarian thought, a philosophical and theoretical concept which some of the chapters (and critics of situational crime preven­ tion) suggest distinguishes situational crime prevention from other ‘modem’ theories of crime causation. The majority of the chapters examine situational crime prevention as a

theory of the late 20th century, and attempt to identify its essential theoreti­ cal premises, philosophical significance and, in some cases, political or moral implications. While each is an independent chapter, standing on its own ideas and constructs, this introduction seeks to identify a number of themes and issues that are common to all chapters, or most chapters, de­ pending on their chosen topic.