The deflecting of offenders is closely linked to access control. Essentially, it takes two forms:
- The deflection of offenders away from potential targets; and
- The deflection of offenders to more constructive activities or to less serious offences.
One of the most common examples of the former is the policing of football matches, where rival football supporters are segregated in the stadium and often separated on their route to and from the ground. Another example is the provision of late-night buses from city centres where the aim is to take (usually drunk) people out of city centres where they might be tempted to offend.
The second type of deflection involves providing more constructive alternatives to offending. One of the most common examples is the provision of graffiti boards which, it is hoped, will lead to offenders using them rather than walls. Deflection may also involve attempting to make some offenders commit less serious offences. One example is the opening of 'red light' areas in which police tolerate (and regulate) prostitution, thus preventing prostitutes and their clients from congregating in more 'respectable neighbourhoods'.