Concerning its scientific novelty, the social support theory attempts to find new links between the transmission of social capital and risk factors for crime. Its basic concept, social support, has been known long before the emergence of Cullen’s theory and used to study the factors impacting the sources of crime (Kort-Butler, 2017). The theory being discussed is among the first frameworks to regard the presence of social support as an individual factor capable of reducing the risks of criminal leanings (Cao, Burton, & Liu, 2018; Kort-Butler, 2017). Unlike the previously proposed theories of crime prevention, the theory of social support does not rely on conservative attitudes toward crime control, according to which the fear of punishment is central to obedience to the law. Thus, instead of seeing intimidation as a powerful strategy to reduce crime rates, the theory encourages specialists in crime prevention to closely communicate with high-risk groups and provide them with access to social support.
Even though the theory proposes a new vision of social support, the sources of its author’s inspiration are well-known. In his works dated 1994, Cullen notes that some of his theory’s components are aligned with the concept of social solidarity proposed by Durkheim and Hirschi’s social bond theory (Cao et al., 2018). Building on Hirschi’s assumptions about the importance of social bonds in adolescence, Cullen states that social support is predictive of a lower crime propensity in any age group (Cao et al., 2018; Peterson, Lee, Henninger, & Cubellis, 2016). Therefore, the social support theory presents a successful attempt to organize diverse theories and change priorities in the field of crime prevention.