Crime prevention can be defined as any action that discourages criminal or unlawful behavior. Efforts to deter crime can be performed by the government, communities, and individuals with a goal to stop crime in its tracks before it can happen. The community can unite together and form neighborhood watch committees in which they act as the eyes and ears of the police department and can help reduce crime. Citizens can also secure their homes with dead locks and keep their personal vehicles locked and keep items of value out of sight. When we work together as a community we can deter the crime in our neighborhoods, but together we can only do so much. More importantly is how our criminal justice agencies relate to the area of preventing crime.
Crime prevention is a lot more than just locking the doors. Our agencies use many different methods to control and reduce the amount of crime in society.
Local law enforcement, courts, and correctional facilities unite together and use different methods including but not limited to outreach programs, rehabilitation centers, probation and parole, incarceration, and fines to deter thugs from being a menace to society.
The outreach programs are in very high demand and are used as a bridge between the FBI and the community. The local FBI offices coordinate different programs that benefit the citizens of their community such as: community fingerprinting program, stranger danger campaign, internet safety, and school partnership programs such as DARE, SWAT, and PCE. The fingerprinting program branches out reaches out to parents by offering the service at schools, daycares, malls, fairs, and malls. By creating identification sheets that include updated information on the child, including a current picture and fingerprints we are aiding the parent in preparing for an emergency. Officers also team up with schools and educate children in the new trends that are hot in their school such as bullying, drugs, and kidnapping. These officers work with children and they build a bond and an internal trust that will stay with them. Bridging the gap with the police agency and our youth is imperative to a better tomorrow. As corny as that may sound, when a child is taught that police are to be viewed as helpful and someone they can turn to, the chances that they will trust the law and call on these law fighting officials in an emergency are greater. By making the children aware of the trends and issues in school and how the act can affect them personally and their friends we are able to deter their behavior from bad to good.
Our courts also believe that to deter crime is to remove it or punish the offender in hopes they will not act out unlawfully again in the future. Ways that our criminal justice system does this is by use of fines up to thousands of dollars, community service, house arrest, and incarceration. It is believed that when an offender is punished the behavior is no longer a thrill for them. Kind of like when a parent grounds a child for disobeying and breaking the law of the home. The punishment is used as a means to stop the behavior from continuing.
Rehabilitation is a means to change the offender and remold them into a character that is safe to be released into society. Many of the offenders that enter this program are low risk. They are given a second chance and often times are able to find their place in society. The government offers counseling and treatments that restructure the individual. Much time is spent in defining the characteristics in the offender that may have caused him to act out and be harmful to society in the first place.
Crime prevention is not only a means to stop crime, but it is also used as a means to build trust in the community. Community policing and the many programs such as the weed and seed, and the McGruff Programs facilitate in communication efforts between citizens and law enforcement that ultimately strengthen communities and make the streets safer. Citizens believe that it is really up to police agencies and the government to keep the cities safer, rather than take it upon them selves. Community policing is viewed as, “a philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes of crime, to reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and community-police partnerships.” By enhancing the communication and increasing the involvement of the law abiding citizens with the police agencies we will see rapid reduction in crime and the ultimate goal of a safer community will have been reached. Crime prevention is the key to change and bridging the gap among the people our criminal justice agencies serve. When our agencies are able to reduce the crime they are able to reduce the fear of the people towards crime and they build the belief that we are all important factors in preventing crime.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (n.d.). Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Retrieved May 24, 2014, from http://www.unodc.org/lpo-brazil/en/crime/index.html
Plant, J., & Scott, M. (n.d.). Effective Policing and Crime Prevention. . Retrieved May 25, 2014, from http://www.popcenter.org/library/reading/pdfs/mayorsguide.pdf
Lea, J. (2007, January 1). Crime Prevention and Community Safety. Crime Prevention and Community Safety. Retrieved May 26, 2014, from http://www.bunker8.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/cjs/269010.htm