No individual, community, or business is ever 100 percent immune to crime; however, a lot can be done to alleviate crime once people become aware of crime patterns, targets, and motives. Statistics show that after a systematic review of hot spots and areas where crime was rampant was made by officers, theft went down by 10%. This article will provide you with tips and strategies on crime prevention.
|SEE ALSO: Victims of Crime|
Situational Crime Prevention
Situational Crime happens when the surrounding areas of criminals are ‘too easy’ to operate in, making crime a habitual process for them. Homes that lack adequate theft barriers, schools and businesses that don’t maintain proper security, and neighborhoods that fail to implement a crime watch are more prone to habitual crime. Situational crime prevention means limiting the means and opportunities of crime activity by making the immediate environment hard for criminals to penetrate. When neighborhoods heighten crime watch and make it known that they do – such as putting up neighborhood crime watch signs – this deters criminals from acting. Shops and businesses that have 24-hour security will experience less crime than those that don’t.
When crime really gets out of hand, what does the government do about it? This question has been asked for years and members of the government have addressed it by creating programs that educate and raise awareness about crime issues and crime prevention throughout the United States. Since the inception of these programs, many communities and individuals from crime-rampant areas who attended the programs felt safer and more equipped to handle and thwart criminal activity and also noticed a marked reduction in crime in their environment. Through unity and education from the programs and the participation of community members, the combined effort proves that knowing is half the battle and affirmative action follows.
Programs in Action
The BAIT Car Program was started in 2004 and greatly reduced the crime of auto theft. A bait car is a set-up vehicle, sort of like a decoy, owned by the authorities and the objective is for it to be stolen. The car or truck is placed in a high crime area and remains there for a day or weeks if necessary. Many auto thieves take the ‘bait’ car and police are immediately notified. The engine of the car is rigged up to a remote control device, just like a toy car, and stopped at the press of a control. There is also a recording device in the vehicle that captures everything the criminals say. When the vehicle is stopped the police, who are close at hand, apprehend the thieves.
Tips, Methods, and Strategies on Crime Prevention
When your home is vulnerable to theft, the first person to take advantage of it is a thief and you may not even notice how vulnerable your house is until it is too late. Here are some quick tips you can follow and pass on to neighbors who may also be easy targets.
Target hardening means making the area or certain objects more difficult to vandalize or steal from. This can range from property to pets. Examples of target hardening include the following:
– Highly secure locks and doors
– Burglar alarms
– Cleaning up abandoned property
– Attaching a wheel lock to vehicles
– Making windows secure
– Removing Targets
This means completely removing easy access to property or valuables. This will take the items completely out of notice of offenders; if they can’t see it or don’t know it’s there, they can’t steal it. Examples include the following:
– Keeping car keys from plain sight
– Securing valuables
– Taking radios, laptops, etc., from parked cars
– Storing jewelry out of shop windows at night
Tips for Crime Prevention
Now it is time to learn some basic tips to protect yourself from crime. The first thing to do is to evaluate your area and approach it through the eyes of a burglar. Do you notice ways that will make it easy for a thief to gain access to your home? Will keeping those garbage cans outside your shop window tempt a thief to break in? Are you sure it is a good idea to leave those tools out of the shed during the night – if you were a thief what would you do with them?
By taking preventive measures to protect yourself from crime, you can reduce crime rates by at least 50%. Lock tools up at night, secure school offices, doors, and windows, and make sure students take everything home with them that don’t need to be on premises.
Securing Property When out of Area
Many people may feel that having a bicycle stolen is not that much of a big deal, but when a bike is your only means of transportation, bicycle theft is no laughing matter. To lessen the chances of bicycle theft here are some methods to put into practice:
– Take a photograph of your bike
– Park it in well-lit areas (especially at the mall)
– Place it in bike stands where available
– Remember to lock your bike with a secure lock
– Engrave an identification number on your bike
Youth Crime Prevention Programs
Violence among the youths of America is as widespread and just as deadly as an epidemic and is the second largest death causing factor among people between the ages of 10 and 24. Violence is directly linked to community health. It is the cause of hikes in health care, devaluates property, and creates chaos in social services. Gangs headed by teens and young adults are at the peak of crime elevation and are responsible for most of the offenses committed in U.S. schools and neighborhoods where juvenile delinquency is the norm. These areas are far more prone to violent outbreaks compared to quiet urban areas. Youth crime prevention programs are enlisted to stop the amount of criminal activity among young people and to protect them and the communities they live in. Below is a list of current programs that were implemented to focus on and eliminate crime among youths:
– STRYVE – Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere
– National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center
– Disconnected Youth and Gang Prevention
– Youth and Communities
– Institute of Youth, Education and Families Violence Prevention
Training on Crime Prevention
Programs, tips, and education about crime prevention are useless if there is no training provided to instruct individuals concerning these issues. It is vital to learn how to recognize violent and criminal tendencies in children during the early stages, to build awareness about community and social issues in connection with criminal activity, and to be well versed on how to protect yourself and your property. You should also aid those who are vulnerable. Finding government headed programs or starting a crime prevention training program in your own community, whether it is held in a public, community building or a school, is a good first step towards crime prevention in your neighborhood.
Community Crime Prevention
Any kind of effort, whether big or small, geared toward the elimination of crime is a key element in stopping crime. Some people create personal bill boards with positive messages and place them in one or more strategic spot(s) throughout their neighborhood where people will notice them. It may sound ineffective, but you would be surprised at the amount of people who read them and take note. Making colorful, artful, thought-provoking flyers is another great way to grab people’s attention while reminding them of the importance of crime prevention in the neighborhood – one powerful sentence with a striking image can greatly impact the reader and stir them towards action.
Another way to prevent community crime is to have small, public get-togethers and community entertainment. It gives people something pleasant to look forward to. Mini-fairs and neighborhood outdoor games do wonders for keeping people focused and occupied.
Teaching Crime Prevention to Kids
The earlier you instill awareness about crime and respect for the well-being of others in children, the better it is for them further on in life. You cannot be with your children on a 24/7 basis, so it is a good idea to instill crime awareness in them when you can. Find fun and innovative ways to teach them about crime. You can purchase games and coloring books that instill values. Monopoly highlights the value of money in a positive way while teaching children to protect their interests. Another good way is to reenact crime situations by asking your child what they would do in a given situation. You can knock on the door and pretend to be a stranger and coach your child not to open the door, unless they ask who it is first. With practice, the child will be ready for certain emergencies with these crime preventative measures.