Crime prevention, a term we may hear often these days, but rarely understand or see it implemented.
Crime prevention looks at people who are not involved in criminal activity and asks, “What can we do to make sure they do not come into conflict with the law?” Crime prevention also looks at places and situations which are not yet troubled by much criminal activity and asks, “How can we make sure crime does not become a significant problem here?”
Crime prevention can be broken down into people-, place- and situation-oriented strategies. The people-oriented strategy is usually known as “crime prevention through social development,” or CPSD1. Place-oriented strategies are known as “crime prevention through environmental design,” or CPTED2. When combined with situational approaches, these strategies form a holistic and effective crime prevention package.
Situational crime prevention looks at particular circumstances in which people interact with one another and with the built environment, identifies particular risky combinations, and looks for solutions specific to those situations. Solutions may include:
• Increasing the effort required to commit a crime, making it less attractive;
• Increasing the risk of being caught;
• Reducing the potential rewards of crime;
• Reducing provocations and temptations;
• Removing excuses for committing crime.
Some of these solutions involve a combination of people-oriented and place-oriented strategies that overlay with crime prevention through social development or environmental design.
Crime reduction starts with assessing the current problem and developing strategies to decrease the amount of criminal activity, or minimize the harm it causes.
Because crime reduction is focused on existing criminals, crime locations and situations, it relies heavily on information or intelligence which describes those people, places and situations in great detail. Examples of crime reduction include:
• Prolific offender management;
• Targeting crime “hot spots”;
• Managing major private gatherings.
Local communities experience the problems of crime firsthand but don’t have the tools or resources necessary to address the situation. Collaborative and problem-solving relationships through community mobilization are essential to the success of an intervention. The long-term success and sustainability of action plans are linked to the degree of community involvement and ownership of strategies.
Focusing on Offenders
Our experts have a strong consensus that significant reductions in crime can be achieved by focusing on prolific offenders – the very small proportion of the total population that’s responsible for most of the crime in the Grey-Bruce area. These individuals have been in and out of the provincial corrections system for years, committing crimes over and over again, in spite of their experiences with the justice system.
Community crime prevention is not exlcusive to the police. Private security, neighbourhood watch and good samaritans; must all work together to make the community a safer place to be. Do your civic duty and help protect your neighbourhood - be part of the solution.