A Unified Approach to Crime Prevention

Article excerpt

THE AFTER-EFFECTS OF THE recession coupled with the rise in violent offenses will require major rethinking of crime prevention principles by private and public law enforcement. In today's society the public will demand better safety on the streets as well as in the workplace. If the past few years are an indication of what is to come, public pressure will continue to increase the need for and acceptance of a more unified private and public security sector. This pressure will cause the United States to adopt a broader view of managing crime prevention.

Public and private industries will demand that crime be lowered and people be protected adequately from harm on the streets and in the workplace. Security will need to be more effective and efficient to meet these responsibilities. To accomplish this, the private and public sectors must construct a unified system that will allow innovativeness and flexibility in education, public relations, and training.

Education. The public must recognize that crime prevention and security awareness are more effective and less costly than reacting to criminal incidents. Both private and public sectors need to review the percentage of their budgets allocated to education and training.

As the cost of training, equipment, and response to the need for security programs increases, the industry needs to look at innovative education methods. For example, private industry should assist public law enforcement in security awareness. It could host seminars and programs in conjunction with public law enforcement for the public's benefit.

Security awareness education should be directed toward children, starting as early as preschool. Programs should continue through grade school and teach young people preventive measures. The McGruff crime dog campaign, where a cartoon character discusses preventive measures, is an example of such a program.

Public relations. Public relations includes publicity, such as news stories, direct mailing, feature stories, and other activities that create or maintain a positive public identity. Security and law enforcement agencies can no longer ignore or underestimate the need for effective public relations. Although most departments recognize the need to influence public perception, public relations often is not viewed as a high priority. …