High Visibility Crime Prevention - Night Eyes, Footprints, and RSVP Programs

By Berger, William B. | The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, January 1993 | Go to article overview

High Visibility Crime Prevention - Night Eyes, Footprints, and RSVP Programs


Berger, William B., The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Citizens often complain that police officers do not patrol their neighborhoods. In all probability, residents perceive this lack of attention because they do not actually see an officer on duty in the area. This is why it is important for police departments to initiate programs that make officers visible to the public. The City of North Miami Beach, Florida, Police Department (NMBPD) instituted three such programs--Night Eyes, Footprints, and the Revolving Saturated Visibility Patrol (RSVP)--to do just that.

Night Eyes

The Night Eyes Program, which began in April 1991, requires all officers assigned to the 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift to visit at least five business locations in their assigned areas each night. During these visits, officers walk around the outside of the business, noting any problems. They then record their observations, along with their name, badge number, and the date and time of their visit, on specially designed information cards, which they leave at the establishments. The officers do not enter any establishment unless they see some indication of criminal activity that legally justifies such entry. At the end of the night, the officers turn in a list of the contacts that they made during their shift. NMBPD officers check an average of 40 businesses nightly.

Members of the NMBPD Crime Prevention, Community Patrol, and Detective Units designed the Night Eyes card. While the back of the card includes the information mentioned above, the front depicts the Night Eyes logo and the department's crime tip of the month.

The local chamber of commerce financed the initial printing of 5,000 cards, at a cost of approximately $160. Currently, other local businesses and print shops compete for the privilege of printing the cards, which attests to the support of the program by neighborhood establishments.

Footprints

The Night Eyes Program proved so successful with the business community that the department instituted the Footprints Program for residential areas. Officers assigned to day or afternoon shifts record 5 residential contacts per day, totaling approximately 100 daily contacts for the department. After checking the outside of the house, the officer completes the information on the Footprints card, which is almost identical to the Night Eyes card, and leaves the card at the residence. As with the Night Eyes Program, at no time do officers enter the residences without proper legal authority.

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