5 Ways to Reduce Crime in Your Community
Crime prevention and reduction is a complex issue with many different schools of thought. A multitude of societal factors play a part in community crime rates. Everything from access to preschool to amped-up street lights can have a positive impact on reducing crime rates. While understanding underlying issues like poverty, inequality, drugs, and gun control is incredibly important in order to significantly reduce crime, there are several small steps that law enforcement agencies and citizens alike can help prevent and reduce crime in their own communities right now.
Get to know your community.
Law enforcement officials have a delicate balance between proactively instilling trust in their communities while also responding to crimes and actively working to prevent crimes before they happen. But when communities feel like the local police department is invested in them, it creates a greater sense of trust. In these cases, community members are more likely to "see something, say something" and contact their local law enforcement when something isn't quite right in their neighborhoods. They learn to see law enforcement as being there to serve and protect them from those who wish to do harm in their community.
Community members too should become more invested in their neighborhoods. When a neighbor becomes a friend, we are more inclined to look out for one another, and when we are invested in our neighbors and neighborhood, we are more inclined to stand up against threats to our community. Walk around and talk with store owners, teachers, police officers, and neighbors. Know what is happening in your neighborhood so that when something doesn't seem quite right, you feel empowered to act.
Be aware of crime trends.
No community is exempt from crime, it happens in small towns and huge cities across the globe. But not all communities have the same types of crime problems. It's helpful to know what is happening in your local community and understand the crime "hot spots" so that citizens can avoid those areas and law enforcement can be proactive in those areas.
For example, your community may be an area where vehicle break-ins are common. With this information at your disposal, you can take extra care to lock your car doors, take in all of your belongings from your vehicle, and be sure to park in well-lit areas. As a citizen, you can find crime trends and crime reports through a quick internet search. In many areas, you can follow crime alerts by following your local precinct on social media.
Invest in alarms and security cameras for your home or business.
Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, security cameras can be an important tool in helping to reduce crime. Not only does the sight of a security camera help to act as a deterrent to would-be criminals, in the event of an actual crime, the footage captured can lead to an arrest and justice for the victims.
Home security systems have come a long way in recent years. Now, many systems allow you to manage cameras, lock doors, and set alarm codes directly from your smartphone. You can even check in on your home or business while out of town which can offer peace of mind. Moreover, in the event that something doesn't look right, you can be proactive in alerting your local law enforcement instead of returning home to realize there was a break-in.
Collaborate with other community organizations.
Studies have shown that effective police methods such as hot-spot policing combined with interventions from social services agencies resulted in more significant crime reduction. For example, after school is a dangerous time zone for many youths across the country. Without an organized activity, and with many parents still at work, children are left to fend for themselves and frequently become targets for gang initiation.
Studies have shown that after school programs such as sports camps, art programs, and organizations like The Boys and Girls Club can help keep children safe after school and lead to a decrease in violent crime in their neighborhoods. These community services and educational programs coupled with a proactive and trusted police force have shown to lower crime rates in many cities.
Some of the tactics above would require an increase in the police force, something that is simply not feasible for many local police departments that are already stretched thin. However, with the assistance of software like NC4 Street Smart, police forces of all sizes can work smarter to reduce crime without increasing the number of officers.
Providing law enforcement officers with real-time crime reporting to accurately pinpoint crimes, patterns, and incidents improves their ability to fight crime faster. Officers no longer need to rely on a roll call board, information scribbled on notepads, or meeting takeaways. Instead, crime data is aggregated and updated around the clock in real-time.
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