Posted: October 17th, 2013
Neighborhood Crime Prevention Program
Neighborhood Crime Prevention Program
Neighborhood crime prevention program is part of a comprehensive package that is implemented to deter and prevent crime within neighborhoods by involving the residents. It involves a neighborhood watch where people watch over their neighbors’ safety. It works through neighbors within a residence who are supposed to look out for suspicious issues and incidents and report them to the police before anything happens (cityofboise.org, 2012). This helps in deterring potential crimes and offenders from committing their crimes. It ranges from block watch, community watch, home watch and citizen alert. Neighborhood crime prevention programs arose because of emphasis in the involvement of citizens in enhancing prevention of crime. It is one of the oldest programs of deterring crime in the United States. It was officially launched in 1972 where citizens were required to organize themselves and work with the police and other law enforcement authorities in deterring crime. Since its initiation, statistics have correlated it to safer neighborhoods.
Overview of history and objectives
In 1972, a model of neighborhood watch program was created by the National Sheriffs Association. It was in a search of a crime prevention program to address an increase in crime especially burglary (cityofboise.org, 2012). However, its development started towards the end of 1960s after the rape and death of Genovese where several neighbors were witnesses but did nothing to help their neighbor. This resulted in people forming groups to watch over their neighbors. Since then it has continued to grow across the country. Recently this year, it was emphasized even more after the shooting of a teenage boy by a man claiming to be on a neighborhood watch. He left his car to pursue the boy, which is against the role of a neighborhood program. The program does not allow neighbors to take the law into their hands. Rather, they are supposed to report the crimes.
The main goal of neighborhood crime program is deterring crime and preventing potential offenders from committing crime through collaboration between the citizens and the police department, as well as creating a sense of community within the residences. The objectives could vary in different regions depending on the different security needs within different neighborhoods. However, there are general objectives that apply to all neighborhood crime prevention programs as stated below.
Literature and organizational structure, operations and practices of programs
There have been several pieces of literature on the issue of neighborhood crime prevention program. They have focused on researches conducted about their effectiveness and evaluations on their performance. Much of the literature has associated neighborhood programs with low crime rate, suggesting they are effective in deterring crime. Much of the literature review has been conducted by institutions such as the police and the federal bureau of investigations. Some of the practices of the programs include notifying the police of suspicious incidents, working with police and forming collaboration with the neighbors. Additionally, its organization takes the form of collaboration between the citizens and police where the people are the eyes that identify the potential crime while the police come in to intervene.
Data or statistical analysis
According to statistical analysis, neighborhood crime programs are effective in reducing criminal activities. The data show a crime reduction effect of 16 to 26 percent National crime prevention council. (2012). The popularity of the neighborhood programs has continued to increase over time with about 41 percent of Americans estimated to be living in communities covered with neighborhood watch. From the report, this was the biggest form of organized crime deterrent program in United States (Bennett, Holloway, & Farrington, 2008).
Effect on crime and community
From several studies, it has been proven that neighborhood crime programs are effective in deterring crime. They have the ability to prevent and reduce crime, as well. Considering that it focuses on preventing potential offenders from engaging in criminal behavior through collaboration between the citizens and the police department, it has several effects on crime and community, as well. The biggest effect on crime is stopping the potential offenders from committing crimes through warnings that show an area has neighborhood programs. On the other hand, its ability to deter crime ensures that neighborhoods can be safer. It also enables citizens to take responsibility of their own security and safety through watching out for each other. The research further fins that not all of the neighborhood programs were successful. Some yielded no result in reducing crime. The report cites that areas with a high rate of crime are harder to implement such programs due to the lack of trust among the neighbors (Gross, Ruoff, & Laino, 2012).
Performance Evaluation and citizen participation/support
In areas where the programs are successful, support and participation of the citizens is usually high to enhance the safety. The program does not work without proper coordination among the neighbors. However, for most areas where such programs have been implemented, citizen participation has been favorable making them a success. Without the collaboration of police and the citizens, such crimes would hardly work. Citizens have taken responsibility of taking care of their neighborhoods through involvement with the police. Performance has improved over time with more and more residents organizing neighborhood programs. More so, strategies have improved where police response is quite fast
Recently, neighborhood programs have been growing at a rapid rate. In general, much of the literature consulted has suggested that neighborhood crime prevention programs are effective in deterring crime. Statistical data have shown that it reduces the crime rate by an average rate of 16 percent. This is because of its ability to deter crime within neighborhoods (Gross, Ruoff, & Laino, 2012). The programs work well if there is proper coordination between the citizen and the police. Without such communication, there would be no success since the citizens are reporters of suspicious incidents while the police intervene. Thus, without communication between the two main parties it would be hard to deter crimes using such programs. However, due to participation of citizens in helping the police in deterring crime, success has been achieved. It has had both the effects of reducing the crime rate and building a sense of community within residents. The programs are also largely based on trust between the neighbors. The digest finding in most of the researches conducted is that neighborhood crime prevention programs are associated with safer neighborhoods.
Bennett, T., Holloway, K. & Farrington D. P. (2008). Does Neighborhood Watch Reduce Crime: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
cityofboise.org. (2012). Neighborhood Watch. Retrieved from http://police.cityofboise.org/crime-prevention/neighborhood-watch/
Gross, D.J., Ruoff, A. & Laino, T. (2012). Neighborhood watch groups reflect on practices after teen’s fatal shooting. Retrieved from http://www.gazette.net/article/20120417/NEWS/704179990/neighborhood-watch-groups-reflect-on-practices-after-teen-s-fatal&template=gazette
National crime prevention council. (2012). Neighborhood Watch. Retrieved from http://www.ncpc.org/topics/home-and-neighborhood-safety/neighborhood-watch
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