Crime exists in flux all over the globe. Though it may seem overwhelming, there are things you can do to manage crime in your community. You do not need to feel powerless against criminals. By taking action, you make positive changes in your neighborhood.
Keep yourself in the know.
Know your neighborhood. Knowledge is a very powerful tool when combating crime. Education of different individuals can be key to all kinds of crime prevention.
Talk to your neighbors. When you know your neighbors, you know the people who belong in your neighborhood. A burglar might enter one of your neighbors’ homes and you might not think twice if you didn’t know the people who lived there. If someone’s child is causing destruction to property, you can call their parents if you know them.
Learn the normal happenings of your neighborhood to help you to know when something is wrong.
Inform yourself about the crimes in your area. Look online or in the local paper to follow criminal activity near you. Contact the local police department to see if they are able to provide you with crime statistics.
Talk to local law enforcement.
Through cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, you can help keep them informed about your neighborhood. In addition, they can help provide support and education to residents. Remember law enforcement wants to help you.
Do not call emergency lines if you do not have an emergency.
Go to the police station in person to ask for information.
Use media to focus attention.
This can be done both for crime ridden areas, and also for the community projects used to rehabilitate them. The media can be asked to publicize community events and promote public education. The media can also be used to expose crimes in poorly patrolled areas.
Put out a press release.
Write a letter to the editor of a local or regional newspaper.
Take it to social media.
Organize and/or join a neighborhood watch.
This is also called a “block watch”, “apartment watch”, “home watch”, or “community watch”. These programs organize communities to work together with local police to manage crime in their areas. The three primary components of these programs are watching for suspicious activities, marking property to indicate ownership, and home security surveys.
Nightly citizen patrols, victim support, and close communication with authorities all may be employed with these organizations.
Such programs have been started all over the country. Maybe one already exists in your community. These organizations don’t require frequent meetings (once a month or so). They don’t ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime. They leave the responsibility for catching criminals where it belongs – with the police.
These are not “vigilante” groups. These groups gather citizens together to learn crime prevention from local authorities. You cooperate with your neighbors to report suspicious activities in the neighborhood, to keep an eye on homes when the resident is away, and to keep everyone in the area mindful of the standard precautions for property and self that should always be taken. Criminals often avoid neighborhoods where such groups exist.
Use “positive loitering”.
Positive loitering has been found useful in many crime ridden areas. Communities choose to occupy in groups the areas typically taken by criminals. Where there is gun violence, drug dealers, and other illicit activities, communities have been able to reclaim their spaces just by occupying them.
Communities in Chicago have found this tactic very effective, with police even coming to support the movement.
Take Back Santa Cruz advocates positive loitering as an effective means to combat crime.
Celebrate community accomplishments together.
Crime is very stressful on people’s lives. Community problems can be overwhelming. It is important then to celebrate the little achievements together. This can help to bolster morale, as well as further strengthen community bonds.
Increase street lighting.
This is a proven way to reduce crime in an area. Dim lights make it easy for crime and criminals to operate unnoticed. By placing more lights and brighter lights in poorly lit area, you can help to reduce crime.
Programs in England that improved street lighting conditions were found to “irrefutably” reduce crime in those areas.
A similar study of parks in Los Angeles found that keeping parks lit at night also reduces crime in the areas illuminated.
By placing CCTV cameras outside to monitor criminal activity, you can help apprehend criminals in the event that you capture a crime on video.
In Chicago, research shows that for every $1 spent on cameras, more than $4 was saved in court costs, incarceration, and pain and suffering associated with prevented crimes.
Cameras work best to deter criminals when there are a sufficient number of them which are visible.
Inhibit traffic, help pedestrians.
High traffic areas that are not pedestrian-friendly can be havens for crime. Drive-by shootings rely on open, fast-moving streets. Areas without sidewalks, which favor cars over pedestrians, make it easier for criminals to operate.
Operation Cul-de-Sac in Los Angeles was proven to effectively reduce homicides connected to drive-by shootings. They set up traffic barriers to cut off car access for certain streets.
Bridgeport, CT found success with their “Phoenix Project”. Planners implemented a complex street modification program. By changing and controlling the flow of traffic in their city, they had a 75% reduction in crime.