The level of crime is on the rise in almost every part of the world, Courts are filled every day with people of different ages facing charges on various crimes. The correctional facilities receive new convicts everyday the question that remains is how the crime can be prevented. Prevention of crime is simply reducing the chances of a crime to be committed, it cheaper and it reduces the number of victims of crime. The proposal will look at the crime prevention models and method of implementation.
According to statistics released by the FBI, the state of Michigan has seen a decrease in crime related to theft of property in the cities within the state. Violent crimes have risen in all the cities in Michigan, but nonviolent crimes have decreased. Just like Michigan, nationaly the rate of violent crimes has increased while non violent crimes have reduced. In the year 2012 the most violent city in the United States was Flint, a position it has held for the last three years followed by Detroit. In a study carried out in six cities in Michigan which had inhabitants of over 100,000 in the year 2012, violent crimes increased by 33 cases to 20,033 from 2000 in the year 2011. Murders went up to 467 while rape cases were 784, robberies reduced by 156 to 5,947 in the year 2012. Property crimes came down by 4,321 to 59,436 and finally burglaries were 19,835 down by about 3,531. Boston has also experienced an almost similar level of crime as Michigan the only difference that stands out is that the level of violent crime is on the decline in Boston. In Texas, the level of crime is not very much different from the other two cities the most notable difference though, is that in Texas the level of crime involving burglaries increased.
There are numerous crime prevention measures that have been put in place by different states. Crime prevention can be addressed at different levels ranging from individual, the family, and the community at large. The success of the programs is dependent on the method of implementation. The three states, Michigan, Texas, and Boston all use the SARA model in preventing crime, but the difference in the success and even the failures of the model is evident. The SARA model is very effective in dealing with recurring crimes perpetuated by the same people, on a particular place and time. Under the SARA model the offenders are put under the control of people (handlers). The victims are also protected by some other people who are referred to as guardians. The places where the crimes take place are also put under supervision of some people referred to as managers. There are some crimes that take place in a certain place at a particular time and even to particular people. Crimes such as snatching sometimes take place in very crowded places such as bus stations during rush hours. Other crimes such as rape usually take place in isolated place and mostly at night. Violent robberies can take place at any time at any place while other crimes like burglaries takes place when people are not at home.
The limitations of the model is that it can only be effective in preventing recurring crimes that follows a certain pattern such as a particular place, time and potential offenders. It cannot prevent crimes that happen without following a certain pattern. Thus the model cannot be entirely successful in preventing crimes from happening again as the offenders may change the time of committing the crimes.
Every section of a community has its own problems in regards to security, in that aspect it is very vital that the community employs a strategy that will address its own problems. The program should also, be easy to implement and most of all it should involve all the members of the community, from the children to the adults. A good program should be able to reduce or eliminate altogether criminal activities in a community. The crime prevention strategy that can work among all the communities facing different problems regarding security is the Neighborhood watch. In this model the community is involved in protecting their neighborhoods by remaining vigilant all the time of suspicious activities and persons within their neighborhood. The community also becomes the keeper of the other; this is done for examples when one leaves the house for a trip somewhere the neighbors are alerted. The people within the neighborhood also exchange contacts so that should there be any suspicious happenings within a certain house the owner of the house can be called for clarification. From recent research carried out on different models of crime prevention neighborhood watch has been rated as the most efficient method of preventing crime (Miller, 2013).
According to Professor Ken peak of the University of Nevada and assistant professor on criminal justice Emmanuel P. Barthe, crime prevention has been practiced for a very a long time. In the year 1884 the legislature of New York passed a bill that allowed for the establishment of a police force. The police force in New York was placed under the supervision of the government and the politicians. That was different from the set up in Europe where the police was divided as per the criminal activities. The police officers were chosen from a list of names submitted to the mayor by the aldermen and the tax assessors. The list was then submitted to the city council so that it could be approved. So as to make full use of the police force, the police were incorporated into the neighborhood so as to quell riots and also help the immigrants to settle (Simon, 2007).
The police force also had its own weakness for example, the police officers were close to politicians, and thus they were always in favor of politicians. The police officers were not also adequately supervised which led to the rise of corruption within the police force. The police officers also discriminated strangers as they knew all the members of the community. The persons that were discriminated most against were racial and ethnic minorities. The police officers were also very ruthless as they dealt with those they perceived as criminals by beating them up (Simon, 2007).
From the year 1840 to the 1930s, some reformist pushed for the reform within the police force. Some of the major reforms that took place were the change in the method of recruitment; the police force was changed from just arresting criminals to preventing crimes. In the 1960s the United States faced some difficult times, incidences such as the police riot on the Democratic Convention in Chicago that took place in the year 1968 raise a lot of questions on the role of the police (Bardach, 2009).
The events of the 1960s brought further changes in the police force. Police executives were chosen on merit, training of police officers also improved, salaries of police officers improved, and the working conditions for the police officers also improved. Police patrols were also introduced to help fight and prevent crime in different parts of the United States of America. The era also faced a crisis as the police officers effectiveness was based on the number of arrests made. The number of miles covered during the patrols, and the number of tickets issued to traffic offenders (Bardach, 2009).
Eventually the police became law enforcement agencies with the main aim being controlling the rate of crime. In the 1970s the police force was faced with another crisis, the rate of crime had escalated, racial discrimination also shot up, civil rights demonstration became order of the day. The public lost hope in being protected by the police, thus they started coming up with strategies to prevent crime in their midst. That led to the police getting competition from private security firms, and other crime control community organisations. Businesses, homes, and industries turned to private police agencies for protection (Braga, 2004).
There are different ways of crime prevention that can be used to prevent crimes from happening. Crime prevention may be targeted on individuals, the community, and the family. The various crime strategies depend on the structure of the community and the type of crimes. Examples of such programs include, weed and seed, neighborhood watch and community policing. Research has shown that the strategies involved in the programs can reduce crime. The outcome of the various programs depends on the type of program, and the circumstance under which the program is implemented. The success of the Program can also be increased by the participation of local leaders and the participation of the whole community (Clarke, 2005).
This type of crime prevention involves the participation of the whole community in reducing the rate of crime within their residential areas. The whole community takes place in the process by being vigilant on the happenings within the community. The program has been found out to be the most efficient in reducing crime. The program also involves more than just being vigilant. Members of the community are also advised the on various ways in which they can ensure personal security, the security of their property and even the security of their children. The community is also advised on the best ways of dealing with criminals without risking being harmed (Clarke, 2005).
Weed and Seed
In this program the community identifies the bad elements or the criminals within the community then monitors their movement, so as to prevent them from committing crimes. A research conducted by Campbell Collaboration showed that the program had the potential to succeed. The program also reduced the severity of the criminal activities (Clarke, 2005).
A number of evaluations on the success of community policing has brought about different results. There are some incidences where the program has been successful in preventing crime. Community policing helped in the reduction of crimes such as violent robbery, crime related to property. Community policing also prevented criminals from carrying out their criminal activities. In other communities, community policing has been found out to have been ineffective. The difference in the results can be brought about by the lack of following the strategies as stipulated in the model. The various ways in which the different communities implement the community policing also affects the results. There are some communities that have liaised with the local police organisation to promote the reduction of crime. This can be done by getting the contacts of security agents who can be called to assist the community at any time of the day. Some communities have resulted in handling their own security problems without seeking professional assistance; in such cases the strategy they use in preventing crime always fails (Clarke, 2005).
Due to the rise of violent crimes in Michigan, and the failure of other crime preventive methods. The Strategy that can work toward solving the problem of violent crimes and other crimes is community neighborhood watch. The system has been found to be very effective in reducing crime rate as the whole community is involved in the program. The program ensures that the level of crime is reduced in the residential areas. When crime is reduced in all residential areas then the whole state of Michigan will be crime free (Lab, 2007).
The program do not need much funding, all that is needed is the commitment and cooperation of every member of the community (Lab, 2007). Funds may only be needed if the community decides to have private security agents patrolling the neighborhood.
The program will ensure that the community spends less in combating crime. Neighborhood watch will also ensure that the community is safe for everyone. Citizens living in Michigan will also not fear living their homes while going to work. The crime preventive measures unfortunately do also come with their negative effects; they will bring about restrictions to persons visiting the areas as they are not members of the community. In some instances the programs may bring about discrimination based on color or ethnic affiliation. Every stranger within the community may be considered as a potential criminal if they are seen roaming about and in some cases they might just be sight seeing.
Some members of the community might also take the law into their own hands and punish offenders in a way they see fit according to them. The short term achievement by the program is that the level of crime will be reduced drastically. The long term achievement of the plan is that, the citizens living in those particular places will enjoy peace and tranquility within the communities. More investors will also come to the area as people will always invest in places where they feel their investments will be safe. In so doing then numerous development projects will come up. Some of the developments may provide jobs for the local population (Braga, 2004).
The success of any crime prevention model is rooted in the strategy, the type of crime, and the personal effort of each person in ensuring own safety. If the wrong strategy is used then the program is bound to fail. Using the wrong model of crime prevention might also result in failure, thus before deciding on the type of model to use a lot of research must be carried out to find the type of model that is fit to deal with the crimes in question.
MILLER, L. S. (2013). Community policing: Partnerships for problem solving.. London: Delmar.
Simon, J. (2007). Governing through crime: how the war on crime transformed American democracy and created a culture of fear. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Braga, A. A. (2004). Gun violence among serious young offenders ([Updated ed.). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Bardach, E. (2009). A practical guide for policy analysis: the eightfold path to more effective problem solving (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Clarke, R. V., & Eck, J. E. (2005). Crime analysis for problem solvers in 60 small steps. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Lab, S. P. (2007). Crime prevention (6th ed.). New York: LexisNexis Matthew Bender.