Crime is an ever growing problem in our society. Law enforcement officers put themselves at risk on a daily basis in their quest to apprehend suspects and attempt to deter crime. I will be discussing the components and concepts of crime prevention throughout the course of this essay. Crime prevention is the attempt to deter crime and reduce the victimization of our community resulting in a sense of safety in today’s society.
According to the Crime Prevention Coalition the formal definition of crime prevention is “a pattern of attitudes and behaviors directed both at reducing the threat of crime and enhancing the sense of safety and security to positively influence the quality of life in our society and to help develop environments where crime cannot flourish” (NCJRS. GOV). According to Worrall crime prevention suggests using a proactive approach.
In a perfect world there would be no need for crime prevention, unfortunately there is no perfect world therefore the need for prevention is great. According to Lawrence W. Sherman (n. d. ), some of the key concepts to crime prevention are criminal events, criminal offenders, amount of harm, reduction of risk factors, and the increase of protective factors. The goal of the Criminal Justice System is to deter crime by the apprehension and incarceration of those who commit crimes and imposing the threat of serious sanctions.
Crime prevention is the focus of the Criminal Justice System. Steven P. Lab of the Justice Quarterly (2004) states that some of the components of crime prevention include the police, court system, corrections (which are the three key components of crime prevention), the community, schools and other organizations. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, it is the job of the law enforcement to know when and where a crime is committed and who is committing the crime(s) (NCPC, 2012).
Law enforcement agencies consists of the police, detectives, private security and, private investigators. It is the job of the police to pursue and apprehend criminals, answer calls to service, keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, and to protect and to serve. They also spend a lot of time doing crisis intervention and finally, paperwork. There are different methods for the prevention of crime. First there is the proactive method of crime prevention. This is where law enforcement attempts to stop crime before it happens such as stop and search and curfews.
Second is community policing in which law enforcement focuses on citizen involvement and the satisfaction of the community in effort to address and combat the problem of crime. Then there is problem-oriented policing which is geared toward identifying and solving crime problems as quickly as possible. The judicial (or court) system is geared towards the prosecution of those who commit crimes and impose sentences on criminals. It consists of U. S. attorneys, district attorneys, attorneys general, and city attorneys as well as city, state, and district judges.
It entails the federal or Supreme Court, state courts, criminal courts, civil courts, and bankruptcy courts. Without the judicial system, criminals would be released back into society to commit more crimes (Worrall, J. L. , 2008). Corrections, also known as the penal system is the third component of the law that administers punishment, treatment and supervision of criminals. This includes imprisonment, parole and probation. Correctional facilities, also known as prisons, are where criminals serve out their sentences.
According to Kifer, Hemmens, and Stohr, (2003), the goals of the correctional system entail retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Since criminals are starting out at a younger age, education and early intervention are keys to helping the justice system deter crime in our youth. There are many reasons that young people become criminals such as the lack of parental supervision, boredom, peer pressure, frustration, lack of education or vocational skills, alcohol and drug use, gang affiliation, and poverty. There are numerous programs offered to help deter our youth from becoming career criminals.
Among these are the, McGruff Club which is a “crime prevention and safety education program for children who are between the ages of six and ten. Through the McGruff Club, children become engaged in their communities and learn about safety while having fun with their friends and adults who care for them; the Be Safe and Sound in School (B3S), an initiative of the National Crime Prevention Council conducted in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U. S. Department of Justice; the Teens, Crime, and the Community program that believes smarter youth make safer communities” (NCPC, 2012).
Our children are our future and must be taught to become upstanding members of society instead of being left alone or ignored, thus becoming criminals. New programs have been developed to aid in the prevention of crime across the globe to teach people that crime does not pay and if you do the crime, you will do the time. “The Center for Crime Prevention and Control fosters innovative crime reduction strategies through hands-on fieldwork, action research, and operational partnerships with law enforcement, communities, social service providers, and other practitioners.
The Center is actively engaged in crime prevention initiatives in jurisdictions around the country and the world. It is particularly focused on issues affecting our most vulnerable communities: gangs and other violent groups, gun violence and gun trafficking, overt drug markets, and domestic violence. It is also focused on repairing relationships between those communities and law enforcement; strengthening communities; and reducing arrest and incarceration” (John Jay College of Criminal Justice).
When the community and law enforcement work together it sends a message to criminals that we are not going to tolerate criminal behavior. In conclusion, criminals are not born, they are made. There are many reasons that people resort to a life of crime. As stated above some of the reasons are because of poverty, greed, drug and alcohol use/abuse, or because that is all that some people know as they have been brought up by other criminals, lack of education, poor self-esteem, peer pressure, boredom, and some (a small percentage) just to merely survive.
Crime prevention programs are steadily being developed to keep up with old and the upcoming crimes in efforts to deter criminal behavior. Because of the rise in single parent households our children are often left alone as the parent works therefore they join gangs to have that sense of family. Most gangs require some type of criminal act before introducing another member into their “family”. We must work together diligently as a community with law enforcement to do what we can to educate our children and prevent crime to send the message that we will not tolerate it any longer.