October is National Crime Prevention month—a time when the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) asks us to renew or join the commitment to help “Take A Bite Out of Crime®.” Since 1984, the NCPC has been working to spread the word about personal safety and crime prevention, and it’s our job as members of our community to help.
Before learning about crime prevention, it’s best to begin with crime itself. In 2018, there were an estimated 7,196,045 property crime offenses in the nation. Larceny-theft accounted for 72.5 percent of all property crimes in 2018, and Burglary accounted for 17.1 percent. (ucr.fbi.gov)
The rate of property crime is about 2,200 per 100,000 inhabitants but varies from city to city. While the numbers may seem high, crime rates in the United States have actually been on a pretty steady decline in the last 5 years.
That’s great news! But why exactly is crime decreasing? Several studies point to situational crime prevention and the use of professional surveillance systems.
Situational Crime Prevention
“Crime prevention has long been on the radar of law enforcement officers, but situational crime prevention brings a different approach. Situational crime prevention is based on the belief that crime can be deterred by making strategic changes to an environment. It does this by focusing on how (rather than why) crime happens—and therefore, how it can be prevented,” according to research by Ashley Brooks at Rasmussen College.
This type of crime prevention focuses on specific places, problems, or times to reduce specific types of crime and increase the risks for offenders.
How Does Situational Crime Prevention Work?
Here are a few real-world examples of what SCP looks like in action, based on real techniques law enforcement officers are trained to use:
- Removal of Target: In an area where vehicle break-ins of auto theft are a problem, park a luxury car in a garage rather than on the street.
- Increase Natural Surveillance: Including well-lit streets and housing designs that allow neighbors to see one another’s properties when urban planning.
- Alert Conscience: Such as roadside signs that flash your speed when driving too fast or warnings at the beginning of a movie that state “piracy is not a victimless crime.”
- Increasing Formal Surveillance: Installing alarms or security cameras in conspicuous places so offenders are aware of any surveillance measures.
Benefits of Situational Crime Prevention
The short answer is that it’s always better to prevent a crime than react after an offense has been committed. Why is that?
The major benefit is that crime prevention saves money. It’s much more cost-effective to deter the crime than have to pay for potential property damage, replacing stolen goods, or, particularly, dealing with the theft of an irreplaceable item. This can also include your tax dollars that specifically go to law enforcement officials.
Research also suggests that the positive impacts of preventative interventions can spread to other times and locations, meaning the benefits of crime prevention has a compounding effect, helping multiple communities rather than just one isolated location.
How Can You Prevent Crime and Practice Situational Crime Prevention?
One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to prevent crime is with a monitored surveillance system. Home and business owners are 33% less likely to be broken into with a security system. That’s because burglars like easy targets and a home with a professionally monitored surveillance system is anything but.
A Rutgers University study determines that neighborhoods in which burglar alarms were densely installed have fewer incidents of residential burglaries than neighborhoods with fewer burglar alarms.
This study also credits the increase in professional alarm systems with a decrease in burglaries and the overall crime rate.
So, while knowing that the crime rates are going down, it’s also important to note that this is likely because home and business surveillance systems are increasing.
Interested in Preventing Crime at Your Home or Business?
Stay safe and prevent crime with a locally, professionally monitored security system. SEi has been protecting properties, families, and investments for over 50 years. What are you waiting for? Start today with a free consultation by calling 800-279-3667.