Crime prevention is an approach and philosophy distinct from crime deterrence and crime fighting. Crime-prevention strategies take time to implement, but are, dollar for dollar, the most productive use of criminal justice budgets. This post will explore the differences and overlap of these three concepts used for controlling crime.

Crime Deterrence

According to the Iowa Crime Prevention Association (ICPA) crime deterrence is, “What we do to protect our families, our businesses, etc., is an individual and subjective decision, based on our surroundings, our circumstances and capabilities.” We know that petty and heinous criminals are out there. When you as a citizen lock your cars at night or set an alarm at your home, you are deterring crime.

Crime Fighting

Crime fighting is typically conducted by certified law enforcement professionals who have been through a training academy, and then receive ongoing training. Professional crime fighters are trained to run toward danger, while most of us seek shelter. According to the ICPA, “The law enforcement community is trained to discourage and interrupt crime, and bring criminals to justice, and they do it well.”

Crime Prevention

Crime prevention is that all-important relationship between law enforcement professionals and law-abiding citizens. The police can’t be everywhere, but law-abiding citizens can. With just a little bit of training and encouragement—whether frail, fit, young or old—law-abiding citizens can learn to take simple steps to keep a lid on crime. The following are the tried-and-true strategies that are supported by research, field trials, funding and political support.

The Big 5 Crime-Prevention Strategies

Neighborhood Watch

National Night Out

9-1-1 and non-emergency calls

Neighborhood associations

Operation Identification

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