All crime-prevention strategies are 3-way partnerships between law-abiding citizens, law enforcement professionals and some sort of intermediary. Whether it’s 9-1-1, neighborhood associations, Neighborhood Watch, Operation Identification or National Night Out, there must be some organizing factor that keeps the strategies going year after year. This 75-second video describes the MyPropertyID partnership.
Crime prevention is more than a deterrent
Crime prevention is often confused with crime deterrence, but they are distinct things. If a police car sits by the side of the road in broad daylight, this might deter a crime. If you add an extra lock to your front door and install an alarm, this is a deterrent as well. Crime prevention strategies are about improving connections between citizens and law enforcement professionals. Neither of the examples above promotes connections.
The Kitty Genovese Murder
In the aftermath of the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, law enforcement agencies began researching strategies that were designed to encourage citizens to get more involved in police partnerships. These approaches were designed as a police-approved layer of protection for communities. Research suggested that by building resilience against the criminal element through the use of these strategies, crime rates drop.
21st Century Operation ID
The original Operation ID strategy has ALWAYS required three steps: property is marked, serial numbers are recorded and warning signs are posted. Not doing all three steps is akin to putting a vehicle shoulder belt behind your back, not attaching the top tether on a child safety seat, or putting a smoke detector in a closet.
The problem has always been that Operation ID was an ideal that couldn’t be realized technologically until recently. In the meantime, many agencies have either abandoned its use all together or have watered it down so it’s Operation ID in name only.
The Big-5 Crime-Prevention Strategies
National Night Out
9-1-1 and non-emergency calls