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Community Crime Prevention Strategies Essay

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Do community safety, crime prevention; crime reduction initiatives help all victims? Choose specific types of CS – police led, management of offenders, crime prevention as focus.

The Home Office delineates community safety as, “An aspect of quality of life in which people, individually and collectively, are protected as far as possible from hazards or threats that result from the criminal or anti-social behaviour of others and are equipped or helped to cope with those they do experience” (Home Office: 1998) The fear of crime can impact us in a major way on how we feel about our community.

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“Localised action against crime” also know as community safety, crime prevention or crime reduction; is often practiced by police officers and authority workers e.g. Probation workers, housing officers etc. Community safety focuses on introducing physical and social changes to local communities to enforce balance and prevent crime and disorder from taking place. There are three ways of classifying crime prevention, primary secondary and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention targets the general population to prevent crime from happening before it has happens. Secondary prevention targets the population that is most at risk, where Tertiary prevention focuses on the individual; Often a known offender (Newburn, 2007:566)

The aim of community safety is to allow local residents to be able to live their lives freely, yet still feel comfortable and protected in their area by local authorities. All citizens should be able to live without interruption or fear that may come from crime and disorder. In some ways community safety can be hard to define, as various communities have different ways of carrying out the service. In some communities citizens have a say in what issues they feel need to be addressed and prioritized for action in their community; and in others they don’t. So where some issues may be of relevance in one community, it won’t be of relevance in another. Most importantly once an issue has been tackled it is fundamental that it does not re-occur.

Offending behavior can negatively affect an individual and/or a whole community. By reducing offending behavior community service should generally improve the quality of live of an individual or community, both socially and economically. Without first addressing fear and typical preconceptions of crime, any action to prevent anti-social behavior will be of no relevance, as communities may be unaware of the changes occurring and therefore reluctant to believe that they are being protected. It is after the Morgan Report in 1991 when the term ‘Community safety’ first came into notion. As stated by ‘CSinfo magazine’ “The term community safety was not well defined then and in some eyes the same is true today” (CSinfo: n.d.).

Anti social behavior and the nature of crime can cause the focus of community service to shift at times. This is mainly because of the difference in cultures, various religions and ethnic groups that may be in one community. Therefore we can question if community service is effective in a diverse society. In all of this we must take diversity and ethics into consideration. In society people have different values and approaches to life. Diversity is the unique difference that we all have. In all walks of life there will always be people from various backgrounds that we must make contact with. Diversity can be a cause of conflict and tensions within a society. Community safety aims to prevent divisions within a community and create unity to establish a safer and more comfortable lifestyle for civilians.

Community safety or community policing can be very effective in society as it establishes a good and trusting relationship between the police and citizens. The police become “part of the neighbourhood” (Anon: 2010), In addition to creating relationships it also enables the police to become aware of what the community needs. This partnership allows police officers to familiarize themselves with individual members of the community. As well as this, they are able to remember important information about the people that are of risk to the community.

In all aspects of policing there will always be advantages and disadvantages. A great advantage of community policing is that it reduces any fear that one may have. This creates a sense of trust between the police and community and therefore civilians will feel safer. ‘Law teacher’ states, “as citizens become more active in taking care of their community, they start to understand what officers actually do on a day-to-day basis” (Anon: 2010).

A disadvantage of community policing is that without the trust of the community and community involvement there isn’t much that the police can do. If they don’t have first hand knowledge of certain issues within the community they cannot solve it nor can they be aware of the specific citizens that are of risk to the rest of the community. The majority of people find it hard to trust the police, especially in ethic minority communities where many people believe that the police are racist. In saying this any attempt to help a community will fail, as there is no partnership between the police and community. Another disadvantage is that community policing is a long-term partnership and results will not be seen immediately.

Members of the community may feel as though they are wasting their time in trusting in the police to better their neighborhood, yet nothing has changed. The relationship must be maintained for it to work. “Community policing is a philosophy, not a program” (Roth: 2000,183) An additional disadvantage is that the same members of the community step forward to help and improve the neighborhood, however it requires the help and belief of whole (or majority) of the community for the service to be effective. “Community policing is only as good as its community involvement” (Law Teacher: 2010).

Overall the advantages weigh out the disadvantages of community policing. Community policing is effective as it establishes a relationship between the police and citizens, which generally improves the safety and the peace of mind of the community.

“Community-based programs are important in the service delivery in many communities”(Mancini & Marek: 2004, 339). To prevent crime in their neighbourhood people develop programs that aid in the prevention of crime and disorder in their community. There are several community policing programs, the most popular program is known to be the ‘neighbourhood watch’, where locals come together to make their community a safer place. Neighbourhood watch can be beneficial to a community as it allows locals to be aware of any suspicious activity. ‘National Night Out’ is another program that helps to fight crime in a community. Residents that participate in this, leave their outside lights on during the night, in the hope that civilians will safeguarded at night time where (in more dangerous areas) there are more drug and alcohol misusers gallivanting the streets.

D.A.R.E which stands for ‘ Drug Abuse Resistance Education’, is a program that seeks to make young adults (teenagers) feel good about the police, as well as preventing violent behavior, the abuse of drugs and alcohol and gang involvement. The program informs young people on how to say no from peer pressure, and build the necessary skills that they need to ensure a better lifestyle. Through D.A.R.E students are able to identify the perils of violence in their community as well as in their schools.

Neoliberism, the idea that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. In place of tackling poverty right realists would prefer to reduce crime through control. They argue with Marxists that although several old people are poor their crime rate is low. They believe that labeling theory “romanticises” the criminal by being too sympathetic. The problem with this approach is that although harsh methods of punishment may be good for the moment, they aren’t very effective for the long term. When putting someone in prison all aspects of their life must be considered. The offender may have a family that solely depends on them. In addition the offender may have health issues that could deteriorate in a prison environment. The biosocial theory of criminal behavior was introduced in 1985 by Wilson and Herrnstein. They explored the notion that criminal behavior is influenced by social and biological factors.

Herrnstein and Murray believed that low intelligence was the main cause of crime. Also developed from biological causes. Yes it is true that the chance of a person becoming an offender can be increased by biological cause however, it is believed that environmental have more influence on an offenders behavior. “Charles Murray (1990) argues crime is increasing because of a growing underclass who is defined by deviant behaviour and who fails to socialise properly” (Anon: 2012). .

Unlike right realists, left realists share the same views as labour government. Described as socialist in 1984 Lea and Young support the modification of society rather than the avant-garde change by a few Marxists. They debate that right wing politicians in an industrial capitalist society, have presented themselves accordingly as the parties of forces of law and order.

Left realist believe that all crimes with the exception of white collar crime need to be tackled and elucidated as they are a serious problem. Since World War Two there has been a significant increase in street crime (Young: 1993) “Criminology has undergone an etiological crisis” (Anon:2012). This has resulted from the rise in offences that are being recorded officially.

Both right realism and left realism share similarities but there are also extreme differences. An example of this is that they both have different political views, where right realists have a conservative mind, left realist have a labour mind. Despite this both believe that crime is a ‘real’ problem, and they fear that crime is rational. Through the way that both sides explain crime, it is clear that right realists are neo conservative, whereas left realists are reformist socialists.

Right realists put the blame of offending on the individual but left realists consider environment and relative deprivation, sympathising with the offender. In the same way both sides also have varying political differences, which is shown through their aims and how they plan on soling problems of crime. “The right prioritise social order achieved through a tough stance of offenders while the left prioritise justice achieved through democratic policing and reforms to create greater equality” (Anon:2012).

“As with other signs of brutishness, the sight of violence, pain, or physical suffering became highly disturbing and distasteful to modern sensibilities” (Garland, 1990: 223). A man like Garland who can be considered as a right realist suggests that we should be more punitive. He argues that we live in a culture that needs more control; although we have become more civilized, we are also more acceptant of mercy and as a society we tend not to punish as hard as they did in the olden days. Despite Garland’s views many still believe that we haven’t learnt to punish less. Moreover some people insist that we have learnt to punish better through the use of modern technology.

Unless an offender is of high risk to the rest of society, it is better to rehabilitate through intervention rather than imprison, in the attempt to just remove the person from society. In most cases imprisonment is more expensive than interventions (Williams: 2010). Nevertheless it is still a major aim to manage the risk of reoffending through “warehousing” (over crowded Imprisonment). Supervised by probation officers, who would advise assist and befriend them” (Probation of Offenders Act 1907). If these requirements were/are neglected the offender may be sent back to court to be re-assed and re-sentenced. (Canton: 2011, 5).

“Offenders would be on probation:instead of being ounished, and on their undertaking to be of good behavior, they would be put to the test and given an opportunity to show they could lead good and industri

“Criminals are not normal, they are wicked, evil, different to us, they are dangerous and they are strangers” (Wilson and Herrnstein: 1985). This is the idea that criminals are like animals, out of control and driven by their animalistic lust to do inhumane things. Crime is linked to low IQ; suggesting that most criminals are black and/or Asian, coming from backgrounds that cannot afford to educate children.

The level of how risky someone is should determine the intensity of intervention they must endure. There are wide ranges of interventions in the criminal justice system. Diversion, Reparation, Unpaid work, Supervision and counseling, Basic Skills, Group work programmes, Drug and alcohol programmes, Therapeutic communities’, Circles of support and women’s programmes. We typically do not see only one kind of criminal offender. Although a plethora of offences are made daily, the uniqueness of one person will be different from the criminogenic needs of another person. Diversity and sociological aspects of crime can be an influence of this. Where some offenders may be employed, others could be unemployed. Some may be dependent on drugs; others may have alcohol problems, or suffer from mental illnesses. Despite this a Right realist would rather punish the offender under any circumstance.

Realists see crime as something that is real; they believe in solving the problems of crime, whereas Marxists see crime and deviance as something that has been socially constructed through an unequal world and exploited society. Much like the conservative government, right realists trust that there is a solution to the growing crime rates in society. Rather than finding the causes of crime right realists seek to find practical methods in which crime can be monitored. In the opinion of a right realist offenders should be punished rather than rehabilitated.

Many see this method as impractical as individually offenders have different criminogenic needs. MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements). ‘Prisoners Families and Friends service’ states; “It is not a legal body or framework, but a set of arrangements for supervising offenders in the community. They are principally a structure by which the various agencies an offender comes into contact with can share information and thereby monitor risk factors after the person is released” (Anon: n.d, 26)

Joining responsible authorities, MAPPA manage high risk offenders. Forming a partnership with other agencies that may be working with the offender. Once MAPPA and other joined agencies come to a decision on the extent of how risky the person is. A risk management plan will put in order for the offender, which is then reviewed on a regular basis; addressing anti social behavior by monitoring the offender. In a similar way DAAT also monitor offenders.

DAAT (Drug and Alcohol Action Team) is a partnership that is accountable for carrying out the 10-year strategy and three year action plan for the government. DAAT unifies all local agencies that have involvement in addressing drug use e.g social services, the voluntary sector. DAAT aim to protect communities by reduces all forms of drug related crime. Preventing danger to families and individuals affected by the use of drugs and alcohol.

As well as offenders there are organisations that support victims of crime. These organisations hold programs that are set out to help crime victims move forward through counseling and other services that teach victims their rights in terms of the law.

In the USA 35 million people become victims of crime every year (Anon: 2012). After crime most victims and their families are left in a terrible state. Physically, mentally, emotionally and financially, which can be difficult to resolve. Because of this special organisations for victims have been created in the attempt to help millions of victims all over the world.

The world has changed very quickly through globalization. We currently contemplate whether science and technology are now creating more risk rather than preventing it. An example of this is through the effect of bullying and anti social behavior with the use of the Internet and social networking sites. And the idea that the world is becoming smaller and smaller.

Kinnvall and Jonson stated in 2002 that globalization will have a massive impact on our society forever as it covers all issues from economics, and politics to western culture and specifically “Americanisation” (Karofi and muanza: 2006). Many people see americanisation as a good thing as it provides development for all, however others would disagree by suggesting that it is a threat to peoples cultures. Discussed in three sections by Kinnvall and Johnson the globalisation process consists of scale, speed and cognition – From the links between social and political societies to the time frame in which globalisation is being hypothesised. In their research Kinnvall and Johnson make it clear that globalisation is not a new discovery. But because of how quickly the world has developed since the millennium increased awareness of globalisation has been made. It is hard ton think of a world without new technology, just 30 years ago the development of the Internet was beginning.

As mentioned previously every offender is different and therefore has an individual criminogenic need; the same goes for victims. Some victims may need long-term assistance depending on how serious the crime was e.g. rape, domestic violence. ‘sensitive crimes prosecution’ are cases like child abuse, child neglect and sexual assault. Organisations have specific programs that deal with these cases where the aim is to shield the victim from having to retell the story of the crime in which they were involved. In many cases victims have to tell their stories numerous times and this can because a daunting and even more traumatizing experience for them. In some circumstances it can even make the victim more unlikely to open up. If the truth isn’t told the full service cannot be fulfilled. To prevent this, the service assigns one lawyer to each case so that the victim only has to tell the story a few times. In doing this both victims and the system are at an advantage.

There are programs designed to help all kinds of victims. When dealing with property crime victims mediation is used as a form of mediation. Mediation allows both the victim and offender to receive the correct benefits or sentencing he or she deserves.

The victims service organization have a financial restitution program where anything that the offender stole or damaged from the victims property is replaced. This is done through a court ordered sanction. (Andrews: 1989). The program helps victims calculate how much has been damaged in addition to completing the necessary forms, maintain records informing the appropriate officials about the victim’s desire for restitution (Anon: 2012)

“Through the mediator, the victim and offender talk together about trust, completion of the restitution, and what determines if they will meet again” (Anon: 2012). This cannot be done in all situations. E.g. in a situation of rape it is highly unlikely that the victim will want to come in any form of contact with the offender and officials will not expect or ask them too.

The programs also file claims for victims. They do as much for the victims as possible to make it easier for them, even little things like filling out forms. Mock trials of criminal justice proceedings are officered so that the victim may become aware of what the real trial may consists of. Preparing them in all areas so that they are not blind-sided. A social working will prepare the victim by asking them a number of questions that may be asked during the trial. Often victims are given information on where the case is heading before any trial has taken place. The victim has the right to state their opinion on pardons and parole hearings.

In answering the question and essay title, yes I do believe that crime reduction initiatives help all victims of crime. Even in murder cases the victims families are always addressed and taken care of in the correct way (in most cases). The service that initiatives provide for victims, give the victims a place to turn to for guidance and support in seeking the rightful justice that they deserve. Programs like crisis intervention allow the victim to start recovering from their victimization and deal with their situation. ”Restitution and returning of stolen property is another way that victims may financially deal with their victimization. Also simply making victims aware of the rights is an excellent start to the victim’s search for justice” (Anon: 2012).

Bibliography:
Anon. (2012). Assess the value of the left and right realist approaches to crime and deviance. Available: http://potmd.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/assess-the-value-of-the-left-and-right-realist-approaches-to-crime-and-deviance/. Last accessed 4th Jan 2013 Anon. (n.d.). DAAT. Available: http://www.medway.gov.uk/communityandliving/communitysafety/drugsandalcoholactionteam.aspx. Last accessed 4th Jan 2013. Anon. (2012). high risk offenders. Available: http://www.highland.gov.uk/healthandsocialcare/criminaljusticeservices/highriskoffenders.htm. Last accessed 5th jan 2013.

Anon. (2012). Left realism and crime. Available: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/left_realism_crime.htm. Last accessed 6th Jan 2013.

Anon. (n.d.). what is community safety?. Available: http://www.csinfo.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&lay

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