Crime prevention is closely connected to community policing goals. Crime prevention is
the anticipation, recognition, and assessment of crime risk and the start of action to
eliminate or reduce it (Schmalleger, 2012). Some of the techniques used by police
Targeting access control (reduce access to areas to commit crimes—people,
lighting, cameras, fencing, locks)
Surveillance (monitoring behavior, activities, and information)
Theft-deterrent devices (monitoring, cameras, alarms)
Prevention programs are organized, focused resources to reduce a specific form
of criminal threat. Some of these programs target school-based crime, gang
activity, drug abuse, violence, and domestic abuse. Sometimes community
partners include Neighborhood Watch and Crime Stoppers USA (Schmalleger,
Many large police departments invest a lot of resources in their crime prevention
units. The New York City Police Department has a Crime Prevention Section that
provides information, crime reduction programs, and outreach programs. These
services help to reduce crime and reduce the fear of crime through a working
relationship between the community and the police. The Crime Prevention
Section became part of the Community Affairs Bureau in the NYPD in 2006.
Community policing is a return to an earlier style of policing, in which officers on
the "beat" had close contact with the people they served. Community policing can
be a specific program within a police department or a department model.
Community policing is important because it promotes interaction between the
officers and citizens. It gives officers the time to meet with local residents to talk
about crime in the neighborhood and to use brain storming to solve problems.
There are challenges with community policing:
Sometimes there is difficult in defining the "community."
Some departments also have a difficult time choosing the roles for officers.
A change in the attitudes of the officers and supervisors who are not familiar with
the community policing model.
The challenge of many times citizens do not want to be involved with the police.