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Five Principles of Crime Prevention

While governments and law enforcement agencies work diligently to reduce and prevent crime, the relentless progress in the creativity and resourcefulness of criminals poses an immense challenge. Crime prevention has grown into an even bigger problem post the technological revolution, which has opened up an entirely new wing of criminal activity known as cybercrime. The opening of such new avenues for illegal activity has tied the hands of the justice system, as citizens today are susceptible to various criminal attacks every minute of the day.

In light of the same, as individuals, it falls upon us to act in self-preservation and protect ourselves against potential criminal activity using the principles of crime prevention. As a society, we must understand these principles and use crime prevention strategies to ensure our safety and the safety of our loved ones. As a responsible citizen and a law-abiding member of society, you must familiarize yourself with these principles to better protect yourself and your loved ones against crime.

Crime prevention strategies are developed using experts’ advice and knowledge to create community awareness and apply preventive measures. These experts are also called criminal justice professionals working at different levels. They are experienced, trained, and highly qualified to devise strategies to prevent crime. Those holding advanced degrees, such as MSN Criminal Justice, are well-trained to evaluate how the criminal mind works. 

Today, we will discuss principles of crime prevention that are used for developing effective initiatives and strategies for preventing criminal activities. Also, we will discuss what you can do to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of criminal activities.

Target Hardening

Target hardening is the first principle of crime prevention. It makes it difficult for the criminal to attack the target, be it you, your home, your car, and other assets. You must start by assessing potential risk areas around you. It can be a broken window latch in your office or a password of your e-banking account you haven’t changed in a few years. You can harden the target and prevent crime by fixing the latch and creating a stronger password. Here are a few examples of things you can do for target hardening:

  • Ensure all the locks and latches in your office, home, and car are functional, and replace damaged ones.
  • Regularly change your online passwords for e-mail accounts, banking applications, and other sensitive profiles, and always use new and strong passwords.
  • Install sash jammers to doors and windows to make it harder for criminals to break into your property.

Target Removal

Right after target hardening is target removal. It is another crime prevention principle that makes it difficult for the criminal to reach the target. In target removal, the mark is removed from a place vulnerable to attack and made harder to locate. For instance, jewelry shop owners in crime-prone areas tend to remove the articles from the front window display before closing up shop for the night. You can potentially prevent crime by hiding and removing the target from view. Here’s how you can practice target removal:

  • Store your valuables in a safe or bank locker. 
  • Don’t carry money, credit cards, or your wallet in your back pocket.
  • Ensure your privacy is not compromised by being mindful of your social media posting.

Reducing the Means

The next principle on our list is reducing the means to commit a crime. That means ensuring that you neither consciously nor unconsciously provide any resources to criminals. For instance, let’s suppose there are two identical houses on the street, and one has a ladder left leading to the attic window, while the other house has no such item in view. If a robber were to consider breaking in, they would be much more likely to pick the place with the ladder as it is easier to gain access to that house than the other one. In other words, the homeowner of the ladder house gave the criminal the means to commit a crime. Here is how you can avoid making the same mistake as the ladder house owner:

  • Remove ladders, garden tools, and wheelie bins from your front and backyard.
  • Avoid stashing a spare key in fairly obvious places, such as under a plant pot, front mat, or a rock near your entrance.
  • Ensure you don’t share your passwords or other sensitive information with anybody, especially via SMS or WhatsApp.

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Surveillance is another effective principle of crime prevention. Whenever a criminal engages in criminal activity, their primary goal, other than committing the crime, is not to get caught. Surveillance is a tool that guarantees that a criminal will be caught, so properties with surveillance are less likely to be chosen as targets for criminal activity. Unlike the previous three principles, the implementation of surveillance comes with a cost. However, the safety and peace of mind that comes with it make it a worthy investment. Here are simple ways in which you can use surveillance for crime prevention:

  • Install CCTV cameras around the exterior of your property. For enhanced safety, make sure you choose cameras with motion sensor detectors.
  • Hire a night security guard for your office building.
  • Get together with your residents’ association and establish a neighborhood watch.

Increase the Chances of Getting Caught

The last principle on our list is similar to surveillance, except it is used after the crime has been committed. As we’ve discussed above, criminals don’t want to get caught. Ensuring they are held accountable can stop them from committing more crimes and help further the crime prevention goals. Here is how you can ensure that criminals get caught:

  • Install tracking devices to your car and devices such as laptops and smartphones so it can be easy to access the location of the criminal.
  • Invest in a smoke-generating intruder alarm for your property so it becomes harder for the criminal to leave the premises after breaking in.
  • Install secret CCTV cameras in birdhouses and silent alarms so the criminal does not know the authorities have been informed.

Final Thoughts

Crime prevention is the responsibility of every citizen. As members of society, we must do what we can to rid our communities of this evil. The above five principles are extremely crucial for crime prevention, and by using these in your daily lives, you can significantly lower your risk of falling victim to criminal activity.