Effective crime control and prevention

first_imgDear Editor,Professionals in the Criminal Justice field have long recognised the value of community based efforts in crime prevention and control. Widespread application of this concept to the streets and neighbourhoods of local communities throughout the nation represents a new thirst in the search for approaches to combat illegal activities. Implicit in this trend is the idea that Guyanese can no longer rest on the comfortable assumption that the establishment of institutional machinery to deal with crime constitutes an adequate response to the problem.The continuing evidence of increasing criminal activities has made it clear that our Courts, Police and Correctional Institutions cannot solve the problem alone. We cannot ask those in the Criminal Justice System to take full responsibility for a task demanding the concerted action of every individual, community, and institution in the country.Just as the causes of crime lie imbedded in the structure of the community, so does its solutions. The successes of a variety of local crime prevention programmes suggest that the necessary elements for effective programmes are available in most communities. What is most commonly lacking is the will to act and the knowledge of how to organise effective programmes.Citizens’ concerns about crime must be translated into action.Crime prevention must be given the same priority that environmental problems have received in recent years. It is incumbent upon professionals in the Criminal Justice System to align themselves with the community to develop the level of awareness necessary to spark widespread involvement in crime prevention activities.Responsibility for initiating action must also be accepted by leaders representing all segments of the Public and Private Sectors. Without energetic, local involvement, of the total community, the Criminal Justice System will inevitably fall even further behind in its crime control prevention and rehabilitation efforts.Ample opportunities exist for private sector participation. They begin in the home and extend through the entire social structure of the community. There is an abundance of evidence that delinquency and crime occurs with greater frequency where there is also poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and inadequate medical and recreational resources. Efforts to alleviate these and other conditions that contribute to criminal activities are necessary if a community is to have a significant impact on the total group of crime-related problems.These activities must be coordinated with programmes more directly concerned with the Criminal Justice System.Most desirable as a foundation for development of programmes and activities is an overall evaluation of our Criminal Justice System to identify priority needs. What also must be recognised and used to its advantage is the vast reservoir of skill and expertise that exists within the private sector of the community, labour, business, industry, churches, schools, private foundations, social agencies, clubs, organisations and private citizens can be called upon to supply manpower, funds and other resources.To begin with the Police can establish or actively assist Volunteer Neighbourhood Security Programmes that involves the public in neighbourhood crime prevention and reduction. Such programmes can include for example: 1) The marking and identification of personal property. 2) Instructing neighbourhood volunteers to telephone the Police concerning suspicious situations and to identify themselves as volunteers and provide necessary information. 3) Insuring that participating volunteers do not take enforcement action themselves. 4) When an arrest result from the volunteer’s information, the Police notifies him/her by telephone; and, 5) Acknowledgement through personal contact, telephone call or letter, of every person who provides information.Further the police can establish or assist in programmes that involve trade, business, industry and community participation in preventing and reducing commercial crimes. Next the police can seek the enactment ordinances that establish minimum security standards for all new construction and for existing commercial structures.Finally the Police can create a specialised unit to provide support services to a jurisdiction wide coordination of the agency’s crime prevention programmes. Such programmes are usually best operationally decentralised.Yours respectfully,Allan R Gateslast_img read more

Read More »