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New Direction in Crime Prevention

NCJ Number
National Sheriff Volume: 39 Issue: 2 Dated: (April-May 1988) Pages: 42-43,47,48,49
R B Abell
Date Published
5 pages
This article discusses the role of the community in crime prevention.
The history of law enforcement-community cooperation in America dates back to colonial times. However, with crime rates soaring, it has come too far from the early concept of citizen participation in crime control. In 1972, the National Neighborhood Watch Program was established to teach citizens how to protect their homes and property from burglary and theft and to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods to law enforcement authorities. In addition, the National Citizens Crime Prevention campaign was launched to offer simple crime prevention tips on home, business, and personal safety, and to encourage citizens to form or expand local crime prevention and community improvement organizations. 'McGruff,' the hound who acts as spokesdog for the campaign, is recognized by millions of adults and children in the United States. The results of the campaign have been that: (1) more people participate in Neighborhood Watch Programs, (2) more people use crime prevention measures, (3) crime has dropped in Neighborhood Watch areas, (4) citizen fear of crime has been reduced and attitudes toward police improved, and (5) crime victimization has gone down while the rate of reported crime has gone up. Because of this success, the campaign has expanded to tackle the problems of child and drug abuse. Teachers and local law enforcement officers use McGruff puppets to teach elementary school children about crime prevention, personal safety, and substance abuse.