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Police and Community Participation in Anti-Crime Programs (From Police Management Today, P 132-146, 1985, James J Fyfe, ed. - See NCJ-97876)

NCJ Number
R R Bennett; S Baxter
Date Published
15 pages
This assessment of community-based anticrime programs discusses the differences between crime control and crime prevention, presents a scheme for categorizing the types of community and anticrime activities, and describes characteristics that appear to lead to programs that participants define as successful.
Crime prevention efforts are directed toward root causes of crime, such as poverty and discrimination. On the other hand, crime control refers to reducing opportunities to commit crime. Crime control programs may show results in the short run, but a lasting reduction in crime depends on the prevention approach. While some organizations use both approaches, like the Midwood Kings Highway Development Corporation in Brooklyn, N.Y., most focus exclusively on crime control. These programs can be grouped according to level of interaction -whether the activity involves the individual or the neighborhood -- and by goals -- whether they seek to effect social or physical changes. Rigorous and formal evaluations of community programs have revealed little if any immediate decline in crime and no long-term reduction. Reducing crime, however, may not be the appropriate measure for assessing these programs. Many researchers feel that enhanced quality of life, less fear of crime and more neighborhood interaction, may be a significant benefit of community anticrime programs. From this perspective, a successful program must take the community into consideration because it must be tailored to the community's needs. The police are an integral part of neighborhood anticrime programs and innovative police partnerships with the community are cost effective and may dramatically affect citizens' attitudes toward their neighborhoods. Programs' activities can be diverse, but all must address certain organizational issues: a program should initially conduct a full-scale assessment of the community; it should periodically survey residents; and it must include activities intended to keep participants' interest and morale high. A chart and 31 footnotes are supplied.