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CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT IN CRIME PREVENTION

NCJ Number
38925
Author(s)
G S WASHNIS
Date Published
1976
Annotation
BASED ON A REVIEW OF 37 SPECIFIC PROJECTS AND A SURVEY OF PROGRAMS IN 100 OF THE LARGEST U.S. CITIES, THIS TEXT DESCRIBES SEVERAL TYPES OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT PROJECTS AND OUTLINES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF EACH APPROACH.
Abstract
MORE THAN IN ANY PAST YEARS, POLICE OFFICIALS AND CRIMINOLOGISTS BELIEVE THAT ACTIVE AND SERIOUS CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT IS ESSENTIAL IF CRIME IS TO BE SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED. HOWEVER, CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY EXISTS ABOUT THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE PUBLIC SHOULD BE INVOLVED, ABOUT WHAT THE PUBLIC IS CAPABLE OF DOING, AND ABOUT THE DEGREE TO WHICH PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CAN AFFECT THE REDUCTION OF CRIME AND FEAR. TO ANSWER SOME OF THESE UNCERTAINTIES, THIS TEXT DESCRIBES THE MULTIPLE WAYS IN WHICH CITIZENS ASSIST POLICE AND WAYS IN WHICH POLICE COOPERATE AND WORK WITH CITIZENS, AS WELL AS THE SUCCESSES AND SHORTCOMINGS OF THESE EFFORTS. SPECIFICALLY, THIS TEXT CONCENTRATES ON CITIZENS WORKING WITH POLICE, RATHER THAN OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. THE FINDINGS REPORTED IN THIS BOOK ARE BASED ON A STUDY UNDERTAKEN BY THE CENTER FOR GOVERNMENTAL STUDIES WITH FINANCING FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE. SOME 37 POLICE-COMUNITY INVOLVEMENT PROJECTS WERE REVIEWED IN SEVENTEEN CITIES, AND A NATIONAL SURVEY WAS ALSO CONDUCTED TO DETERMINE WHICH CITIES HAD THE MOST MEANINGFUL PROGRAMS. A 100 PERCENT COMPLETION WAS OBTAINED THROUGH QUESTIONNARES AND PHONE INQUIRIES OF THE 100 LARGEST CITIES. IN ADDITION, THE OPINIONS OF BLOCK LEADERS WERE SAMPLED IN THREE CITIES IN REGARD TO CRIME AND FEAR AND EFFICACY OF LOCAL PROGRAMS. USING THE RESULTS OF THIS RESEARCH, THE TEXT EXAMINES CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT IN FIVE MAJOR AREAS OF POLICE AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES. THE FIRST TYPE OF INVOLVEMENT REVIEWED IS CITIZEN BLOCK ASSOCIATIONS, WHICH PERFORM AS THE EYES AND EARS FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ENGAGE IN HOME SECURITY, WALKING PATROLS, AND RELATED ACTIVITIES. SECOND, THE AUTHOR DISCUSSES THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF MOBILE PATROLS. THE THIRD CATEGORY DESCRIBES SPECIAL PROJECTS INVOLVING HIGH-RISE SECURITY, EMPLOYEE AND CHILD SAFETY, YOUTH AND TAXI PATROLS, AND UNIFORMED AND PAID CIVILIAN FORCES. THE FOURTH AREA OF DISCUSSION IS POLICE-COMMUNITY COUNCILS, METHODS OF OPERATION, AND DEGREE OF ACCEPTANCE BY POLICE. THE FIFTH REVIEW GROUP IS CITYWIDE ANTICRIME CRUSADES AND THEIR PURPOSES AND RELATIONSHIPS TO BLOCK ASSOCIATIONS AND COMMUNITY COUNCILS. IN ADDITION, THE AUTHOR DISCUSSES THE METHODS AND DESIRABILITY OF PRIVATE FUNDING TO ASSIST POLICE DEPARTMENTS. FINALLY, THE ELEMENTS OF A CRIME PREVENTION PLAN FOR POLICE DEPARTMENTS ARE OUTLINED, AND WAYS ARE SUGGESTED TO IMPLEMENT THESE CONCEPTS IN BOTH LARGE AND SMALL CITIES AND COUNTIES. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED) (SNI ABSTRACT)...DMC