As expected, my driveway is ready to shovel again and the temperature is very low. I hope the new year finds everyone happy and focused on providing a good place for people to work and play.
I thought this time I would review a little of Crime Prevention History for those of you who are new to the field and concepts. Crime Prevention as we know it has evolved a great deal since it's inception in the United States. It's roots can be, like law enforcement, traced to the Metropolitan Police Act in London that started the first formal police - "the Bobbies". When Scotland Yard was founded it was supposed that the advancement of police officers was going to be based solely on the absence of crime in their areas. But, alas, as we see in America, policing has never caught up with the various crime waves that have confronted them and absence of crime is not happening. Later in the 20th Century the insurance industry in England began encouraging businesses to take precautions against commercial (business related) crime. That worked for them and when the focus was transported to America the problem was residential crime and so the United States in the 60's began residential crime prevention programs (block watch or neighborhood watch). The University of Louisville with a LEAA Grant started the National Crime Prevention Institute and the Department of Justice helped start the National Crime Prevention Council.
The early definition of Crime Prevention was "the Anticipation, Recognition and appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of some action to remove or reduce that risk". I think it's a good definition although it's been expanded beyond the law enforcement function to include many other organizations and individuals. Actually as a byline "Crime Prevention is Everyone's Business" is pretty true to what we see today. Law Enforcement in Montana hasn't had the ability to have specialty units like some big cities have and so Crime Prevention is not often built into agencies here. I can only think of a few departments (mostly in populated areas) that have crime prevention officers.
Because of the advent of the concept of Community Oriented Policing I believe additional, mostly non-profit organizations have taken a role in crime prevention. I recently attended the ICA conference in Calgary, Alberta CANADA and met people from South America (Mexico, Chile, Guatemala) who were teaching school children CPTED and having them involved in re-designing their schools to make them safer.
Unfortunately, with as many people who are involved in crime prevention, they are not connected and seem to be doing everything in a vacuum. The goal of the Montana Crime Prevention Association is to connect some of these people. My true belief is that communities solve community problems and that working together we can do a better job than any of us independently. A good example was a program with the Bellevue Police Department when I was there. It was a domestic violence program that involved the Police, the Courts, Probation, Eastside Mental Health Center and Eastside Domestic Violence Program. It was a stipulated order of continuance program and these folks met quarterly for several years and the results were astounding. They required the arrest of anyone suspected of domestic violence if the attack occurred within four hours of the report. With this program the suspect was incarcerated for 24 hours. This gave them time to think (since most of the people arrested in Bellevue weren't used to going to jail) and it gave the victim time to breath and be visited by an outreach worker from EDVP to review his/her options. The keys were to keep the suspect in jail for 24 hours and to have a pre-sentence evaluation done at the arraignment. Since there was only one probation officer it required probation to put together a 100 person volunteer staff to conduct daily arraignments. It also required the judges on some occasions to raise the bail so the suspect stayed in jail for 24 hours. Finally, it required EMHC to create batterer's counseling, since anger management doesn't work for batterers. (In fact anger management actually teaches the batterer better ways to control the victim.) The results of two different studies after the beginning of the program showed that the recidivism rate for those who completed the program was 2%. The community together had done a good job at providing a solution for a long time problem.
I hope if you are interested in this type of information you will continue to visit our web site and hopefully take advantage of some of the training opportunities, web sites and other features of it.
Alex E. Ward, CPP
Board Certified in Security Management (American Society for Industrial Security)
MCPA in conjunction with the Yellowstone County DUI Task Force and Q2 produced these DUI PSA's. They paint a sad picture of DUI in Montana and have been viewed on television as well as on you tube. This is one way we can educate folks as to things they need to know about crime.