What is Crime Prevention?

Misty Amber Brighton

Crime prevention is the process of trying to reduce the amount of crime in a given area. It might involve increasing the amount of security in certain places or trying to improve impoverished neighborhoods. Educating citizens could also be a part of this initiative. Trying to get the public involved in observing the happenings and reporting them to police is typically another aspect of crime prevention.

Police officers on foot patrol.
Police officers on foot patrol.

Some jurisdictions feel that adding more police officers to a particular area can aid in public safety. This is because criminals may not feel comfortable committing crimes if they are afraid they might get caught. Having security officers patrol businesses, apartment complexes, and city parks is generally another form of crime prevention.

Crime prevention can include cleaning up an area, including removing graffiti.
Crime prevention can include cleaning up an area, including removing graffiti.

Many people feel that the condition of a particular neighborhood plays a part in the amount of crime committed there. For this reason, there are many groups that work to fix up buildings in areas that may have previously been neglected. This could involve making repairs to buildings, cutting down weeds, and cleaning up trash. It might also include making improvements to streets and sidewalks as well as adding curbside lighting. Painting or removing graffiti from public buildings is often also done to clean up the area.

Crime prevention may include the employment of security officers to patrol businesses.
Crime prevention may include the employment of security officers to patrol businesses.

Education can be another element of crime prevention. Many times, those who drop out of school can easily be persuaded to join gangs or abuse drugs. Convincing youth to remain in school and receive an education could eliminate this vulnerability and consequently reduce the possibility of young people going to jail in the future.

Another way that education works as a tool for crime prevention is by trying to prevent certain behaviors in the first place. This could be drinking and driving for example. A special interest group may run an ad campaign on radio, television, or billboards in order to attempt to stop people from performing criminal acts.

Neighborhood watch groups are also a form of crime prevention. This is because they often serve to prevent burglaries in their own neighborhoods. They can also alert police to an incident that is underway so that there might be a better chance the perpetrator can be arrested.

Criminal activity affects people mentally, economically, physically, and socially. This can mean that preventing the occurrence of crime can benefit society by reducing the number of victims as well as the amount of assistance people need. These factors make crime prevention a good idea whether in a rural or urban environment.

Judges might give harsher sentences to habitual offenders in an effort to prevent crime.
Judges might give harsher sentences to habitual offenders in an effort to prevent crime.

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Discussion Comments


I heard about a great youth project on TV that helped reduce crime in an area. Most youth crimes happen in cities I think because of poverty, and criminal groups that attract young men and women and keep them away from school. Some of them probably join because they are bored and have nothing to do.

That's why in one neighborhood, they had areas made for youth to hang out, play sports and exercise. Apparently, this is what they wanted! They saw crime rates go down with this project.

Another great idea is to get youth to participate in other neighborhood projects, like helping with the community garden, being part of a neighborhood sports team or club. If they find something better to do with their time and if they see that they are benefiting their own community- their family and friends- I think it will pull them away from crime. What do you think?


I completely agree that education is extremely important if we want to prevent crime.

Something else that is very important, but that is applicable for all crime, nation-wide, is deterrence. If the punishments for crimes are appropriate for that crime (not too harsh or too little), then it will be a deterrent.

If we are not catching criminals and if their punishment is not severe enough to deter them, I think they will keep committing crimes.


Crime is such a complex thing to understand. I don't think that it's easy to pinpoint why crime is happening or increasing in an area. But I would assume that is the first step to prevention. If you can find the reason for it, you can do something about it.

I have personally experienced an increase in crime at my town in the Midwest. My town was a very calm place five years ago and we had less than one percent of crime. Several years ago though, new residents started moving in from a nearby city looking for work. Crime rates went up after this.

Now, I don't know if this is the only reason for it. But it's the only change we can think of during the same time period. The city has increased the number of police officers and they patrol regularly in the neighborhoods. But crime rates have still not gone down. There is an incident of theft or a shooting every week and maybe even more than that.

I don't know what the city is going to do next to reduce crime. But it looks like it's going to be a hard problem to resolve.

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