Principles of crime prevention

2016-07-05 06:00

WHEN considering crime reduction strategies to secure your home, car, garage, farm or business, use these ten principles as a checklist. Think of your survey as peeling through the layers of an onion. Start at the perimeter of the premises and work your way in to the centre of the building, considering all 10 principles at each layer.

You can also use this advice to approach improving security in your own home or the homes of vulnerable people in your community.

• Target hardening

Target hardening means making targets more resistant to attack or more difficult to remove or damage. A target is anything that an offender would want to steal or damage. It could be an object, property, person or in some cases an animal.

• Target removal

Quite simply this means making sure that any object in which a potential offender might be interested in is not visible. Target removal can be quite a simple process. Simply putting the car into the garage and locking it up is a good example of target removal.

• Remove the means to commit crime

The previous techniques are aimed at reducing the risks directly associated with the target. Removing the means to commit crime looks at the problem from a different point of view. Removing the means to commit crime means making sure that material capable of being used to help an offender commit a crime is not accessible. An example of removing the means to commit a crime is

locking up tools and gardening equipment.

• Reduce the payoff

Reduce the payoff means reducing the gain for the criminal if a crime is committed. Examples of this include

using a safe to reduce the amount of cash held in a till and locking away valuables like jewellery, etc.

• Access control

Access control means restricting access to sites, buildings or parts of sites and buildings.There are many forms of access control. Some of them are quite complex, but some are relatively simple. Examples include door locks (and making sure doors are shut) identity cards, not handing remotes to garden services.

• Visibility and/or surveillance

This principle is defined as making sure that offenders would be visible if they carried out a crime. Unlike any of the other principles, there are three types of surveillance, these are natural, formal, informal. Like all the other principles there is a range of methods and techniques that can be applied. Natural surveillance involves modifying the existing surroundings to increase visibility. It can include:

pruning or removing shrubbery, improving or installing lighting, changing the height of fences.

Formal surveillance uses technology or specialist staff who are employed or tasked to deter and identify actual or potential offenders. Some formal surveillance systems can be on a small scale, for example individual shops and premises. On the other hand, there are some large scale systems, such as city centre CCTV systems.

Informal or employee surveillance - this involves residents, employees and the community being encouraged to be vigilant and knowing what to do when they see a potential risk. For example receptionists, counter staff and office staff can be trained to spot potential problems. Procedures should be put in place to tell individuals or staff what to do if they see anything suspicious.

• Environmental design

Crime prevention using environmental design is a large topic. It involve changing the environment of a building, a site, an estate or a town to reduce opportunities for committing crime. The emphasis is on putting a range of preventive measures in place at the planning stage. Crime prevention through environmental design can be used in existing environments, or in new developments. It can include a whole range of features, such as:

Visibility, surveillance target hardening street and pathway lighting.

Crime prevention can be built into a new housing development at the planning stage.

For example all doors and windows must have good quality locks. Planting must be kept to a minimum to increase surveillance The estate should have an open design which also increases surveillance. A park will encourage people to circulate. There must be good street lighting and lighting outside each front door.

• Rule setting

Rule setting means the introduction of legislation, by-laws and codes of conduct, which set out what is acceptable behaviour. There are many types of rule setting, here a just a few - wearing ID badges. Internal rules within businesses.Local by-laws, such as those limiting consumption of alcohol in public places. Signs prohibiting access to buildings or certain areas in buildings. Requests to report to reception. Laws enacted by Parliament.

• Increase the chance of being caught

Anything that slows down an offender or increases their risk of being caught.

Preventive methods are more effective if the offender risks being caught. Anything that slows down an offender or increases the chance of detection is an effective method of prevention. This means that good target hardening increases the time it takes to enter a building and increases the chances of being spotted. The longer it takes to commit an offence, the more vulnerable the offender feels.

• Deflecting offenders

This is the final principle of crime prevention and means diverting the offenders and potential offenders from committing crime.

This involves agencies working with young people and offenders to influence standards, thinking and attitudes. The aim is to prevent potential offenders turning to crime.

Examples include education and schools programmes on drugs and crime. - Supplied.

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