The Crime Prevention Unit

A. Spencer Wilcox Proprietor

Enter here all who wish to be crime free.

When there is crime in society, there can be no justice.
--Plato

In order for Crime to occur, three elements must be present. These are

  • Desire
  • Ability
  • Opportunity

These elements of crime are usually depicted in a triangle.

As with any triangle, if a single leg is missing, a triangle cannot be formed. This holds true in regard to crime as well. If any one of these is missing, no crime will occur.

The main objective of Crime Prevention is to reduce the opportunity for crime, thereby reducing the likelihood that crime will occur. In our " Elements of Crime" Triangle, by removing any one of the legs of the triangle, one removes the crime. One can remove the desire to commit a crime by educating. One can remove the ability to commit a crime by incarcerating, and one can remove the opportunity to commit a crime by target-hardening. Effective Crime Prevention incorporates all of these things.

Travelzoo Hot Deal

Removing the Desire To Commit A Crime

H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft):
In Virginia Call: 1-800-947-HEAT

Removing The Ability To Commit a Crime

There is a great deal of information out there about corrections. However, I think it is becoming more and more obvious that corrections is not the solution to the Crime problem. It is currently still vital to the system, and is necessary to have around, yet, it is not the solution to the problem. All it is capable of doing is to remove the ability to perform the crime for a short length of time while the offender is incarcerated.

  • Incarceration
  • Electronic Home Incarceration

The primary purpose of the Crime Prevention Unit is to help people reduce the opportunity to be victimized by crime.

Removing The Opportunity to Commit a Crime

There are three ways to do this, these are:

  • Naturally: by utilizing Environmental Measures to reduce the opportunity for crime.
  • Organized Measures: By using such things as:
    • Neighborhood Watch
    • Resident Patrols (Citizens On Patrol)
    • Police Patrolling (High Visibility Patrolling)
    • Crime Prevention Planning Committees
    • Parking decals, and Resident ID cards,

to increase the amount of citizen involvement thereby reducing crime.

  • Target Hardening: to decrease the ability of the criminal to physically cause damage by such means as:

(Note: Many of these links lead to an index of construction material manufacturers.
The Crime Prevention Unit does not necessarily recommend any brand name advertised in any of these pages, however, one should remember one usually gets what one pays for.)

Any of these means may be used in performing Crime Prevention. However, the most important part of Crime Prevention is commitment. It is necessary to devote resources, manpower, and most importantly money when undertaking this project. In fact, many agencies do not do so, and the Crime Prevention program falls flat on its face.

It is important to recognize that Crime Prevention is by definition the practice of preventing crime from occurring. Often, law enforcement is stuck with the mentality that

"Our job is to catch the bad guy, and put him in jail."

Think about it this way: if the crime is prevented, then it is not necessary to arrest anyone. Unfortunately, in an age that requires statistical fact, it is difficult to measure the number of crimes one has prevented. The only way one can effectively do this is to study the performance of Crime Prevention over a period of several years. If one can determine a noticeable drop in crime either through a noticeable change in UCR (Uniform Crime Reports) percentages, or through crime analysis conducted interdepartmentally, then one can be fairly certain that the crime rate has decreased. When one provides education and prevention programs to certain crime prone areas, and sees a decrease in crime in those areas, one can be fairly certain what to attribute that decrease to.

For some other really great sources of information on Crime Prevention check these links:

Sheriff Brass' Crime Prevention Unit is sponsored in part by all of the following companies who have donated their services, their drive space, or their money. Special thanks go to Geocities , the Virginia Crime Prevention Association, and the Department of Criminal Justice Services without whom I would never have had the information or knowledge to write this page.


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Spencer Wilcox

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"Brass" 1999

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