In recent years focus has been directed towards prevention interventions at the places where crimes are most likely to take place rather than their implementations on all the places. The practitioners and crime scholars have impacted that there are certain places in every city which are known as hot spots which are small in area but are large in crime provisions. The interventions, if only focused on these areas, can readily reduce serious situations. However, there are some crimes that are not limited to certain areas like traffic violations. In order to provide better safety measures for the people living in such areas and other parts of the city, various interventions have been implemented in the police and civil departments that can somehow impact the overall decrement in the number of crimes that actually take place (Welsh, 45). This paper will discuss various types of interventions that are being currently being implemented at both official and private level.
In recent years various interventions have been made for the law enforcing authorities. It is true that police and other law enforcing authorities are reactive by nature and because they cannot know about what will be happening next, they can only predict which either can go right or as in most go wrong but any case their assumptions are integral part of their decisions. Therefore the law enforcing authorities must need some extra facilities that can be used by them in order to minimize the chances of law breaking. Such kind of intervention is the placing of cameras around the streets. Though, traffic violations can take place in any part of the city, so these cameras can not only monitor the traffic violations but can also keep an eye on the events that are shaping around the corner. This has helped law enforcing authorities greatly in recent times because of these cameras the identification of criminals becomes very easy. More importantly this intervention has worked. Various people state that this greatly impact the privacy of the individuals but if it has worked for the authorities than there is no problem in continuing this practice. The use of cameras in hot spots has been even more beneficial in helping the crime because criminals know that their actions are being watched.
Apart from camera positioning of the streets, the use of GIS has been very influential as well. GIS, is a geographic information system which is computer based and helps the authorities to plan out a map of the city with exact information about the type of geography of that area (Leipnik, 103). The information that is achieved from the databases and from the records most of the times is not enough, therefore GIS helps in strategic planning of environments. GIS provides visual and spatial information on the spreadsheets allowing authorities to integrate more informed information about the environment that can critically help them gaining the advantage over criminals and their criminal activities (Leipnik, 97). The planning of emergency response becomes lot more easily with all the routes effectively being displayed. In fact as described above, this can also allow them to predict the migration priorities of the criminals by analyzing historical aspects as well. GIS has become an important aspect of the current world where it was firstly used by the environmental engineers to study the behavior of any specific land but law enforcing authorities have been able to change their focus from being laggards to active. The informational age now requires that every person should be informed of the issues that are happening around them and in this case law enforcing authorities should be the first one to react in these situations. The first GIS system was installed in the Santa Clara County in California which had 15 cities and a population of more than 1.6 million. The county had the problem with sharing of the information and the criminals easily fled from one city to another without even being caught. The crime analysis was developed that focused on all the cities of the county and internet was used to share the information between the law enforcing authorities of all the system. The GIS provided them with the probable analysis of the locations that were safe for the criminals and helped in planning and carrying out operations when needed.
The above diagram shows the display of the GIS system. This system is a part of Crime Analysis Program initiated by Santa Clara County in 2002.
Crime Prevention through Environmental Design abbreviated as CPTED is another intervention that has been recently taking place in many areas. This technique is based on the analysis of the probable behaviors of the criminals after the crime has been committed. Research shows that the criminals’ fear of being caught and apprehended most of the times makes it difficult to him to escape. The research focused on criminal behavior has distinctively helped out how the homes and other environments can be designed that can minimize the chances of crime and provide better measures to even catch the criminals after the crime. There are three types of CPTED that being currently used which are natural surveillance, natural territorial reinforcement and natural access control (Crowe, 67). All three of these techniques are based on the making criminals becoming vulnerable to being apprehended easily thus a criminal will think twice before the commitment of crime.
The natural surveillance system is based on the acute designing of homes so that the environment should not become invisible to the others. Natural surveillance increases the threat of being caught because of the open environment which can make him visible to the outside world. This includes the placing of the windows overlooking sidewalks and around parking lots, leaving window shades open, usage of short fence that could not limit the vision and the use of transparent vestibules on the entrance (Crowe, 76). The main purpose therefore of this intervention is to allow the people passing by to observe what is happening in the house.
The second type is the natural territorial reinforcement whose main purpose is to increase the level of ownerships around the facility. It is observed that the owners of the house feel more secure if they think that the area around their home belongs to them. The placing of fence, sign boards limiting passing of trespassers, different kinds of warning lights and pavements play an important role in increasing the responsibility of the house owner and therefore allowing them to work as a watchdog.
The third type CPTED is the natural access control. In this intervention emphasis is placed on the separation of public place and private place. The designing of the environment requires that point of entries should be limited, most times to one and the other areas are fully quarantined by placing lights, signboards and fences. This helps in determining the potential criminal because if he enters from the front, he will be easily recognized and if he crosses any other part of the surrounding, the alarm and light may go on critically restricting the criminal access to the house. The interventions that are being placed under CPTED were first designed by C. Rey Jeffery in 2004, though these precautionary measure still took place on individual basis before that but after 2004 it has become a very important in regards to the limiting the access of criminals privately (Crowe, 141). The results have shown that due to these interventions by house owners, the rate of crimes in those areas has decreased to minimal level as the probability of being caught increases.
The positioning of the emergency lights is considered as an important part of the intervention that is being implemented in homes. However, there are some serious implications that should be carefully studied before the installation of these lights. Most of the times, it is observed that the bright lightings are installed. Because of the bright light the observers cannot even determine that the light is on or off. The darker color lights play more important role and should be preferred.
The above analysis focused on the various interventions that are being carried out currently both at the government and private level. The detailed discussion describes that the stoppage of the occurrence of crimes is still not possible, though the probabilities of the crime can be minimized by the effective use of the interventions. Whether it is the use of the traffic cameras for monitoring or the use of GIS for the better emergency planning, all only play effective role to certain extent, i.e. in just assuming and predicting of what is next to come. But the law enforcing authorities have to be active as there are thousands of other people who are always at direct risks. The interventions therefore can be stated easily are very helpful in restricting the crimes but they cannot guarantee that whether the crime will even take place or not. Comparing these interventions, it is difficult to point out one single intervention that is perfect because these are all but safety measures and proactive actions. Still, however, the presence of CPTED seems better just because it is implemented at the private level where individuals start to take more responsibility for preserving themselves and their families. Other interventions are mostly directed towards the law enforcing authorities.
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