There is a lot you can do outside your home and family to prevent crime. There is action you can take either by getting together with other people, or by incorporating crime prevention awareness into your work or leisure activities. Not everyone will want to take the lead - being an active supporter is important too. There are lots of ways in which you can be involved, some of them are shown here.
Consumer power and crime prevention
Many products and services supplied by companies are designed or provided with little or no regard being paid to crime prevention. An effective way to make them think again is to take into account the possible crime implications when you decide to buy any product or service. If you have a choice between two similar products, but one has security designed into it and the other hasnt, buy the one which has. If enough people do the same, the other manufacturer will soon redesign its product. Areas in which a crime-conscious consumer could exert effective influence include:
- Housing: if you are buying a new house, ask the builders to fit window locks, deadlocks and strong doors.
- Building Design: developers and local authorities should demand that new developments like housing estates shopping precincts and car parks are designed to minimize the opportunities for criminals.
- Schools: vandalism costs schools dearly - for example, between five and ten per cent of some education authorities maintenance budgets are spent repairing vandalism damage. The money could be spent elsewhere by reducing vandalism through good design, sensible security measures and better management practices. Ask what your childrens school is doing to prevent vandalism.
- Home Insurance: does your insurance company offer discounts on home insurance if you are a member of a Neighborhood Watch? If not, write to the managing director and ask why not.
- Loans for Improving Security: some groups will increase your mortgage so you can pay for security improvements to your home. You should bear this in mind when choosing a lender.
- Cars: look for security features like deadlocks, alarms and security-coded radio/cassettes. Car manufacturers will fit them as standard equipment if they believe there is a demand. Ask the dealer about window etching.
- Bicycles: when buying a bicycle, get the best lock you can afford.
- Financial Services: when you open a bank account, or apply for a credit or charge card, find out what security measures the company takes to protect you against fraud. Shop around for the best deal.
Many communities have a community club house where residents can get together. Other than the model homes and swimming pool, we do not have such a place. This does not mean that there are not any places we can meet to conduct community business. There are local churches, schools, the town hall, and the library.
Schools can tell their pupils about crime prevention. They can also take part in or organize crime prevention projects. Schools can make their facilities available outside school hours too, for example, voluntary groups working with young people.
Crime Prevention Officers
Crime Prevention Officers are full-time policemen and policewomen whose responsibilities also include giving advice on crime prevention. They are willing to meet with your groups.