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Back to Archives | Back to July 2006 Contents 

Leadership, Crime prevention, and Community Outreach Programs

By the IACP Crime Prevention Committee

rime prevention is not the exclusive province of law enforcement agencies, but because the police have the responsibility for dealing with crime where, when, and as it occurs, there is a tendency to think of crime control as exclusively police work. The fact is that even under the most favorable circumstances the ability of the police to act to prevent crime is limited. The police did not create and cannot resolve the social conditions that stimulate crime. The police do not enact the laws that they are required to enforce, nor do they dispose of the criminals arrested. The police are only one part of the criminal justice system; the criminal justice system is only one part of the government; and the government is only one part of society. Crime is a social phenomenon and crime prevention is the responsibility of every part of society.

Policing cannot solve the problems of increasing criminality unless supplemented by preventive measures. Most police departments face a shortage of resources including personnel, appropriate budgets, and equipment. Preventing and reducing crime has become more than just a goal; it is a necessity for all agencies, regardless of size.

Leadership is the key element in crime prevention in any community. To successfully abate crime, police executives must take a unified, inclusive approach with key members of the community. Business leaders, government leaders, churches, neighborhood groups, minority groups, schools, civic clubs, and others specific to the community all have crucial role in crime prevention. Without the leadership of law enforcement, however, crime prevention cannot be accomplished.

Following are several examples of law enforcement agencies that have taken a leadership position and are increasing their presence in the community and their partnership with the citizens they serve. They are implementing crime prevention measures and experiencing successes every day. These programs can be transferred to other departments very easily.



From The Police Chief, vol. 73, no. 7, July 2006. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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