Police have historically focused their attentions on dealing with the likely offenders through detecting, arresting and incarcerating criminals. But the Crime Triangle theory demonstrates that it doesn't really matter which side of the triangle you dismantle to stop a crime from occurring. If you can convince potential victims to protect themselves from criminals by what is often called "increasing guardianship" then you will prevent a crime from occurring just as you would by locking up an offender.
Police have often encouraged members of the communities they serve to participate in crime prevention programs or neighborhood watch programs. When properly utilized, these programs can make communities safer.
The Austin American Statesman had a piece this weekend about a man in Austin who has taken this type of engagement to a new level by becoming a neighborhood crime analyst in his community and provide crime stats and other data via his online website.
"My core value is: Working together, let's make Austin the safest city in the nation," said Darby, 61. He said the mission is audacious but he hopes his website encourages community policing.
Darby said his database is a modest version of Compstat, a widely copied program pioneered by the New York Police Department in the 1990s that uses crime-mapping software to pinpoint problem areas and manage law enforcement strategies.In the community where I work, we offer this kind of data through our online crime mapping service RAIDS Online. Interested members of our community can see an up to date map of where crimes were reported, run their own crime stats and even sign up for alerts. An informed citizen is much more likely to get involved in reducing crime by increasing guardianship over themselves and their neighborhood.
What is your agency doing to encourage citizens to become involved in dismantling the crime triangle?