Ask an Officer

Question: What are the ten principles of crime prevention? 

Answer: by Kate McLaughlin, Crime Prevention Specialist 

These principles provide a foundation for the types of crime prevention measures that can be taken by residents and businesses to protect property. When you understand the principles, you can think of your own property in a different way and make adjustments to increase safety.

1. Target hardening - making it physically more difficult to commit the crime such as:

  • Fitting better, stronger locks to your doors and windows
  • Replacing an ordinary entrance door with one that is certificated to enhanced security standards
  • Installing a retractable gate
  • Fitting a strong padlock and hasp to the shed or garage door

2. Target Removal - removing something from risk or from view such as:

  • Removing items of value from your parked car and putting the car in the garage
  • Putting things like jewelry, money and important documents into a fire safe or in a safety deposit box when you go on vacation
  • Not leaving a cell phone on a table when ordering food and drinks at the bar
  • Not hanging a purse on the back of a chair in a busy restaurant
  • Growing a climbing shrub over a repeatedly graffiti damaged wall

3. Removing the Means - criminals often need things to commit crime, so be aware of:

  • Not showing others your PIN when using a debit card
  • Keeping passwords hidden
  • Removing lawn chairs and grills so they can’t be used as a climbing aid to break into your house
  • Turning of the ignition and locking car doors at the gas station
  • Not leaving gardens tools lying around the garden

4. Reducing the Pay-Off -reducing the profit the thief can make from the crime which includes:

  • Marking your property in such a way that others will not want to purchase the item from the thief
  • Not buying property you believe or suspect to be stolen
  • Displaying empty boxes in shop windows
  • Using dye alarms in cash carrying cases and dye alarm tags on clothing

5. Access Control - prevent the criminal from gaining access to the target

  • Making sure you lock your doors and windows
  • Making sure that car doors and windows are locked
  • Having a tall fence around the yard with climbing prickly shrubs and a well-locked gate
  • Adding an access control system to the main entrance
  • Employing a security guard

6. Surveillance – improve visibility so criminals can be seen at all times by:

  • Ensuring that the front hedge is not so high that close approaches to the front of the house can’t be seen from the road or by the neighbors
  • Employing security officers to patrol an office complex or shopping center
  • Installing a monitored security system
  • Establishing neighborhood block watch
  • Training employees how to challenge strangers in their building or on the site
  • Not filling a shop window up with so many posters that people on the street cannot look in

7. Environmental Change - improving the condition and appearance of streets and open spaces so that the area has the impression of being looked after by the local inhabitants which is achieved by:

  • Cutting the grass on vacant properties
  • Introducing new plantings and fencing
  • Cleaning away graffiti within 48 hours
  • Picking up trash and litter regularly
  • Improving the street lighting

8. Rule Setting – discipline and rules should be set which might include:

  • Agreeing on some routines with the family, such as the last person going out of an evening leaves plenty of lights on and makes sure that everything is locked up
  • Informing visitors arriving in an office car park to report to the reception desk and to wear a visitor’s badge during their visit.
  • Displaying a ‘No Solicitors” sign or a ‘We do not buy goods at the door’ sign on your door or window
  • Displaying signs such as ‘No Trespassers’, ‘No Access Beyond this Point’ and ‘No Smoking’ etc.

9. Increasing the Chances of Being Caught – employ measures specifically intended to track down and catch the criminal such as:

  • Using alarm tags on clothing to trigger an alarm to catch shoplifters
  • Using tracking software in a PC or laptop so that its new location will be covertly signaled to a monitoring station
  • Using tracking devices on vehicles that can discover the vehicle’s location should it be stolen
  • Using appropriate security lighting to illuminate potential thieves
  • Employing shop-lifting security guards

10. Deflecting Offenders – this approach is varied and can include:

  • The use of timer switches to make your home look occupied when you’re away on holiday
  • Having a dog for a pet that barks at intruders
  • Referring drug users to drug rehabilitation programs in order to stop them stealing to fund their habit
  • Making certain streets ‘one-way’ for vehicles
  • Introducing parking restrictions

Kate McLaughlin

I am the Community Policing Specialist at the Euclid Police Department.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 4:06 PM, 01.15.2018