Crime prevention in business districts works!

Crime in America.Net

One of the frustrations of people in the crime prevention community is the lost of interest in neighborhood anti-crime efforts.

In an earlier post, we wrote “There were a few national evaluations showing declines in crime via neighborhood watch and a ton of police departments stated that neighborhood watch produced reductions in crime. Strong evidence suggested that fear of crime dropped considerably. Target hardening efforts (good doors, windows and locks) also worked to reduced burglaries and violent crime. Data indicated that clean neighborhoods and Operation Identification (marking valuables) all worked to reduce crime.

If they all worked so well, then what happened to the concept? See

One of the biggest problems in neighborhood crime prevention efforts was keeping the interest of community members. Fortunately, this was not a problem with commercial areas. Business people know that safety and the perception of an orderly and clean business district was key to their livelihoods and key to perceptions of the surrounding community.

There were a considerable number of successful evaluations regarding reductions in commercial burglary, robbery and other crimes. If there was one aspect of successful community-based crime prevention efforts that withstood the test of time it was crime prevention in business districts.

See below for another example of a successful commercial crime prevention endeavor.

 The Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center

The Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center recently released an evaluation of Target’s Safe City Initiative. In 2003 the Target Corporation implemented its Safe City Initiative in the United States.

The initiative is a retail area-based crime prevention initiative modeled after a similar initiative employed in England. The Safe City Model brings together local law enforcement, retailers, community leaders, and civic organizations in an effort to increase safety in and around designated Safe City areas.

Two of the four jurisdictions successfully implemented the model. Communities with a strong grounding in community policing and past experiences engaging in partnerships between law enforcement and local businesses were the most successful in reducing crime, increasing public perceptions of safety and increasing participation. Further, successful sites incorporated both technology and traditional problem-solving, such as the use of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) measures.

The evaluation results appear to confirm the theory that strong police-community partnerships can yield effective interventions. The findings also emphasize the value of engaging in a problem-solving process grounded in Situational Crime Prevention theory, guiding the development of responses through a careful analysis of ways in which to increase the effort and risk and reduce the rewards of committing crime. The report, Evaluation of Target’s Safe City Initiative: Implementing Public-Private Partnerships to Address Crime in Retail Settings, is available at:


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