Taking part in community crime prevention is a great way to meet your neighbors, and help make your community a safer place to live. Organized citizen participation in crime prevention usually begins with the opening of a Community Crime Prevention Office where people can meet with one another and the police to address local concerns. Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, the activities of an office include promoting crime prevention programs, collecting local crime statistics, referring people with every kind of problem to every kind of agency, sharing community information, conducting workshops, coordinating community clean-up days, and organizing other local projects.
Crime prevention offices are a part of a new strategy of community-based policing. The premise behind the strategy is that police need to do more than respond to incidents. They can be more effective if they spend more time on public awareness, partnerships with citizens, and local problem solving.
The most common problem with community crime prevention is too much police and not enough community.
Probably the best community building activity associated with crime prevention is foot patrols. They work to reduce drug dealers and prostitutes, because customers, fearing exposure, are frightened off by any visible community presence. But they also work to build community because foot patrols offer participants a lot of time to get to know one another. Often the patrols create large local networks of friends that persist beyond the patrols themselves.