Neighborhood Watch Prevention Program - Research Paper Example

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Neighborhood Watch Prevention Program Michael Cox Columbia College Criminology Neighborhood Watch Prevention Program Background and Effectiveness Community crime prevention programs encompass a wide range of community ­based strategies or initiatives to prevent residential crime (Mawby, 2007; Rosenbaum, 1994)…
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Download file to see previous pages 105). Neighborhood Watch, subsumed within a broad classification of community crime prevention programs, has historical beginnings in the most primitive and olden crime prevention schemes. Undoubtedly, the prevention of crime has been a preoccupation of civilizations spanning the course of time (Lab, 2004). Although crime prevention has been an invariable concern throughout history, the methods used to prevent crime have differed not only in strategic complexity but also with respect to the staff relegated to perform crime prevention tasks (Lab, 2004; Vago, 2003). For instance, quite notable distinctions among historic crime prevention schemes include the exclusive reliance on the informal social control of primitive kin groups, which had no formal system of jurisprudence, versus the utilization of a semi-formal and/or paid obligatory police force, existing within a more complex legal system (Vago, 2003). Regardless of the strategic complexity, crime prevention schemes of past have relied to a large extent on a familial (kin) and/or a neighborhood watch-style of policing- a style of policing which is congruent with the basic tenets of Neighborhood Watch and a style of policing which is being hailed as a crucial remedy to resolve neighborhood crime and disorder problems (Lab, 2004). This style of policing however does not absolve formal agents of social control from also being responsible for the prevention of crime (Bowers & Johnson, 2005). Since the 1970s, empirical studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch (Rosenbaum, Lewis, & Grant, 1986; Lindsay & McGillis, 1986). These studies have focused on finding a relationship between Neighborhood Watch and reductions in (1) residential burglary, (2) fear of crime, and (3) victimizations. Other studies have also assessed the relationship between community crime prevention programs, including Neighborhood Watch and collective efficacy; informal social control; and attachment to the neighborhood (Rosenbaum et al., 1986). Early studies on Neighborhood Watch revealed the most promising findings. For instance, studies conducted in Seattle and Portland showed that the implementation of watch programs led to a significant reduction in self-reported burglary victimizations (Lindsay & McGillis, 1986). Also, program participants in Seattle were found to incorporate elements of Neighborhood Watch into their daily routines (e.g. personal protection behaviors) and incorporate elements of the program to defend their home from being burglarized (Clarke & Newman, 2006). In Portland, program participants were more apt to engage in protection behaviors that benefited them and their neighborhood. Thus, it showed that residents were engaging in personal and collective protection behaviors (Schneider, 1986). In Hartford, Connecticut, a test of Newman's (1972) notions of defensible space and territoriality also revealed promising findings. Two years after the implementation of watch programs and after the implementation of changes in the neighborhood's traffic flow, residents reported lower burglary and robbery victimizations. The study also showed an increase in resident's ability to exert informal social control- they were more willing to protect their neighborhood from intruders and more likely to interact with their neighbors (Fowler & Mangoine, 1986). Evaluations conducted in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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