Crime Prevention is defined as the ―anticipation, recognition, and appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of action to remove or reduce it.‖
A community may choose to not battle crime because they feel like it will not be successful. Criminals, criminal activity, and nuisances are like weeds. As weeds develop, they grow their roots and eventually choke out healthy plants. One single weed can take over an entire garden. When a criminal has an opportunity to act, the outcome is the same, and they can take over an entire rental community.
When a crime has been committed, the police are called to the scene. The police officer responds, completes an investigation, and writes a report. This typical police approach to crime is reactive.
Crime prevention is considered more necessary because it addresses the potential for crime before it becomes a significant problem. Crime prevention is the proactive side of law enforcement. Not only is it humane, it is cost effective to carry out crime prevention techniques.
Three Elements of Crime
There are three elements to any crime:
When you eliminate the opportunity, ability, or desire it reduces the risk of a crime being committed. This can be done with two simple words, ―Target Hardening.
The reality is that most criminals are opportunists. They are seeking easy targets. Target hardening involves the use of locks, electronic devices, or other hardware that will detect, deny, delay, or deter the criminal away from the intended target. Target hardening is direct to all structures, vehicles, and personal property within the rental community. Target hardening is a term often used to refer to physical security measures. It is taking steps to make your living quarters (the target) as uninviting as possible to a potential burglar.
Taking appropriate measures to harden the target means the burglar will have to work harder to break in. It also means there is a significantly increased likelihood of detection and apprehension. The goal of most criminals is to conduct their business undetected and to avoid apprehension. Therefore, the harder the target, the more likely they will move onto another target.
Property owners, managers, and staff take a proactive approach to what takes place on their property by demonstrating good active management, having a sound application process, and conducting thorough screening of potential residents which play an important role in what takes place on your property. For example take the crime triangle and replace the three elements of crime with the three elements of rental property: good active management, the application process, and screening of potential residents. If you eliminate one of them, you are increasing the potential for crime to occur.
Crime Free Multi-Housing (CFMH) is a program designed to make multi-family dwellings and single family rental homes safe and desirable places to live. The CFMH Program provides a partnership between police, local rental property owners/managers, and residents to foster a safe, healthy, crime-free community in rental housing. CFMH is pro-property manager, pro-resident, and anti-crime.
The Crime Free Program does not imply there is no crime in an area. The Crime Free Program is a warning that the property owners/managers make safety a priority and there are serious consequences for anyone affiliated with illegal or criminal activity. Potential consequences:
Residents are held responsible for actions of family members and guests
Residents may be terminated of rental agreement
Residents may be subjected to an eviction action
The program uses a unique three-phase approach that ensures resident-friendly techniques applied to achieve crime prevention goals. The components that make up the program are:
Rental Owner/Management Training (Phase One - green certificate)
Security Assessment of the Property (Phase Two - red certificate)
Resident Safety/Crime Watch Meeting (Phase Three - blue certificate)
Full Certification (gold certificate)
All three phases of the program must be met before the rental property can be fully certified in the CFMH Program. The three phases do not need to be completed in any particular order. After all three phases are completed, the rental owner/property manager will receive a gold certificate, valid for one year, that indicates that they are fully certified as Crime Free Multi-Housing property.