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A unified approach to crime prevention.

THE AFTER-EFFECTS OF THE recession coupled with the rise in violent offenses will require major rethinking of crime prevention principles by private and public law enforcement. In today's society the public will demand better safety on the streets as well as in the workplace. If the past few years are an indication of what is to come, public pressure will continue to increase the need for and acceptance of a more unified private and public security sector. This pressure will cause the United States to adopt a broader view of managing crime prevention.

Public and private industries will demand that crime be lowered and people be protected adequately from harm on the streets and in the workplace. Security will need to be more effective and efficient to meet these responsibilities. To accomplish this, the private and public sectors must construct a unified system that will allow innovativeness and flexibility in education, public relations, and training.

Education. The public must recognize that crime prevention and security awareness are more effective and less costly than reacting to criminal incidents. Both private and public sectors need to review the percentage of their budgets allocated to education and training.

As the cost of training, equipment, and response to the need for security programs increases, the industry needs to look at innovative education methods. For example, private industry should assist public law enforcement in security awareness. It could host seminars and programs in conjunction with public law enforcement for the public's benefit.

Security awareness education should be directed toward children, starting as early as preschool. Programs should continue through grade school and teach young people preventive measures. The McGruff crime dog campaign, where a cartoon character discusses preventive measures, is an example of such a program.

Public relations. Public relations includes publicity, such as news stories, direct mailing, feature stories, and other activities that create or maintain a positive public identity. Security and law enforcement agencies can no longer ignore or underestimate the need for effective public relations. Although most departments recognize the need to influence public perception, public relations often is not viewed as a high priority.

This needs to change. Public relations is a necessary part of the profession. Good public relations is especially important to an industry that is in the spotlight as much as security. The profession participates in many activities that can potentially affect public perception.

A popular method for reaching the public is through community service. Security and law enforcement personnel should commit to making public appearances, becoming involved in community affairs, sponsoring seminars, and being available for media interviews. Doing so portrays the industry in a positive light.

Public relations, however, is not a cure for past failings. Rather it should be part of an overall professional strategy. Its lasting value rests with the quality of information shared with the public.

Training. As crime prevention increases in importance, training will become more unified. Private security and law enforcement professionals will need more extensive and specific training to be qualified to deal with matters that are interrelated. This alone will require better cooperation in training. No one agency can afford to do it all. Agencies will need to pool there resources to establish large, multi-purpose training facilities.

The interaction between private security and public law enforcement is certain to change in the next five to ten years. Private security will take a more active role in the job functions presently carried out by public law enforcement. In today's society, agencies are under greater scrutiny when operating and will be required to justify procedures to avoid liability. The best way to do this will be through the use of nationally accepted standards. Hence, there will be more programs with joint training by private security and public law enforcement implemented nationwide.

Gone are the days when the public looks solely to public law enforcement for protection. People in the 1990s expect safety from crime in public locations, such as parks, and private venues, such as the workplace. To ensure that this occurs, everyone must contribute to the effort of crime prevention.

Mark H. Beaudry is director of safety and security for The Westin Hotel, Copley Place, in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Viewpoint
Author:Beaudry, Mark H.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Column
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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