Crime prevention can be defined as strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring, and their potential harmful effects on individuals, corporations and society, including fear of crime, by intervening to minimize or eliminate their multiple causes.
The theory behind crime prevention does not focus on the cause of criminal behaviour, but more on the reduction and discovery of the opportunity of a criminal act. Crime prevention programs, concepts and tactics are used today at all levels of government and within public and private corporations.
We all are aware of community- based crime prevention programs, such as community policing and neighbourhood watch programs, where monitoring and awareness programs are implemented throughout designated areas. Well planned crime prevention strategies not only prevent crime, but also promote community safety and contribute to the social development and perceived value of communities. These types of programs have proven to be effective within this type of social setting.
Similar types of programs should be considered for implementation into the mix of private and public corporations. As a security management consultant, I have assessed, assisted and then witnessed the effectiveness of several crime prevention programs. This included improvement of employee morale, and the reduction in loss of industry competitiveness in the marketplace and opportunity of financial gain.
The majority of today’s employees have concern over the survivability and success of their employer since the competition and opportunity for employment is very high. Hence most employees hold their working career, and present job responsibility and employer ethics, close to their heart. When a corporation has an issue with theft, vandalism, espionage, sabotage or breach of regulated compliance and governance it can require a considerable amount of money to solve and investigate the root cause, not including the potential of loss of confidence to employees and shareholders.
The perception of internal undercover investigators and/or working operatives within an organization can be very costly and also be difficult to manage in both a non-union and union environment. Corporations today, when faced with a problem of continual and undiscovered internal or external criminal acts and losses, need to consider crime prevention programs, such as employee watch programs, confidential phone hot line or web-based reporting measures, including whistle blower programs, at all levels of employment. These types of programs are easy to implement and cost beneficial when compared to other options. The success of the corporation’s involvement should have an emphasis on the procedural deployment and contract with a third-party anonymous and confidential call centre, investigation firm with legal counsel and potential union representative.
This type of crime prevention program works alongside, and supports, all corporate security employee awareness initiatives. Corporate programs, such as employee hot lines, and the reporting mechanism to act, can be promoted and educated by use of employee payroll remittances, emails and pay-stubs. Like any type of security control the results, effectiveness and benefits of such program should be reviewed annually for improvement opportunities.