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Police Department

Boy Scouts Of America Crime Prevention Merit Badge

Definition of crime: An act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law.

Definition of crime prevention: Crime prevention is the anticipation, the recognition and the appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of some action to remove it.

Explain what Neighborhood Watch is and how it can benefit your neighborhood.

Neighborhood Watch is a crime prevention program that:

  1. Teaches citizens techniques to reduce the risk of being victimized at home and in public
    1. Be aware of our surroundings at all times
    2. Park in well lit areas--avoid shortcuts
    3. Don't carry much cash
    4. Have your keys in your hands
    5. Keep windows rolled up and doors locked
    6. Teller machines--use at active location during day or go with someone else
    7. Leave room at stops to maneuver your car
    8. Don't draw attention to yourself
    9. Consider a mobile phone or a CB radio
    10. Bump and Rob
    11. Copy your VIN and tag number and keep in wallet
    12. Never leave your car running, even at your own home
  2. Trains citizens on the importance of recognizing suspicious activities and how to report them
    1. Someone screaming or calling for help
    2. Someone looking into windows and parked cars
    3. Unusual noises
    4. Property being taken out of houses where no one is home, or out of closed businesses
    5. Vehicles moving slowly or with no apparent destination or with lights out
    6. Anyone being forced into a vehicle
    7. A stranger sitting in a car or talking to a child
    8. Abandoned cars
    9. Call (615) 862-8600 or 911 in an emergency
  3. How to secure homes and properly identify property
    1. Check your locks
      1. Deadbolts
      2. Double cylinder deadbolts
    2. Secure sliding glass door
      1. Commercial locks
      2. Broomstick or wooden dowel
      3. Screws along upper track
    3. Check your windows
    4. Check your doors
    5. Check the outside
      1. Shrubs and trees
      2. Lighting
      3. Padlock exterior buildings
  4. Learn neighbors routines in order to identify suspicious activity
    1. Know their family
    2. Their habits
    3. The cars they drive
    4. Their phone numbers at work and at home
    5. Their pets
    6. Any medical problems that they have

      **Knowing these aspects will allow you to respond accurately and quickly to any emergency
  5. Become a cohesive body of concerned citizens and begin to address other issues that concern your entire community

The benefits of a Neighborhood Watch Program are as follows:

  1. Reduces the risk of becoming a crime victim
  2. Being better prepared to respond to a suspicious activity
  3. Provides greater access to criminal information
  4. Knowing your neighbors
  5. Reducing the fear of crime and making your neighborhood livable
  6. Allowing other issues of our community to be addressed

The role of the Police Department in Crime Prevention

The duty and objective of the Crime Prevention Division is to provide crime control programs for the community designed to heighten the awareness of crime, educate citizens about ways they can reduce the chances of their becoming a victim, and encouraging the community to work with the police towards the reduction of criminal activity.


The Role Of Citizens And Youth In Crime Prevention

The role of the Police in society is the protection of citizen's through the enforcement of Laws and Prevention of criminal activities. This goal cannot be accomplished without the aid of the very citizens we set out to protect. Without the help of citizens, the police would be powerless to stop crime. The citizen therefore plays a vital role in the enforcement of laws and crime prevention.

The role of the citizen is that of witness, prosecutor and crime prevention. Without the reporting of criminal activity, the police would only be able to combat crime that takes place in their presence. In many cases the police must rely on the citizen to prosecute the criminal. This occurs when certain offenses are committed in the presence of a witness. For many crimes the police can only prosecute the criminal if they observed the criminal act. In this case the citizen can obtain warrants, thereby giving the police the power to arrest the criminal on the outstanding warrant. The criminal is prosecuted by the citizen, with the aid of police. This reliance on the citizen also carries over into crime prevention.

The Citizen's Role In Crime Prevention

The police must have the assistance of the public to prevent criminal activity. This comes in the form of a) tips to police regarding criminal activity. b) Citizen and police partnerships devoted to the prevention of criminal activities for small geographic areas. I.E., Neighborhood Watch programs. c) Citizen support of programs that give alternatives to youth, such as the police athletic league, police youth music program and police explorers programs.

The Role of Youth In Crime Prevention

The role of youth in law enforcement is also that of witness, prosecutor and crime prevention. Crime knows no age, socio- economic or geographical boundaries. The youth of America must therefore take a firm stand by reporting criminal activity when it is observed. The role of youth in prevention of crime is two fold. You must be active in neighborhood activities of all types, including Neighborhood Watch. Remember that it is your neighborhood and be proud of helping others around you. Report suspected criminal activities. Ban together with your peers to have a support group when you are tempted by others into criminal activities or drug use. It is easier to stand up if you are not alone and supported by your friends. Take part in local youth functions that interest you, whether it be music, sports, theater or any number of interest.

How To Report A Crime

There are several ways to report a crime. When a violent or felonious crime is observed the witness should immediately call 911. It is important to note that the witness may be crucial in the prosecution of this crime. Give as much information as possible to the 911 operator and the investigating officer at the scene of the crime.

When a misdemeanor or non violent crime is to be reported, or the criminal act has already occurred. The witness should use the non-emergency number to the police department. In Metropolitan Nashville this number is (615) 862-8600. This allows the witness to report the crime while leaving the 911 line open for emergencies. The police will still make a report and investigate the crime. It is important to note that a non emergency caller using the 911 line will be told to call the non emergency number to report the crime.

The third way to report a crime is to remain anonymous. This is useful in cases where the witness is fearful of retaliation by the suspect. The anonymous reporting of crime is accomplished by using the Crime Stoppers Hotline (615) 74-CRIME. The caller is given a crime stopper ID number and all information is kept confidential. You may also receive a monetary award for up to 1,000.00 for information leading to arrest and conviction, in some cases. It is important to note that information given in this manner must be supported with evidence by the police. This makes some crimes harder to prosecute since no witnesses have come forward to help the police with prosecution. However the information gained by this type of reporting, once corroborated by police often leads to arrest in very serious cases.


A rising number of criminal acts are being committed by America's youth, and young adults. These criminals seem to have a greater tendency for the use of violence, often unprovoked by the victim. Often these type of activities are committed by a small group of criminals known as a gang. The gang is territorial and usually tries to dominate their territory with the use of fear and random violence.

The gang marks their territory with the use of graffiti. This is not to say that all graffiti is gang related. When graffiti is encountered it should be removed quickly. This will hinder the gangs marking of territory. If left up, their graffiti is seen as property of the gang. Retaliation may be made when old graffiti is removed. The gang does not usually retaliate for the removal of fresh markings.

The gang effects the community at first through the use of violent street crime. This sends fear to the citizenry. If the citizens simply ignore the problem it grows. The gang most commonly progresses to the use of illicit drug sales and organized crime. At this point, the violent street crime becomes more directed toward rival gang members. Unfortunately this violence becomes greater and often there are innocent people caught in the middle of the battle.

There are several ways to combat the gang growth in an area.

  1. Removal of Graffiti as quickly as possible.
  2. The starting of Neighborhood Watch and Citizen Crime Prevention activities.
  3. Initiating Laws making the recruiting of gang members at schools a felony.
  4. Support of alternative activities such as Police athletic league, Police youth music programs, and Police explorers Post in the effected area.
  5. The support of any other activities which give youth a supervised outlet during non school hours. School sports and music programs, Boy and Girl Scout programs, Religious programs for youth.
  6. The initiation of curfew laws for youth.

While this list is not holistic, these are known deterrents to gangs which are currently working Nation wide. Unfortunately gang activities in America are on the rise. Fortunately for us, the techniques mentioned above when utilized as a combined approach are proven to work. Together, WE can make a difference.

Additional Information