Neighborhood Crime: Why Prevention is Better than Punishment

B&E on ThaliaBrandon.comLast night was awesome, to say the least! For National Night Out, we had a big event in our neighborhood park that featured free ice cream, an official dedication of the new length of sidewalk we helped put in including a local city official speaking and confirming the city’s commitment to doing the next two blocks of sidewalk next summer, and just a whole lot of meeting neighbors we’ve never met before and making new friends. Over sixty people showed up! More than triple the turnout from last year! Everyone had a really good time.

During the event, I was approached by three different retirement aged men asking my opinion about the ongoing crime we experience in our neighborhood area. The most common forms of crime are graffiti tagging, cars being broken into when a bag or something of value is visible inside the car, and sometimes we even get a home being robbed when it’s quite clear that a door has been left unlocked or the house is otherwise very vulnerable.

Here’s what I had to say on the matter:

My replies, as I tried to explain my thoughts to these three separate gentlemen, became more cohesive as I went through it three times in a row, so it’s pretty easy for me to put it down here for all the world to see.

Prevention is better than punishment

Ask yourself which one you would prefer: knowing that the guy who broke in and stole your Xbox has been caught and just as quickly released by a revolving door jail and you’ll never get your stuff back because it already got sold or parted out – OR – that same thug taking one look at your house and deciding for himself that it’s not a good target and just moving on, never committing the crime in the first place.

If you’re anything like me, you’d rather deter than apprehend.

Because preventing crimes before they happen is far better than having millions of our population locked away behind bars in for-profit prisons. Because coming home to a thrashed house frightens everyone in the family, but is especially traumatic to families with young children. Because when we’re talking about little neighborhood crimes like this, the rate of apprehension is appallingly low anyway – most often nobody gets arrested and whatever was stolen is simply written off as gone forever.

I explained the above to these three men, and then issued the following to-do list:

  • Go on
  • Search the words “real looking security cameras”
  • Then, as you’re picking a few totally fake cameras with red blinky lights, check out the related items.
  • Select a high-visibility metal sign you can place prominently in your yard.
  • Select a pack of reflective warning stickers you can put in a corner of each and every window of your house.
  • All of this together should run you around $35-$40.
  • When it arrives, install the fake cameras, sign and stickers on your house. Then sit back and relax as no crimes happen.

Even a cardboard cop works hard to prevent crime on

Stupid criminals will always be stupid criminals. So sayeth ThaliaBrandon.comIn our neighborhood we have a local “Crime prevention officer” who shows up at neighborhood meetings and gives advice on how to keep your home and family safe. Most everything he has to say makes perfect sense – most often, it is our own lax safety habits that make our home a target – if you’re not locking your doors and windows, if you leave items in your car, you’re making your house, car, and family a target for crime. Duh.

But one gentleman last night was telling me that this crime prevention officer warned him to install REAL security cameras in HIDDEN locations, in order that perpetrators could be caught on camera and thereby apprehended and arrested. REALLY?

Yes, of course when someone commits a crime such as home invasion robbery it’s logical to want that person to be arrested and punished for their crime. But would it not be more expedient to simply prevent the crime ever happening in the first place? How much would that save in local law enforcement budgets? Seriously?

Common sense tells us not all crimes can be prevented.

Of course there will always be those people who are bent upon doing what they want to do, and prevention isn’t 100% effective 100% of the time. But, as seen in the silly Odd News photo above, prevention is measurably effective at drastically reducing the amount of crime that goes on.

So, why spend hundreds of dollars on a home security system when a couple of fake cameras with red blinky lights will do just as well?

  • Make sure, when you install your fake cameras with red blinky lights, that they are visible to passers by from a large radius around your house.
  • Go stand on the opposite side of the street – will a guy casing the neighborhood on foot or on a bike spot those cameras and be deterred?
  • Can the red blinky lights be seen from the street at night? Is the sign visible when you drive past? Are the stickers in a lower corner of each window where a person approaching the house on foot will see them?

Have you thought up a genius solution that has helped to solve a problem in your neighborhood or even just within your own home? Contact and share your story! You might just see it featured on the site!


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