In the past several years, the overall crime rate has been on the decline in the United States. While large cities may experience a temporary upswing in their crime rate, for the most part, crime is on the decline. This decline has been attributed to various different reasons but most believe that it is do to better statistical tracking of crime data due to the rise in accessibility of computers and computer programs for law enforcement agencies. In most agencies this is called COMPSTAT or COMSTAT, computer statistics. With the data gathered agencies are better able to track and deal with crime rates as they happen in a far more timely manner then when the data is tracked by pen & paper or not at all. This data allows agencies to saturate high crime areas or to create task forces designed to stop or hinder the commission of specific crimes in an area.

In smaller towns, community involvement is typically linked to the crime rate. Community Oriented Policing was created over three decades ago as a strategy of policing, and while more recent methods such as; predictive policing, problem solving policing, and hot spot policing, have been more effective at reducing crime rates, Community Oriented Policing remains as a strategy of policing best suited for small towns. In Community Oriented Policing law enforcement officers form a bond with the community to establish a safer community that reduces the crime rate. When law enforcement forms a good bond with the community, citizens report suspicious activities and aid the department in crime fighting and the result is a community that criminals avoid thus lowering the crime rate. In an effort to build that bond the Lakeview Police Department has various tips and suggestions to aid the citizens of the community in lowering their chances of becoming a victim of a crime.

Crime safety starts with the individual and it starts with situational awareness. Knowing what is going on around you and paying attention to your surroundings is a large part of deterrence. When a person pays attention to the things going on around them they take corrective actions that can lessen the chance that they are targeted by a criminal. Some crimes are crimes of opportunity, that means that there was an opportunity for a would-be criminal to commit the crime so they did. Had the opportunity not existed then the would-be criminal wouldn’t have even bothered, this is where situational awareness can play a part. If a person notices that the parking lot is crowded they might keep their purse closer or remove it from the cart before the groceries. If a person notices that a car might be following them, then they don’t go home or circle the block a second time. These are just some simple examples of how paying attention to your surroundings might change the outcome of a persons day.

Your typical criminal by nature is lazy, they want the easy score. Being a criminal to them, is easier than getting a job and following the rules. If you remove the opportunity for them to commit a crime, or you make it harder to commit that crime, they may go elsewhere. If you have any questions about specific security issues, feel free to come by the Lakeview Police Department or have a Lakeview Police Officer come by your home or business to discuss your concerns.