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Strategy: Crime Prevention Programs On Local Cable Television

Strategy Use public-access cable television programming to spotlight local police efforts and crime prevention activities and to educate residents . . .

Strategy

Use public-access cable television programming to spotlight local police efforts and crime prevention activities and to educate residents about what they can do to Take a Bite Out of Crime.

Crime Problem Addressed

Many individuals and organizations don't understand that prevention can be a successful strategy in reducing violence and other crimes. They are also unaware of complementary activities and programs in their communities. Cable television programming produced by local police departments and government agencies can help bridge these gaps in public understanding while building awareness of local initiatives.

Key Components

Regular cable programming can be an effective forum for demonstrating the local police department's openness, its interest in dialogue with the community, and its commitment to creating a safer environment. Weekly, monthly, or quarterly programs can introduce members of the local police force, provide background and perspective on crime problems confronting the community, and offer advice on individual and neighborhood prevention efforts. Programs can also profile successful community crime prevention programs as models for other citizen-led initiatives.

Key Partnerships

The police department or other law enforcement agencies must forge a close working relationship with the local cable company, which assists in production and schedules programs. Program producers must also be in close contact with community crime prevention groups to ensure a steady flow of ideas and contacts for community features.

Potential Obstacles

A crime prevention cable show, of course, will have no impact if no one watches it; thus, working with the cable company to promote the show should be a priority. Also, the program won't attract a large audience on a continuing basis unless its production quality, topics, and format are engaging.

Signs of Success

Three out of every four Americans have access to cable. Moreover, half of cable subscribers watch their community public-access channels on a regular basis. In local success stories, the Oxnard Police Department in California has teamed with its local cable company to produce a weekly, one-hour prevention-oriented program that is the most popular offering on the local government channel. Since the show began, Oxnard reports a 50-percent decrease in burglaries despite population growth of more than 20,000 people.

Applying the Strategy

The Department of the Attorney General in Hawaii has taken on an unusual media role--producing a television talk show for teens. Called "Bridging the Gap," the program provides a platform for teens to voice their concerns about an array of prevention-related topics. Recent discussions addressed the problems of runaways, teen suicide, anger management, teen pregnancy, and date rape. The program airs quarterly on a public television station, a commercial channel, two cable channels, and a radio station.

From 350 Tested Strategies to Prevent Crime: A Resource for Municipal Agencies and Community Groups

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