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Strategy: Crime Prevention in Daycare Facilities

Strategy This strategy aims to introduce children ages three to five to safety techniques and respect for local law . . .

Strategy

This strategy aims to introduce children ages three to five to safety techniques and respect for local law enforcement.

Community Problem Addressed

Young children see images and hear a lot of discussion about community safety issues, including recent crimes.  Once they begin to spend time in school or extended out-of-home daycare, these children need to get information on staying safe from guns, while on their bicycles, and while at school.

Key Components

This strategy involves officers visiting local daycare centers.  The officers describe their uniform, gun safety, drugs, strangers, and street and bike safety through games and other fun activities.  The children are encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation.

Key Partnerships

The police and the community-based daycare centers or preschools must be in partnership in order to make this program work.  This program only requires a short amount of time on the part of the officer, so it can be supported through the police department budget.

Potential Obstacles

Law enforcement officers may lack training in how to impart safety concepts to young children with limited language skills and a short attention span.  Officers should also be prepared to expect that the lesson might result in children disclosing abuse or other crime concerns that must be addressed carefully and promptly.  In addition, parents' interest in the program may make it difficult for one officer to respond to requests from daycare centers, Head Start facilities, and preschools.

Young children may think police are scary. By introducing police to young children in a non-confrontational environment, they can see that law enforcement officials are in fact there to help them.  With that trust established, the officers can teach the children vital safety information.

Examples of Success and Results

Kops 4 Kids was developed in 1994 in Clewiston, Florida [population 6,500].  The program is run by an officer who goes into Clewiston daycare centers at least once a year to talk about strangers and gun and bike safety and also about being a police officer.  The police department even developed its own coloring book to hand out to the kids.  The community demonstrates great support for this program; the local Boy Scouts now go to the daycare centers to support the officers by doing a fingerprinting demonstration. The program is supported by the police department budget using existing officers.  Through the Kops 4 Kids program, children feel like the police are there to help not hurt them.

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