Sample Criminal Justice Essay on Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention

The primary objective of crime prevention is to minimize the risk of falling victim (Collins, Ricks, VanMeter, & Ricks, 2000). Successful crime prevention programs support a safer community by improving the attitudes, behaviors, and perception of safety that help members of the community to feel safe. Crime prevention requires collective effort (Collins, Ricks, VanMeter & Ricks, 2000). It is not a preserve of law enforcement, but also requires the involvement of the community. Without the support of the community, even the most efficient crime prevention programs are likely to fail. The objective of this proposal is to introduce an ideal program titled Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) House for juvenile offenders. The proposal offers a brief summary of violent crimes in Oklahoma City, and how the program can produce benefits in terms of preventing more violent crimes in the city. Current crime trends in three comparable cities (Indianapolis, Austin, and San Francisco) will be analyzed using the SARA Model and the Crime Analysis Triangle to determine their usefulness in the formulation of this program. Furthermore, the proposal will evaluate the effectiveness of the program to the community in Oklahoma City.  Finally, the proposal provides recommendations and conclusion based on the analysis and anticipates the likely short-run and long-term outcomes.

            Oklahoma is the capital and the biggest city of the state of Oklahoma, and the eighth largest city in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), in 2013, the city had a population of 610,613 representing an increase of 5.3% from 2010. From 2000 to 2012, Oklahoma City has far exceeded the U.S. average violent crime rate of 301.1. For the 13 year period, the lowest average violent crime rate in Oklahoma City was 571.5 in 2007, while the highest was 713.2 in 2003 (City Data, 2014). Violent crimes include murder, rape, arson, assaults, burglaries, theft, and robberies (City Data, 2014). Oklahoma City is also governed by the Fourteenth Amendment, which bars the jurisdiction from depriving any person of his/her liberty or property without following due process. According to Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) (2009), juveniles represented 16% of all arrests in the U.S. related to violent crime and accounted for 26% of arrests made in relation to property crime in 2008. Similarly, in 2008, 1,740 victims of murder were persons below 18 years of age.  Arrest rate for juvenile murder in 2008 was 3.8 for every 100,000 juveniles aged 10-17, representing a 17% increase from the 2004 rate of 3.3 (OJJDP, 2009). There are various juvenile programs those youths who find themselves in U.S. criminal justice system can resort to. Some of these programs are to both juveniles and their parents/guardians. These programs are intended to help parents/guardians to develop some level of control over their children, and teach them on issues, such as discipline, respect, and how to be law abiding citizens, and avoid activities that lead them toward crime. Many programs meant to deter juveniles from engaging in crime have been implemented. There are many reasons why youths engage in crime; these include behavioral problems, poverty, parental negligence, bad parental behavior, poor school grades, peer pressure, and ready access to drugs. If two or more of these factors are present, the probability of a person involving in crime increases.

Other than Oklahoma City, there are other cities known for their large populations and criminal activities. These include the cities of Indianapolis, Austin, and San Francisco. The tables below indicate the violent crime data for these cities over the period 2000-2008.


Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Murder 96 112 112 107 109 108 140 114 114
Rape 443 442 441 420 479 527 549 505 475
Robbery 2, 551 2, 787 2, 937 2, 828 2, 763 3, 274 3, 249 4, 046 4, 023
Assault 3, 753 4, 087 4, 028 3, 714 3, 716 4, 039 3, 751 5, 176 5, 123
Burglary 8, 095 9, 043 9, 662 10, 062 10, 920 11, 548 11, 734 13, 385 14, 267
Theft 16, 466 18, 224 24, 821 27, 891 28, 364 29, 541 28, 929 29, 224 28, 446
Arson 306 279 389 499 441 374 347 336 367

Source: City Data, 2014


Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Murder 30 26 25 27 27 26 20 30 23
Rape 349 262 256 226 303 312 319 328 273
Robbery 1, 004 1, 171 1, 174 1, 251 1, 406 1, 182 1, 358 1, 457 1, 333
Assault 1, 680 1, 670 1, 748 1, 649 1, 853 1,873 1, 961 2, 056 2, 306
Burglary 6, 412 7, 439 6, 916 7, 240 6, 810 7, 285 7, 467 8, 031 8, 586
Theft 26, 494 29, 276 29, 725 32, 259 31, 938 31, 835 31, 562 34, 461 33, 582
Arson 142 144 152 140 116 115 88 116 87

Source: City Data, 2014

San Francisco

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Murder 59 68 69 88 96 86 100 98 45
Rape 229 210 215 152 172 154 125 166 179
Robbery 3, 456 3, 208 3, 065 3, 041 3, 078 3, 858 3, 771 4, 108 3, 423
Assault 2, 755 2, 573 2, 376 2, 476 2, 939 2, 435 2, 418 2, 372 2, 310
Burglary 5, 695 5, 947 5, 784 6, 097 6, 208 6, 465 5, 079 5, 401 5, 197
Theft 24, 417 24, 468 25, 388 21, 711 19, 887 23, 891 23, 474 25, 142 24, 399
Arson 307 227 260 258 188 226 232 235 198


Source: City Data, 2014

From the tables, in 2008, Indianapolis was leading in murder crimes (114), followed by San Francisco (45) and Austin (23). Similarly, Indianapolis was leading in terms of rape (475), with San Francisco having the smallest number of rape crimes (179). Austin was leading in the number of theft crimes (33, 582), followed by Indianapolis (28, 446), while San Francisco came last (24, 399). Apart from murder, rape, and arson, all the other violent crimes are in thousands in all the three cities for all the nine years covered. In Austin and Indianapolis, robbery, assault, burglary, and theft significantly increased over the period 2000 to 2008. However, San Francisco had fewer crimes in these areas in 2008 compared to 2000. On a year to year basis, all the three cities have recorded a higher violent crime rate from 2000 to 2008 compared to the U.S. average of 301.1 (City Data, 2014). From the data, it is evident that violent crimes in all the three cities are still very high. Many of the people who commit these crimes are either not productively engaged or are attempting to benefit from illegal activities. One of the most important tools in crime prevention is the Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment (SARA) model. It is significant to understand how the SARA model can be implemented to combat crime. Under scanning, problems that reoccur are identified and prioritized. Analysis is done by conducting research about the problem(s), and attempting to find answers as to why the problem is occurring. Response happens when the right approach to tackling the problem is identified and implemented. Assessment is the final stage, and it involves determining if the plan was implemented, the outcome, what failed to happen, and what requires fixing. The second important tool is the Crime Analysis Triangle. The three sides of the triangle represent the offender, the victim, and the location where the crime was committed. When we apply it to the three cities, the location of crime refers to the three cities-Indianapolis, Austin, and San Francisco. The offenders are those responsible for the thousands of violent crimes committed in these cities, while the victims are the many people who have suffered or lost their lives due to murder, rape, assault, burglary, robbery, theft, and arson.

Based on the analysis, Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) House is the best answer to the high rate of crime in Oklahoma City. SAFE House would give all juvenile offenders a second chance regardless of the crime they committed. At present, many juvenile offenders face difficulties once they come out of correction facilities. They are treated as criminals, and as such many of them cannot go back to schools, socialize, and be meaningfully employed. This is what SAFE House would offer. A large percentage of crimes committed are linked to drugs (the selling and use of drugs). As a result, providing the offenders with something that they can use to improve themselves will productively engage them, and they will have little time to think about stealing and robbing other people to take their belongings. The majority of offenders are juveniles who are in high school or have recently graduated from high school. As one of the cities with high crime rates, it is disappointing to note that no facilities presently exist in the community to help offenders. This is a gap that SAFE House can fill to cater for juvenile offenders. For male juveniles that seek to abandon their criminal habits, Safe House would provide services that include church services, community services, job training, counseling, and therapy. Those who successfully complete the program can be supported to get jobs in the economy. Similarly, if any of the reformed offenders may require help after completing the program, in terms of shelter or family issues at home that might cause recidivism; they are free to seek for assistance from SAFE House. Many violent crimes are committed by make offenders. However, even women are involved in prostitution and drug abuse, which exposes them to crimes, such as assaults. As a result, SAFE House will have women`s section to provide assistance to female juveniles. Females in the program will work toward recovering their self-respect, jobs, friends, and self-esteem. Just like the male juvenile department, the female juvenile section will provide many activities that include church services, training on life skills, overcoming substance abuse, and violence prevention. Safe House will offer a drug free environment that will allow the rehabilitation process. Similarly, female juvenile offenders will receive group counseling services, health, and legal services. Helping juvenile offenders is important as it ensures that they become good citizens in the future. Safe House would also incorporate enrichment programs that would inspire and motivate the youths. If juveniles are trained and given opportunities, they will lack the time and drive to engage in crimes.

From the available academic literature, there are various crime prevention programs that have been used in various jurisdictions to address the needs of the community. The first program is wilderness therapy/ camp (Scott & Duerson, 2010). Juveniles are enrolled in this program as soon as they exhibit signs of bad behavior before they begin engaging in criminal activity. However, the effectiveness of this program is compromised by the high costs involved. The program requires approximately $100,000 per juvenile. As a result, though it can address social justice issues of the community, it can only benefit offenders from well-off families. The second disadvantage that reduces the program`s effectiveness is its lack of follow up once the offender leaves the wilderness therapy. The lack of transition heightens the risk of recidivism.

The second program is policing in partnership, which involves the use of partnerships and multi-agency approach in preventing criminal activities. This can help law enforcers to combat crime using their resources in an effective manner (Barton & Valero-Silva, 2013).  This program has been implemented in some parts of the UK, and has been found to be very effective in reducing crimes related to burglary in the society (Barton & Valero-Silva, 2013). Given that the study was conducted in the UK, its applicability in other jurisdictions within the UK and in other countries, such as the U.S. is not known due to lack of comparative studies (Barton & Valero-Silva, 2013).

Based on the analysis, this paper recommends the implementation of SAFE House in Oklahoma City.  A similar program has already been successful in Urbana, Illinois with 86% success rate (, 2014). Many of the SAFE House residents have successfully finished their courses and secured employment as college tutors, radio presenters, bus drivers, and even secured employment as SAFE House employees. Another SAFE House facility in Hunterdon, New Jersey has also recorded a 95% success rate. The success rate is measured by the number of persons who successfully complete the program and do not have to come back to the program and are not involved in abusive or criminal activities. Opening a SAFE House in Oklahoma may present a number if challenges. Firstly, given that we are proposing a juvenile SAFE House where will the funding for the project come from. One possible avenue for securing funding for the project is through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) (National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), 2014). They provide funding for correctional programs and drug abuse treatment facilities. They have already supported SAFE House programs and residents in other jurisdictions. The expected short-term results include some residents choosing to drop out of the program. Given that it will be a relatively new program, some residents may find it difficult to adjust to the program. However, this can be addressed by assuring them that they are always welcome in the event that they choose to come back for help. In terms of long-term outcomes, we expect to see many more residents completing the program. This will be a significant success for our juvenile program as it will reduce rates of recidivism


  • Barton, H., & Valero-Silva, N. (2013). Policing in partnership: a case study in crime prevention. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 26(7), 543-553.
  • org. (2014). About Us. Retrieved 23 August 2014, from

City Data. (2014). Crime rate in San Francisco, California (CA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map. Retrieved August 3, 2014 from:

Collins, P., Ricks, T., VanMeter, C., & Ricks, T. (2000). Principles of security and crime prevention. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Pub. Co.

  • National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA). (2014). About Byrne JAG. Retrieved 23 August 2014, from

OJJDP. (2009). Juvenile Arrests 2008.  Retrieved 23 August 2014, from

  • Scott, D. A., & Duerson, L. M. (2010). Continuing the discussion: A commentary on “Wilderness therapy: Ethical considerations for mental health professionals”. In Child & youth care forum, 39(1), pp. 63-68.

U.S. Census Bureau (2014). Oklahoma City (city) QuickFacts. Retrieved 23 August 2014, from


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