Davis Law Group's Law & Justice Scholarship Essay Contest - Amanda Dean

Amanda Dean is a freshman at the University of Phoenix. She's currently working toward a doctoral degree in Management/Organizational Leadership. She hopes to become a police officer. She wants to lead in a male-dominated law enforcement field and inspire women to follow in her footsteps. ​

First and foremost, thank you for this opportunity and for your time, in advance.  The request to submit for this scholarship required that we choose one of two topics.  The topic of choice is in reference to a safety hazard in my region. 

My Bachelors and Masters Degrees are in Criminal justice; therefore, my mind routes me to look further at theories, more specially, a theory referenced as the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (or CPTED) theory.  This theory contends that law enforcement officers (and many others) can create a climate of safety in a community right from the start.  What does this mean in reference to a safety hazard or hazards?

According to Jeffery (1977), the theory of crime prevention through environmental design is based on one simple notion -- that crime can result from the opportunities presented by physical environment.  Therefore, in reference to a safety hazard, my thoughts go to the threat of rising crime in our communities and the simple hazards we create, as citizens.  These hazards can be identified as us not locking our doors (both outside, gates, garage, etc.) and not having community neighborhood watch programs.  Following guidelines such as keeping spare keys with neighbors, not utilizing doormats or planters; cutting excessive shrubs for clear visibility; setting timers on lights when you are away; illuminate spaces/dark entry ways, stairwells, alleys and hallways.  In these times of economic stress, now, more than ever, we must work together to prevent crime and unnecessary safety hazards.

Hazards are all around us and come in so many different shapes and sizes.  Technology has been such an integral part of our future and enhancing such territoriality and surveillance with alarm systems is vital as well.  However, this is not always a possibility for some due to financial costs.  The common theme here is our ability as citizens to fix our own ‘defensible’ space and take control in ‘fixing’ these concerns.  There is always a choice to be made and that choice allows us to consistently consider the sustainability of our numerous options.  While reducing opportunities for crime through simple neighborhood design changes is low cost; we can continue to seek out advancements all around us to find even more unobjectionable ways of reducing safety hazards. 

Our ultimate goal is to have meaningful roles in our community and create a culture of crime prevention.  This will in return improve our sense of security from such hazards and increase our quality of life for our families – and future generations – through reduced fear of crime.  This, as  a result, will have fewer crime ridden communities, fewer victimization rates and increase interaction among residents; thus, creating stronger neighborhood bonds. 

The ‘fix’ is truly our ability as alert citizens to take a proactive stance, increase our problem-solving skills and enhance our situational awareness and provide feedback for improved public safety planning and redevelopments for the future.  As quoted by Abraham Lincoln, “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”

References

 

Jeffery, C. Ray. 1977. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. (Second Edition).   Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

McClarey, Donald, R. (2016).  Lincoln on Mercy. The American Catholic Politics & Culture from a Catholic Perspective.  Retrieved from http://the-american-catholic.com/2016/04/05/lincoln-on-mercy/

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