Crime Prevention Center
The Virginia Crime Prevention Center was established at DCJS in 1994 to provide crime prevention training and technical assistance. Contact Rick Arrington, 804.840.7784 or e-mail.
Crime Prevention Specialist (CPS)
Over the years, Virginia law enforcement professionals have been increasingly aware of the importance of community crime prevention. Crime prevention units were created and many agencies developed a cadre of highly trained and motivated crime prevention practitioners. These practitioners worked and are working with citizens and business leaders to promote and employ an increasing variety of crime prevention strategies. In recent years, the advent and adoption of community-oriented policing has further increased the role and importance of these practitioners.
As knowledge about crime prevention grew and crime prevention strategies became more complex, crime prevention practitioners had to participate in an increasing number of training opportunities to stay on the cutting edge of the field. In addition, practitioners were asked to assume larger roles in their agencies and offer more than basic crime prevention services.
By the 1990s, a significant portion of Virginia's law enforcement community recognized that many crime prevention practitioners had reached a new level of professional development. In response, a milestone for crime prevention in the Commonwealth was reached in 1994, when the General Assembly established the Crime Prevention Specialist Certification Program (CPS). In 2002, the General Assembly expanded the scope of the CPS program to provide the opportunity for certification of non-law enforcement professionals. This includes individuals involved in school security, public housing security, crime prevention practitioners at Virginia’s military bases, and state agencies such as the DCJS, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Transportation, the Capitol Police and others.
This program is designed to recognize accomplished professionals in the field of crime prevention by establishing minimum standards for training and experience. Since its establishment, over 800 practitioners have received the specialist certification.
The guidelines and application forms for those seeking certification as a Crime Prevention Specialist are posted here:
Crime prevention specialists
- Crime Prevention Specialist Certification Application (Form A) - (
- Crime Prevention Specialist Recertification Application (Form B) - (
Certified Crime Prevention Community Program (CCPCP)
In 1998, an Executive Order created the New Partnership Commission for Community Safety, charged with the responsibility of advising the Governor on new initiatives to “promote community safety, particularly youth and family safety.” The Commission worked diligently to assess the needs of localities across the Commonwealth and assist them in addressing their individual community safety issues.
The Commission asked the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to recommend programs that foster the development of community safety initiatives at the local level. DCJS proposed, and the Commission approved, the Certified Crime Prevention Community Program. Based on a study conducted by the Virginia State Crime Commission in 1993, the goal of the program is to publicly recognize and certify localities that have implemented a defined set of community safety strategies as part of a comprehensive community safety/crime prevention effort.
In 2000, DCJS launched the Certified Crime Prevention Community Program. One of the first of its kind in the nation, the program encourages localities to develop and implement collaborative community safety plans within a flexible framework designed by the Commission. Furthermore, it provides an ongoing process by which communities can reassess and update their plans to address emerging community safety issues. To obtain certification, a locality must meet 12 core community safety elements/strategies augmented by a minimum of seven approved optional elements. DCJS runs and monitors the program.
The main goal of the program is to publicly recognize and certify localities that have implemented a defined set of community safety strategies as part of a comprehensive community safety/crime prevention effort. To obtain certification, a locality must meet 12 core community safety programs and standards augmented by a minimum of seven approved optional programs either proffered by the locality or selected from a list provided by DCJS. The program is a tool to enhance the marketing of economic development and tourism in localities. It also strengthens the professionalism of city or county management and local law enforcement agencies by showing that the locality can meet rigorous standards related to community safety.
Certified Crime Prevention Campus Program (CCP-CP)
In his 1998 Executive Order creating the New Partnership Commission for Community Safety, Governor James S.
Gilmore III charged the Commission with the responsibility of advising him on new initiatives to "promote
community safety, particularly youth and family safety". The Commission worked diligently to assess the needs of
localities across the Commonwealth and assist them in addressing their individual community safety issues. It was
during the course of its work, that the Commission identified many outstanding examples of community safety
programs. In an effort to honor and bring recognition to these programs, the Commission developed the
Governor's New Partnership Community Safety Awards, which turned out to be a resounding success.
Taking a cue from the success of the Awards program, the Commission asked the Department of Criminal Justice
Services (DCJS) to recommend programs that fostered the development of community safety initiatives at the
local level. DCJS presented a proposal to the Commission to develop a program titled the Certified Crime
Prevention Community Program (CCPC) with the goal of the program being to publicly recognize and certify
localities that have implemented community safety strategies. The only program of its kind in the nation, the
program encourages the development of community safety plans within a flexible framework and provides an
ongoing process by which communities can reassess and update their plans to address emerging community
In 2004, the General Assembly asked the Virginia State Crime Commission to study safety at Virginia's institutions
of higher education. As a result, DCJS created the Office of Campus Policing and Security (OCPS) and established
minimum standards for employment, job-entry and in-service training curricula, and certification requirements for
campus security officers.
The success of the OCPS and of Virginia's institutions of higher education has resulted in many efforts that are
viewed as best practices in the prevention of crime and intervention to precursors of crime. Recognizing the value
of these programs, and building upon the foundational process of the Certified Crime Prevention Community
Program, DCJS has created a means to publicly certify institutions of higher learning that have implemented a
defined set of campus safety strategies as part of a comprehensive community effort. This program, entitled the
Certified Crime Prevention Campus Program, is open to all public and private accredited colleges or universities
in Virginia. All applicants are required to have each of the Core Campus Safety Elements in place and must select
seven additional elements for submission from the optional elements list.
Certified Crime Prevention Campus Program-Certification Manual
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), pronounced “sep-ted,” is based on a theory that the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime and an improvement in the quality of life. In other words, if a site is laid out well, and used properly, the likelihood of it being targeted for a crime may be reduced.
The traditional target-hardening approach to crime prevention employs mechanical barriers such as locks, alarms, fences, and gates. Yet there are more natural approaches to access control and surveillance. A combination of environmental design and cooperation among citizens and police can do a great deal toward curbing crime.
DCJS helps promote CPTED in Virginia by collaborating with the Virginia Crime Prevention Association which conducts classes in Basic CPTED. DCJS also supports the Virginia CPTED Committee by providing a representative on the committee and providing resources. DCJS has trained hundreds of practitioners of CPTED, which has included planners, police officers, school officials, School Resource Officers, arborists, landscape architects, and architects. DCJS will continue to promote and support CPTED training, resources, and other initiatives relating to this program.
For more information, see the pamphlet "Safety by Design: Creating a Safer Environment in Virginia" (.pdf, 5 pages). This pamphlet is a product of DCJS, the Virginia Crime Prevention Association, and the Virginia CPTED Committee.
Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219