Certified Crime Prevention Community Program
County of Chesterfield becomes a Certified Crime Prevention Community on May 22, 2013.
City of Hampton Police Chief T. H. Townsend (Holding framed certificate) and members of the certification staff received their re-certification as a Crime Prevention Community on April 10, 2013.
Background & Description
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.
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.
Incentives for Localities
- The Certified Crime Prevention Community Program makes Virginia a national leader in community safety by establishing a benchmark that local communities can meet in terms of providing for the safety of their citizens. It sends a clear signal to criminals that criminal behavior will not be tolerated. We believe that this program is still unique in the nation.
- Participation in the Certified Crime Prevention Community Program gives a community preference in the state criminal justice grant application process.
- The Certified Crime Prevention Community designation can be used as a marketing tool to attract families, tourists, businesses, conference planners, and others interested in finding a safe location in which to live and work.
- Crime Prevention Community designation can be used to seek premium reductions from insurance companies for policyholders living in a certified community. Premium reductions are already available for things such as deadbolt locks and security systems.
- The Certified Crime Prevention Community designation can enhance 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.
The following eligibility requirements must be met in order to participate in the Certified Crime Prevention Community Program:
- Any community/locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia (For the purposes of this program, a community or locality shall be either a city, county or an incorporated town; or any combination thereof within the geographic confines of a single county, including any cities with a boundary contiguous with county).
- Communities wishing to participate must adopt a resolution of participation (provided in program manual) and file this resolution with DCJS.
- Communities must designate a local coordinator for the certification effort and/or create or use an existing local inter-agency contact team charged with the responsibility of completing the certification requirements.
Core Community Safety Elements Needed to Qualify
- Development of a local community crime prevention/community safety council or coalition.
- A DCJS-certified crime prevention specialist assigned to crime prevention duties in the law enforcement agency.
- A neighborhood watch program with training and documented support of watches.
- Community policing or a crime control planning process.
- Organized distribution of community safety information (literature, videos, and Internet resources) to citizens.
- An identifiable staff person or planning committee trained to conduct community security and safety assessments of at-risk neighborhoods and businesses.
- Functional crime analysis capability.
- Identifiable staff person or persons trained to conduct school safety assessments/audits (applicable only to jurisdictions operating schools).
- A business watch program with training and documented support of watches.
- Access to a victim/witness services program.
- A delinquency prevention program targeting at-risk youth.
- Local law enforcement agency must either be accredited or seeking accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC) or CALEA.
Optional Community Safety Elements Needed to Qualify
Must have a minimum of seven from this list:
- Class Action, DARE or a similar school-based drug-abuse prevention program
- McGruff House program
- Employee Watch program
- TRIAD Program
- National Night Out
- Crime Solvers/Stoppers
- Gun safety program
- Crime prevention newsletter
- School resource police officer
- Annual crime prevention awards
- Campus crime prevention outreach
- Crime prevention speaker’s bureau
- Domestic violence response program
- Inter-agency code enforcement team
- School violence prevention curriculum
- Cooperative agreements between jurisdictions around crime/community safety issues
- Crime prevention in public housing
- Contact list and process for crime prevention liaison with community leaders and groups
- “Zero tolerance” policies in schools
- Fatherhood responsibility/accountability initiative
- Truancy prevention initiatives
- School crime lines
- Pre-trial corrections program
- Any other programs deemed appropriate by the New Partnership Commission for Community Safety
Process for Certification
- Application and program manual provided by DCJS to interested localities.
- Formal application and resolution of participation (.pdf or .doc, 2 pages) submitted by locality:
- Current programs documented.
- Self-assessment to identify gaps and weaknesses in programs or service delivery (technical assistance provided if necessary).
- Identify any programs/services that need to be added to meet program standards.
- Signify intent to fill program/service gaps and provide timetable (technical assistance provided on program implementation if necessary).
- On-site verification by team of professionals from state level.
- Remediation and correction.
- Locality recognized as a Certified Crime Prevention Community.
- Annual verification and renewal after initial award.
- Reassessment and recertification every three years.
Status of Program Applicants
- Town of Christiansburg
- City of Galax
- City of Hampton
- County of Chesterfield
- City of Newport News
- City of Roanoke
- City of Virginia Beach
- Fairfax County
- Hanover County
- Henrico County
- Prince William County
- Town of Herndon
Cell Phone: 804.840.7784