ICMA International / Services / Expertise & Capabilities / Crime Prevention & Public Safety

Crime Prevention and Public Safety

Crime prevention and public safety are clearly law enforcement concerns. But they cannot be achieved by policing alone. For decades, ICMA has fostered a community-oriented approach to crime prevention and public safety—an approach that is facilitated by effective professional management. 

Crime prevention is not simply a matter of enforcing the law. It is accomplished not only through police services but also through community-oriented governance where all municipal departments contribute—including the thoughtful design of parks and open space, libraries, recreation services, youth services, and other elements that combine to create a sustainable community.

Our publications, training initiatives, Center for Public Safety Management, and the Knowledge Network provide local government managers with a wide array of tools and methodologies for addressing crime by mobilizing police and community resources to address the conditions that foster it.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, ICMA developed training for city managers and police chiefs, focusing on the importance of working jointly to solve community problems that can create an environment that fosters crime (e.g., poor street lighting, lack of after-school activities for youth, unappealing public areas). Analysts from ICMA's Center for Public Safety Management apply mapping techniques to help local governments identify community crime “hot spots” so that problems can be addressed.

And we have applied our expertise in the international arena.

  • ICMA is providing training and technical assistance for several Central American countries, including Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, as they adopt community-oriented approaches to crime and violence prevention through the Municipal Partnerships for Violence Prevention in Central America (AMUPREV) program and the Mexico Crime and Violence Prevention program (CVPP). ICMA has employed its CityLinks™ model to partner local officials, public safety personnel, and community representatives in Central America with their counterparts in U.S. cities and counties to begin developing comprehensive violence prevention strategies. ICMA is also assisting in the development of sustainable networks to share best practices and lessons learned.
  • In the Alcance Positivo (Community Youth-at-Risk) program, ICMA was a member of a team headed by Creative Associates International, Inc., working with Panamanian municipalities, districts, and the Child and Adolescent Unit of the Panamanian National Police to address the conditions that put youth at risk of criminal activity and to improve coordination among governmental, nongovernmental, private-sector, and other stakeholders in these efforts.
  • ICMA has worked with local governments and communities in war-torn and conflict-prone countries to build trust and social capital by concentrating on specific public services (public works) that help to mitigate violence and conflicts. In Afghanistan ICMA helped the municipality of Kabul collect trash, upgrade parks, and make safety improvements. Our Afghanistan Municipal Strengthening Program included a youth component that provided internships, sports competitions, and other activities to help engage young people in their communities.
  • ICMA has developed relationships, networks, and partnerships in the U.S. and internationally through its work in the area of crime prevention and local governance. As an association of local government professionals, ICMA taps into hands-on practitioners to disseminate innovative approaches and practices.
  • The Knowledge Network maintains a clearinghouse of “best practices” in community policing and crime prevention, including programs recognized in ICMA’s annual awards program. And ICMA is the publisher of Local Government Police Management, a highly regarded management manual that promotes a community-oriented approach to crime prevention.