Community Crime Profile Survey Essay

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Community Profile Questions

The small community of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ is the one square mile home to a comparatively tiny population of approximately 7,600 people, including myself. I live on a residential street of this small suburban town where a great threat of danger and harm has never really been associated with its name. The crime rate on the city-data.com crime index is a minute 35.6 when compared to the U.S. average of 330.6. In the year of 2002 Wood-Ridge did not experience any murders, rapes, or robberies, and only 1 assault, 35 larceny counts, and 7 auto thefts. This is the main reason why all parties who were surveyed either felt very safe or somewhat safe living their lives in this neighborhood and believe crime has either decreased or stayed the same. All parties surveyed also rated the following services from acceptable to excellent: ambulance, cable television, electric utilities, fire, gas, phone, and police. Then when surveyed about police more closely the answers only varied from good to excellent, with most answers in the excellent range. I found this survey relatively easy to perform. My town issues a small phone book of all persons living in town and I drew names at random and surveyed whoever was willing to offer their time. I surveyed five people ages 18-29, one person age 30-39, seven people ages 40-49, six people ages 50-59, and two people over 69 years of age. Seventeen of these people were male and only four were female, 100% of which was Caucasian. Two parties resided in apartments, while nineteen lived in a house. Eighteen families owned the residence they lived in and three rented, and obviously 100% of them have telephones in their homes. Of the parties surveyed, thirteen had full-

time jobs, three were self-employed, one was a student, one was unemployed, and three parties were retired. The five most predominant problems exemplified from this survey were the amount of youths that are hanging out on the streets, the use of alcohol, along with the use of drugs, traffic violations, and vandalism. Throughout this summary, these problems will become more detailed with possible solutions requiring efforts from a majority of the community, including the PTA, church organizations, local media, and everyday people that take part in this neighborhood.

The first problem in this community that got the most responses and side comments were the amount of youths there are roaming the streets on the weekends or summer nights. Residents feel that the youths hanging out is just a brewing pot for trouble. This problem can be fixed by many members of the community with one major idea, give the kids something to do! The town already has in place what is referred to as “Teen Nights,” held by the Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Commission. The problem with these “Teen Nights” is that it involves a minute amount of the teens in this area. It involves only 7th and 8th graders. What about the high schoolers? They’re the ones who get bored most easily. To resolve this problem, the need for community support is at its peak. If different organizations would pitch in and sponsor some special nights for the teens to get together, there would be fewer nights for kids to roam the streets. The churches could pitch in by opening up their basements, for a few nights throughout the year and hold different functions, like dances or have guest speakers or comedians. The YMCA program that is offered to children in the elementary school could be expanded to the twelfth grade, not only providing a place for youth to go, but a place where they can

be active. Also local restaurants can hold such things as a dinner dance every once in a while only expecting a small fee in return. Another place that could be rented out for teens can be the halls where Knights of Columbus, the VFW, or the Elks club resides. Another predominant group who can become involved are the parents, also known as the PTA. They may be able to hold lock-ins, where all the teens stay overnight in the high school with different activities going on, or they can hold youth nights, which have kind of the same idea only they don’t have to stay overnight. All of these groups or even your average Joe can voice their opinions for different activities for kids by emailing the Recreation Commission at emailprotected HasbrouckHeights.com, or they can go to the towns open to public meetings held on the first and second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The second problem this town runs into is alcohol use. Alcohol use is problem seen throughout ages from teen to elderly. To find or seek help for this problem, one can call many different places. First there is a 24 hour hotline that can be reached through a phonebook. The number to the hotline is 1-800-245-1377. Also one can look in the county phonebook and call the municipal building in Hackensack, NJ for local numbers and areas of counseling or help. This number is 201-488-8680. The person who you speak to can point you in the direction of different locations for free and anonymous counseling like Alcoholics Anonymous. These locations are churches around the area. Another thing is that the person does not even have to call anyone. They can just stop by a local church to seek guidance. One way or another someone is there to help.

The third problem is one similar to the previous problem but at the same a time a completely different problem in itself. The problem is drug use. Drug use in this town does not seem to be predominant with adults, but more with teens and early twenties. Again, like Alcoholics Anonymous, they have Narcotics Anonymous. This is another type of group counseling that is held at local churches and can be found out the same way that AA is.

The next types of services are targeted at both alcohol and drug use. At the local hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center, they have a program called Quest. One can reach this facility at 201-996-5994. This program is a dual diagnostic program that involves aid in the recovery of drug use when accompanied by sometime of mental or psychological disability. To ensure that people and residents of this community have full access to all of the sources of help and guidance, the media should intervene. If dates of meetings, hotline numbers, and places where people can go were more publicly distributed more people would go because they would not have to go through the process of finding help, it would be right in front of there face. Having ready reminders of these programs may also cease denial. If someone is never given the idea that they might have a problem, it might never faze them to even have that thought enter their mind. Media is the most powerful and sufficient way to broadcast information, and with increased knowledge of places for help, the problems of alcohol use and drug use can be minimized.

The fourth problem faced by the community of Hasbrouck Heights is the amount of traffic violations that take place day to day. These include speeding, lack of signaling, insufficient stops at stop signs, and things not as well known as putting on your headlights while windshield wipers are in use or that passing is illegal in the right lane. Already in action is the law that with repeated offenses one must take courses at the local DMV to be permitted to drive again, but what about those offenders who are not caught, or are let off one too many times? To enhance the community’s awareness of traffic violations, new and old, the community should have government sponsored traffic courses. These courses should have a mandatory amount of attendances, followed by a yearly examination testing one’s knowledge of traffic codes and laws. Also since laws change and/or are made so frequently, these changes should be posted publicly. The council could send around newsletters or put it in the local newspaper, ours being “The Independent.” This way people will know all the new or changed laws, and do not have the excuse of, “Well I was never informed of that.”

Last but not least there is the problem of vandalism. Drawing on public property, breaking public property, damaging personal property, or even something as small as writing your name in cement that’s not on your property are all forms of vandalism. One way to limit the amount of vandalism is to always a have an eye on the community. In better terms, form a community crime watch, which by the results of this survey most people either do not know of one, or know there is not one in place. Also the majority of people surveyed would be interested in participating in such a program. Not only is this a way to keep the streets safe and clean, different members of the community will be working together and forming a bond that can make Hasbrouck Heights stronger. Also, people surveyed feel that a lot of the vandalism can be traced back to the youths hanging out. That is where their idea of hanging out as being a brewing pot for trouble comes into play. Kids are bored walking around, who wouldn’t want to let the community know that so and so was here and this date, or that John loves Jody? It’s not like Old man Smith is out there writing that stuff on the park’s gazebo. By giving kids a place to go, they won’t be given the opportunity to vandalize, and everything else can be kept under control by the crime watch.

From participating in this survey many residents of Hasbrouck Heights have been given a chance to think about the different problems that occur in this small town. They are also given the chance to be thankful that the more dangerous crimes like murder and rape are essentially non-existent, and residents can feel safe. By doing this survey people will hopefully begin to reach out and become ready to face these problems and lend a helping hand to their fellow neighbors. All of the groups and organizations that were named as a way to support the effort of fighting these problems can be reached through the various people I have surveyed, because as a benefit if being in a small community you always know someone who is involved in some kind of group. I hope that these changes can some come into effect and that this survey really opened peoples’ eyes to the members and happenings in their community, because I know it opened mine.

Survey Results:

DEMOGRAPHICS

Age: Under 18 — 0 Gender: Male — 17

18-29 — 5 Female — 4

30-39 — 1

40-49 — 7

50-59 — 6

60-69 — 0

Over 69 — 2

Ethnicity: African-American — 0 Type of Property: Apartment — 2

American Indian — 0 Condo/Townhouse — 0

Asian — 0 House — 19

Caucasian — 21 Commercial — 0

Hispanic — 0

Own or Rent Property: Own — 17 Have a Telephone: Yes — 21

Rent — 3 No — 0

Employment: Full-time — 13

Part-time — 0

Self-employed — 3

Student — 1

Retired — 3

Unemployed — 1

COMMUNITY CONCERNS

Public Drinking: Major Problem — 0 Youth Hanging Out: Major Problem — 2

Minor Problem — 3 Minor Problem — 8

No Problem — 28 No Problem — 11

Gang Activity: Major Problem — 0 Noisy Neighbors: Major Problem — 0

Minor Problem — 0 Minor Problem — 6

No Problem — 21 No Problem — 15

Property Maintenance: Major Problem — 1 Graffiti: Major Problem — 0

Minor Problem — 7 Minor Problem — 2

No Problem — 13 No Problem — 19

Vandalism: Major Problem — 1 Abandoned Vehicles: Major Problem — 0

Minor Problem — 5 Minor Problem — 0

No Problem — 15 No Problem — 21

Home Burglary: Major Problem — 0 Theft: Major Problem — 0

Minor Problem — 0 Minor Problem — 2

No Problem — 21 No Problem — 19

Violent Street Crime: Major Problem — 0 Alcohol Use: Major Problem — 1

Minor Problem — 0 Minor Problem — 11

No Problem — 21 No Problem — 9

Drug Use: Major Problem — 1 Drug Dealing: Major Problem — 0

Minor Problem — 10 Minor Problem — 4

No Problem — 9 No Problem — 17

Gambling: Major Problem — 0 Traffic Violations: Major Problem — 4

Minor Problem — 0 Minor Problem — 9

No Problem — 21 No Problem — 8

Motor Vehicle Theft: Major Problem — 0 Unsupervised Children: Major Problem — 0

Minor Problem — 0 Minor Problem — 2

No Problem — 21 No Problem — 21

How safe do you feel in your neighborhood at night?

Very Safe — 19

Somewhat Safe — 2

Somewhat Unsafe — 0

Very Unsafe — 0

How safe do other family members, friends, or visitors feel?

Very Safe — 20

Somewhat Safe — 1

Somewhat Unsafe — 0

Very Unsafe — 0

How safe do you feel when driving in your neighborhood at night?

Very Safe — 21

Somewhat Safe — 0

Somewhat Unsafe — 0

Very Unsafe — 0

In the past year, do you feel that crime in your neighborhood has:

Increased — 0

Stayed the Same — 16

Decreased — 5

GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY CONCERNS

Quality of following services in neighborhood:

Ambulance: Cable Television:

Excellent — 14 Excellent — 13

Good — 7 Good — 6

Acceptable — 0 Acceptable — 0

Poor — 0 Poor — 0

Don’t Know — 0 Don’t Know — 0

Electric Utilities: Fire:

Excellent — 12 Excellent — 15

Good – 7 Good — 6

Acceptable – 1 Acceptable — 0

Poor – 0 Poor — 0

Don’t Know – 1 Don’t Know — 0

Gas: Phone:

Excellent — 12 Excellent — 12

Good — 7 Good — 7

Acceptable — 1 Acceptable — 1

Poor — 0 Poor — 0

Don’t Know — 1 Don’t Know — 1

Police:

Excellent — 12

Good — 8

Acceptable — 0

Poor — 1

Don’t Know — 0

POLICE CONCERNS

Evaluate current performance of the police in each of following areas:

Quickness in Responding to Calls: Successfully Satisfying Your Call:

Excellent — 13 Excellent — 13

Good — 6 Good — 6

Acceptable — 1 Acceptable — 1

Poor — 0 Poor — 0

Don’t Know — 1 Don’t Know — 1

Willing to Work With Neighborhood: Vehicle Patrols:

Excellent — 12 Excellent — 12

Good — 5 Good — 6

Acceptable — 3 Acceptable — 2

Poor — 1 Poor — 0

Don’t Know — 0 Don’t Know — 0

Foot Patrols:

Excellent — 10

Good — 3

Acceptable — 6

Poor — 2

Don’t Know — 0

VOLUNTEER WORK

Does your neighborhood have a crime watch program?

Yes — 0

No — 4

Don’t know — 17

If not, would you like your neighborhood to have a crime watch program?

Yes — 13

No — 6

Don’t know — 2

Do you/would you participate in a crime watch program?

Yes — 13

No — 2

Don’t know — 6

Does your neighborhood have a neighborhood association or community group?

Yes — 0

No — 17

Don’t know — 4

Do you/would you participate in the association or group?

Yes — 13

No — 6

Don’t know — 2

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