Integrity Matters
January 9, 2008

Hope, education reduce crime

Question: (E-325)

How can crime be reduced?


Education! But, even before providing culture-building learning opportunities; the unquestionable need is for hope. Optimism, enthusiasm and confidence must become “givens” for the youngest and most vulnerable members of society. And, who will provide this education for hope? Concerned citizens!

Successful leaders, by nature are optimistic. They own, operate, direct and sustain organizations both public and private - with one goal: do well for and with those they serve.  Consistent quality, service and financial strength cause organizations to prosper. Effective organizations provide meaningful work, on-going training, career opportunities, and hope for those on whom they depend for success. Should society-at-large operate any differently? No.

Successful individuals are skilled, with confidence in their abilities.  They have no need to lie, cheat, steal or murder. There are disappointing exceptions to that rule, but betting on quality education and optimism remains the odds-on choice.
Hope-inspiring education is step one for success, starting with responsible parents who instill life-affirming family values. Next come teachers and coaches who pass along intellectual, athletic and practical insights. To even further utilize education to build constructive lives, personally and professionally, practical applications must be combined with inspiring and realistic hope.     

Crime prevention, according to criminologists, prestigious commissions and research bodies, can be tied to education. They agree that governments must go beyond law enforcement and criminal justice to tackle the risk factors that cause crime. Literacy is key. These experts know prevention is more cost effective and leads to greater social benefits than the standard ways of responding to crime with suppression. Preventing anti-social behaviors requires capturing mindshare, early, and is the best crime-reduction approach for all youth, especially those at greatest risk. 

Opinion polls confirm public support for investment in prevention, including education.  Mentoring programs can combine information with inspiration – whether through schools, religious institutions or social-service organizations.  If you are reading this column, then you can help. 

Identify your own skills and abilities, reflecting what has caused you to succeed.

Communicate your desire to help the next generation by offering to:

  • Read to young students.
  • Lead a youth activity – scouting, sports, debate, fishing, boating.
  • Counsel those who want to know “how” to achieve their career objectives.
  • Provide financial assistance to goal-directed students.
  • Emphasize the importance of preparation, optimism and follow-through.
By offering younger people enriched opportunities, combined with hope, individuals and communities gain strength, reduce crime, save lives and improve productivity.


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