Stephen Bennett

Daily Point of Light # 3225 Jun 15, 2006

There are not many places left in America that can boast of being crime-free. Unfortunately, with increased growth in the Moapa Valley, there has been increased crime and drug abuse. It is possible, however, to look ahead with a bright hope for the future as we work to preserve the peaceful environment we have enjoyed for so many years. The best fight against crime is an awareness of how to prevent becoming victims of crime. That does not mean bars on our windows or isolation within our homes. It means taking simple measures to deter potential perpetrators of crime. It is easy to think that if you have not been personally victimized by crime that you are not affected, especially in a rural community. However, everyone is affected by crime. Each time a crime is committed; numerous professionals are required, such as police, detectives, judges, probation officers, and others. Taxpayers pay these salaries and more professionals are needed as crime and drug abuse rise.

Valuable information was given out at the Crime Prevention Fair that Stephen Bennett organized for the entire community in collaboration with the Cappalappa Family Resource Center (CFRC). In addition to the Crime Fair, a dinner and a variety of other fun activities and programs for kids and adults were presented, such as K-9 and self-defense demonstrations. It was Bennett’s desire to create a positive atmosphere where people came together as friends and neighbors to unite in the fight against crime. This fair united the community in a positive, proactive approach to fighting crime.

Crime prevention can be defined as trying to address crime problems at their source, rather than waiting for offenders to reach the criminal justice system. It is an attempt to stop crime or anti-social behavior before it occurs. The causes of crime are complex, involving a wide range of immediate and longer-term social factors. Some of these relate to family violence and neglect, difficulties in school, poor housing, peer pressure and blocked social opportunities. All of which are prevalent in a rural community. Bennett decided to take on this responsibility after his brothers were part of a youthful prank (peer pressure) that damaged a neighbor’s pool. After witnessing the entire process his brothers went through, Bennett felt strongly about laying the foundation for a safer community. Community crime prevention has emerged as a major alternative and supplement to the criminal justice system.

The emphasis of crime prevention is on maximizing the health and well being of all members of a community, and enhancing their opportunities to partake in community life as fully as possible. Bennett encourages citizen participation, as well as the role of the community as a whole in crime prevention efforts by Preserving Peace in Moapa Valley.