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In 2007, the state of Texas embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce crime rates by reforming the criminal justice system. As a result, crime throughout the state has dropped by more than 20 percent, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Writing in a recent Lufkin Daily News column, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that rethinking how the state looks at crime and sentencing has enabled lawmakers to find better ways to reduce crime and put fewer people in jail.
Texas legislators developed their new approach to crime by first taking a look at mental health, drug treatment, and parole and probation policies, Cornyn said. The thinking was that since the drug trade plays a huge role in fueling crime, addressing drug use would be a far better way to spend tax money designated for crime prevention.
They came up with a plan to invest in drug courts and treatment strategies instead of building new prisons with more beds. They began adopting improvements to the state corrections system that were based on verifiable evidence rather than conjecture. They found ways to integrate rehabilitation, restitution and reintegration strategies so that those in prison would have a greater chance of succeeding once they got out.
Other states have adopted similar measures with varying levels of success. For example, Pew data showed that Georgia and South Carolina have crime reductions of 11 percent and 14 percent respectively, along with North Carolina at 20 percent.
We imagine the significant reduction in crime in Texas goes a long way toward making state residents feel a lot safer. The same goes for Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Whenever crime rates go down, people tend to be less fearful that they will eventually become victims themselves.
Lower crime rates are always welcome news, but even the best-laid plans for criminal justice reform can only go so far. There will always be people who choose to engage in criminal activity, so individual citizens must still do their part by taking every step they can to protect themselves.
It all starts with a home security system that includes 24-hour live monitoring. Statistics show that monitored home security acts as a deterrent, since studies show that houses with monitored alarm systems are less likely to be targets of property crimes.
Homeowners can also increase their home security by installing heavy-duty door and window locks, making sure their homes have adequate lighting, and keeping exteriors well-maintained in order to provide a good view from the street.
Crime in Texas and a few other states is falling significantly thanks to a new approach to criminal justice. Hopefully that will continue across the country in the years ahead. In the meantime, Monitronics is committed to keeping our customers safe with the latest in home security equipment and monitoring packages.
Sources: Lufkin Daily News – http://lufkindailynews.com/news/community/article_f51ea710-3990-11e6-8d6b-7b18e7ca1d9a.html
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