Crime prevention efforts that include publicity components need to address the campaign’s cost-effectiveness. Police agencies have numerous media options to promote their message, each with differing costs and convenience. As mentioned above, the different formats range from television campaigns to common fliers. With proper planning and organization, most police departments can undertake a publicity campaign with minimal costs.
A key consideration in the cost of publicity campaigns, especially ones that involve signs and/or posters, is that their visibility be constant, allowing agencies cost-effective message dissemination. While other components of the intervention may be in effect only when people are actively promoting crime prevention measures, a posted sign is always “at work.”
Police agencies can also reap indirect benefits by initiating publicity campaigns, including the following:
Research has shown that when a publicity campaign advertises an upcoming police intervention, crime reduction benefits may occur before implementation. This phenomenon is called “anticipatory benefits.”27This occurs when the pre-intervention publicized warning alters offenders’ perceptions of risk. Thus, police agencies can maximize their crime reduction potential through the early advertising of future prevention efforts.
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