broken window crime vandalism 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock )
Picture the following scene: A teenager from a broken home falls in with the
wrong crowd, and before long, begins breaking and entering into businesses to
steal. He is soon arrested, tried and convicted.
Now, the teenager has a
criminal record and his chances of a normal draft to the army are low.
amasses one conviction after another.
The youth drops out of school,
becomes unemployable and could easily go on to a life of serious
This is the scenario police are now hoping to preemptively stop
with a new program called Mila (Hebrew for “word”) set to be launched on
“What’s special about this program is that it is being led by
the commissioner [Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino]. He is sending out the message
that he would like to prevent this, not only for youths, but for all of
society,” said Dep.-Cmdr.
Meri Meir-Lazar, head of the Partnership
Department in the Israel Police Operations Branch.
When the project
begins, each of the approximately 70 police stations will have a staff of
officers who will contact youths deemed by the Welfare and Social Services
Ministry to be at risk of crime, she said.
The officers will form a group
of troubled teens and meet with them twice a week at community centers. The
group will undergo workshops, go on trips and take leadership courses, as well
as hear lectures on how to stay clear of violence and crime.
success will mean that the youths will have no additional criminal cases opened
against them,” Meir-Lazar said. Additionally, the teens would no longer view
police as an enemy, but rather as an aid, she said.
“We’re also checking
the possibility that the youths volunteer in their communities,” she
Meir-Lazar stressed that the project depended on the police’s
cooperation with local authorities and government ministries.
leaving organizational ego out of this. These problems stem from society, and
the whole of society must solve them,” she said. “We all have an interest in
The project is part of a larger shift in the approach
towards community-based policing, which is being led by Danino.
of the change, the Community Policing Department went from being a marginal
police body to taking up a central position within the organization in recent
“The police’s whole agenda is [now] community based,” Meir-Lazar
said. “The commissioner would like the police to be in contact with every
municipality through joint forums. We don’t have to wait for government budgets
to get this started.”
On Wednesday, officials from the ministries of
Welfare and Social Services, Education and Public Security will meet with police
and local leaders at Tel Aviv police headquarters to launch the Mila program.