Find God during Crime Prevention Month, as you think about God’s ideal standard for the way people treat each other.
Each year millions of Americans are victims of crime, so the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has designated October as National Crime Prevention Month.
This month-long commemoration recognizes those who work tirelessly all year to prevent crime and highlights new tips and resources for effective crime prevention in the future.
It is also when registered Celebrate Safe Communities (CSC) sites arrange community-safety events and programs that include law enforcement agencies, schools, and businesses. Celebrate Safe Communities is a joint initiative of NCPC and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice.
NCPC is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the nation’s resource for crime prevention by offering technical assistance and training, developing and implementing programs, publishing consumer education materials, and disseminating information to thousands of individuals and organizations.
The NCPC is responsible for the familiar “Take A Bite Out Of Crime” public-service campaign, featuring McGruff, the Crime Dog.
In 1993, McGruff’s nephew Scruff, who has a special knack for talking with the youngest children, was introduced to help teach children crime, drug, and violence prevention behaviors. If you have kids or grandkids, check out the site for helpful info, videos, and games at a website just for them: McGRUFF the Crime Dog.
God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites as a type of “crime prevention” program. While the first four commandments address our relationship with God, the last six deal with how to treat other people:
“You must not murder . . . commit adultery . . . steal . . . testify falsely against your neighbor . . . [or] covet your neighbor’s [possessions]” (Exodus 20:13-17).
[Jesus said] “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
Jesus gave an even higher principle for our treatment of others.
Many teachings and religions had put the Golden Rule in a negative form: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” Jesus expressed it in a positive form: We are to treat others as we want to be treated. This involves more than just refraining from hurtful actions; it calls us to actively do good to others, looking out for their best interests and safety.
We can do this only if we have the Holy Spirit living in us and empowering us to live a righteous life. Then the Golden Rule does more than “Take A Bite Out Of Crime”—it helps us find God and learn how He wants us to behave toward others.
If everyone followed Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12, we would never have to designate a Crime Prevention Month.
For more information about Crime Prevention Month, visit the NCPC website.
Here’s a vintage 1981 Public Service Announcement clip from McGruff the Crime Dog:
© Dianne Neal Matthews (www.DianneNealMatthews.com). Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. This article is adapted from her book, The One Year on This Day (Tyndale House).