The Crime Prevention Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide in 2024

Prepare to dive into the world of crime prevention! Earning the Crime Prevention merit badge will equip you with the skills and know-how to protect your friends and family, making your community a safer and more secure place for all. Plus, you’ll definitely learn a thing or two to be better prepared for the “real world!”

In answering each requirement for this useful real-world badge, we’ll explore the importance of law enforcement and community watch programs for keeping you safe. We’ll also cover the role of citizens, the impact of gangs on a neighborhood, and even how to make a crime prevention plan of your own! With this helpful info as your guide, you’ll be far less likely to fall victim to any crime in your future. 😀

If youd like my help with any Eagle-required badges, you should definitely check out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I know this resource will be helpful to Scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

So, are you ready to get started? Let’s embark on this journey to a safer future together! First, take a minute to read through each of the requirements listed below, and then I’ll help you to answer each one for your merit badge worksheet. Time to start learning about how to prevent crimes!

What Are The Crime Prevention Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Discuss the role and value of laws in society with regard to crime and crime prevention. Include in your discussion the definitions of “crime” and “crime prevention.”
  2. Prepare a journal from various sources that addresses crime and crime prevention efforts in your community.
  3. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    3a. The role of citizens, including youth, in crime prevention.
    3b. Gangs and their impact on the community.
    When and how to report a crime.
  4. After doing EACH of the following, discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
    4a. Inspect your neighborhood for opportunities that may lead to crime. Learn how to do a crime prevention survey.
    4b. Using the checklist in this (the merit badge) pamphlet, conduct a security survey of your home and discuss the results with your family.
  5. Teach your family or patrol members how to protect themselves from crime at home. at school, in your community, and while traveling.
  6. Help raise awareness about one school safety issue facing students by doing ONE of the following:
    6a. Create a poster for display on a school bulletin board.
    6b. With permission from school officials, create a page long public service announcement that could be read over the public address system at school or posted on the school’s website.
    6c. Make a presentation to a group such as a Cub Scout den that addresses the issue.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    7a. Assist in the planning and organization of a crime prevention program in your community such as Neighborhood Watch, Community Watch, or Crime Stoppers. Explain how this program can benefit your neighborhood.
    7b. With your parent’s and counselor’s approval, visit a jail or detention facility or a criminal court hearing. Discuss your experience with your counselor.
  8. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    8a. How drug abuse awareness programs help prevent crime.
    8b. Why alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are sometimes called “gateway drugs” and how “gateway drugs” can lead to the use of other drugs.
    8c. The potential consequences from the misuse of prescription drugs.
    8d. How the illegal sale and use of drugs lead to other crimes.
    8e. Three resources in your city where a person with a drug problem or drug-related problem can go for help.
    8f. How to recognize child abuse.
    8g. The three R’s of Youth Protection.
  9. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    9a. The role of a sheriff’s or police department in crime prevention.
    9b. The purpose and operation of agencies in your community that help law enforcement personnel prevent crime, and how those agencies function during emergency situations.
    9c. Explain the role private security plays in crime prevention.
    Choose a career in the crime prevention or security industry that interests you. Describe the level of education required and responsibilities of a person in that position. Tell why this position interests you.
1) Discuss the role and value of laws in society with regard to crime and crime prevention. Include in your discussion the definitions of ‘crime’ and ‘crime prevention.’

Crime is any act that breaks a law and/or violates another person’s rights. To deal with the effects of crime, society invented a legal system dedicated to determining what is legal and what is considered a crime. This way, there’s no confusion as to what’s wrong and what’s right! Crime is broken down into two major categories: violent crimes and nonviolent crimes.  

Law enforcement officials such as the police work together with the local community to keep an eye out for illegal activities. This is the definition of ‘crime prevention’ and it’s goal is to help prevent crimes before they happen. Fostering good relations between law enforcement and the local community is also part of this important practice.

Want to learn more about how to be a great citizen, and earn a badge along the way? Check out my guide to the Eagle-required Citizenship in Society merit badge!

Crime prevention activities are a great way for citizens to gain trust for each other. Plus, these activities also help the public to develop trust in local law enforcement. When police and concerned citizens work together to help make their neighborhoods safer, the efforts of reducing crime are more effective! 🙂

2) Prepare a journal from various sources that addresses crime and crime prevention efforts in your community.

Part of understanding how you can help your community fight crime is understanding what type of crimes are committed within your community, along with your community’s efforts to curb this activity. To get a better understanding of your community’s issues, you’re required to make a “crime journal.”

In this journal, write down recent crimes in your community, crime rates, community efforts (neighborhood watches, police outreach, etc.), and high-profile crimes. Keep track of all of these as you complete the next few requirements, since you’ll likely be adding to your journal!

I’d recommend speaking with your parents or some other residents to learn about any crimes that have been committed in your area. You can also search online, or call into your local police station’s non-emergency number to hear a report of some recent crimes. This will definitely be enough to kick off your journal!

How To Understand Crime

Much of this merit badge will be spent discussing crime in your community as well as what you can do to prevent crime. Part of tackling crime is coming together as a community and working to resolve the root causes. This can be as simple as reporting crime or understanding your role as an upstanding citizen in your community.

In requirement 3, we’ll go over your role in crime prevention, gangs and how they can impact your community, as well as what to do when reporting a crime. These are all things you’ve probably heard before in school, but they’re important points that shouldn’t be taken lightly!

3) Discuss the following with your counselor:
3a) The role of citizens, including youth, in crime prevention

Citizens have a considerable influence on how well crime prevention tactics succeed in a neighborhood. The youth of a neighborhood are one of the most vulnerable groups that can be affected by crime through some of the following ways: 

  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Domestic abuse/domestic violence
  • Gang recruitment

Crime prevention for youth often involves giving them alternative social activities other than gangs. It also means raising awareness of domestic abuse and the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Within many communities, support groups exist to educate young people on how to recognize and avoid crime.

The number one way that citizens can help prevent crime is through awareness! Older citizens often have the wisdom to make younger generations aware of what crime is and how it can ruin relationships, jobs, and lives, as well as hurt the community as a whole. Through mutual support amongst citizens, fewer and fewer individuals will need to resort to crime!

3b) Gangs and their impact on the community

Gangs have always been an issue throughout our country, especially in large cities. This type of organized crime targets younger individuals, especially those living in poverty or without social support. Once these kids are a member of the gang, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to leave.

Gangs also have a significant impact on a community and the crime in it. Gang activity increases the incidence of drug activity in an area. It also increases the risk of violent crimes such as armed robberies and even murders. These crimes negatively affect people who are directly involved in them as well as their families.

Here is a great video (2:02) summarizing the impact of youth violence, including gang activity, and how it may be prevented:

It’s extremely important that you stay aware all youth violence, especially gang activity. While it may start small and even provide a sense of community, gang activity can snowball into a lifelong prison sentence or even death. If you’re ever approached by a gang, be sure to stay away and confide in a trusted adult for advice.

3c) When and how to report a crime

We all hope to never witness a crime, but it’s crucial to be prepared for this scenario. Often, young people are intimidated out of reporting a crime, or may be afraid that they’re going to get in trouble too. However, reporting a crime can sometimes be the difference between a criminal facing justice or being free to hurt others!

It can be hard for some people to speak up, especially if they haven’t had entirely positive experiences with law enforcement in the past, but know that by reporting a crime you’re making the right choice. The best thing to do when you see something that you know is illegal and could cause harm is to report it.

How to Report a Crime

To report a crime, contact your local police station of law enforcement help line. If it’s an emergency, always dial 911. Otherwise, calling your local department’s non-emergency line can help police file a report and prevent more people from getting hurt. You can find this by Googling “(your area) non emergency police department phone number.”

The best way to stop crime is by preventing it! This stops criminals before they even have the opportunity to hurt someone and face possible jail time. There are plenty of ways that you can prevent crime in your home and your community, if you know what to look for!

4) After doing EACH of the following, discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
4a) Inspect your neighborhood for opportunities that may lead to crime. Learn how to do a crime prevention survey.

In this requirement, you’ll be surveying your neighborhood and home for opportunities that may lead to crime. These can be small things like keeping valuables out of sight to much bigger things like securing doors, windows, and other entrances.

Your neighborhood may have several opportunities that criminals can take advantage of. To mitigate some of this risk, many people inspect their neighborhood using a crime prevention survey. Crime prevention surveys allow you to have a checklist of what is risky in your neighborhood.

When asked why Scouting matters, many Scouts and Scouters said it makes young people better community members. Check out this article to find out more about the relevance of Scouting today!

Nearly every community has a crime prevention survey available for you to use. They are super simple to complete, and help you ask some important questions about your community. If you can’t find a specific survey for your area, the National Crime Prevention Council has a great survey available online!

Print off this survey or one for your local community and fill it out based on your findings for your community. Take your time, think carefully, and consider discussing the questions with trusted adults as well! Then, keep your survey for your discussion with your counselor and begin thinking about the main next steps your community could take to become safer. 🙂

4b) Using the checklist in this (the merit badge) pamphlet, conduct a security survey of your home and discuss the results with your family.

A security survey of your home is very similar to the crime prevention survey. For this requirement, you’ll need to a take a close look at your home, from the locks and doors to family emergency planning. This is pretty easy, but you’ll want to make sure everything is written down for your counselor!

If you have access to the workbook or the pamphlet, great! The requirements are located in those texts. If not, here is the link to a PDF copy, which has all of the requirements listed at the bottom. This is a great resource for completing your merit badge!

5) Teach your family or patrol members how to protect themselves from crime at home, at school, in your community, and while traveling.

There are different types of crime that Scouts may be exposed to at home, at school, in their community, and while traveling. While it is unfortunate, crime can occur for anyone at any time. Here are 4 of the most common crimes that a Scout should be prepared to handle or prevent: 

  • A theft at school from a desk or locker
  • A street fight between students or adults
  • Telephone scams seeking to steal sensitive financial information 
  • Being drugged without your knowledge at a party

While some crimes are much more likely to happen than others, you should always be aware of your surroundings and the possibility of crime. Here’s a breakdown of some of the types of crime that you may encounter:


Theft is one of the most common crimes that law-abiding citizens will encounter. It is especially common in minimum wage jobs with a high turnover, such as the types of jobs teenagers tend to take. Often in retail or food service, theft can involve simply taking money from the register. 

Theft can also involve a break-in, such as a person’s locker, car, or house being broken into and their things being stolen from inside. Break-ins are among the most dangerous types of theft, especially if the thief is armed. If you’re ever the victim of a break-in, call 911 immediately and note down what was stolen.

Here are some ways that you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of theft: 

  • Make sure to secure all belongings by using combination locks and other security measures.
  • Make sure that the home is kept locked, even while people are inside.
  • Be sure to report any theft you witness, whether it’s at your job, your school, or in public.
  • Keep valuables hidden from view.

Theft is extremely scary, but it can happen. Even with those precautions, someone might still decide to steal. Staying vigilant is the most important step you can take to prevent a possible theft. Plus, having insurance can help mitigate your losses if a theft does occur. Just take the proper precautions, and your chances of becoming a victim dop drastically!

Physical Violence

Physical violence is extremely serious, and tends to occur at night or in sketchy areas. People engaging in any kind of violence can seriously injure, or even kill someone by accident. You can also go to prison for a long time for assault, as well as pay hospital bills or damages to the other person involved.

Physical violence can occur between strangers, but it is more likely to occur between family members or classmates, according to the Bureau of Justice. It’s important to be aware of the signs of abuse and the signs of bullying, such as physical injury and changes in behavior or personality.

It is common for those who are being physically abused to be reluctant to report it, so it’s up to peers to keep an eye out for the signs and take action if necessary. Here are some ways that you can protect yourself from the consequences of physical violence: 

  • Be sure to tell a trusted adult if you think one of your peers is experiencing bullying or domestic abuse. Offer support where you can.
  • Learn self-defense methods for self-protection if attacked by another person.
  • Avoid situations where physical fights are more likely to occur, such as parties where alcohol is involved or emotionally tense environments.

If you are a victim of physical violence, say something. While this can be an extremely difficult decision, it will change your life. You deserve to be treated with respect and care, not abused. Contact your local police department or abuse hotline immediately if you or someone you know needs help.


Scams over the phone, through mail, or online fall into the category of white-collar crime. A white-collar crime is a nonviolent crime that usually involves fraud or theft without any physical violence. The most popular scams today, called phishing, attempt to steal your information in order to commit fraud. 

You or someone you know has likely already been targeted in a scam. They are extremely common and can destroy people’s lives. Here are some ways that you can protect yourself from the consequences of scams and other types of white-collar crime: 

  • Do not give out important security information over the phone to strangers, such as credit card information or social security numbers!
  • Help educate seniors on current white-collar scams since the elderly are one of the most vulnerable demographics for identity theft.
  • Stay informed on current scams and phishing operations so that you don’t accidentally fall prey to one.
  • Know which government entities to report suspected fraudulent activity to so that law enforcement officials can shut down scams.

Scams may seem like a minor crime, but these con artists can trick vulnerable people out of millions of dollars each year. It’s up to informed citizens like you to help protect both themselves and others from the consequences of scams and fraud. 

Here’s a great video (2:56) explaining the basics of phishing scams — scams in which a cybercriminal is “fishing” for your private information to help them hack into your account, steal your identity, and more.

Sexual Assault

While it isn’t a comfortable subject, sexual assault and exploitation have been one of the most common crimes in history. According to the United Nations, one in three women experiences sexual abuse in their lifetime, and many men are assaulted as well.

As with other crimes, there are precautions you can take to help prevent assault from happening to you or others. However, when someone is sexually assaulted, it is not their fault — no matter where they were, what they were wearing, or how much they drank.

Here are some ways that citizens and Scouts can protect themselves and others from sexual assault: 

  • Learn about the concept of consent and how it applies to sexual relations.
  • Raise awareness of sexual assault and sexual harassment and call it out when it occurs.
  • Never leave a drink unattended at a party or bar.
  • Learn about bystander intervention and how to initiate it.
  • Be sure to utilize safety escorts and other safety measures available in your community.
  • Learn how to report a sexual assault or suspected sexual exploitation if you come across it.
  • Avoid excess alcohol or ingesting any substance that clouds a person’s judgment.

Much of crime prevention involves being aware of your surroundings and knowing which law enforcement entities to turn to if a crime does happen. More importantly, if you feel a situation is unsafe, leave immediately. By being vigilant, prepared, and smart, you’ll have much better odds of never becoming a victim!

Congrats on Finishing The First Half of The Crime Prevention Merit Badge!

Wow, we just covered a ton of useful knowledge for preventing crime and becoming safer in society! Well done, Scout. Do you now feel more prepared to prevent yourself and your family from falling vistim to criminals? You definitely should! Give yourself a giant pat on the back! 😀

Once you’re ready to continue on to part 2 of the Crime Prevention merit badge click here
(Also, subscribe to my newsletter for future updates!)

Also, if you’re interested in the difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge, you can check out my full guide here! PS: The article also links to my other ultimate badge guides that’ll help you to complete your merit badge worksheets.


I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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