Coordinated Community Response to Crime

Victims, especially those that find difficulty in coping, have similar needs and concerns independent of the type of crime committed against them. Victims in need share the same litany of psychological responses to crisis, such as fright, helplessness, nervousness, insecurity, anger, et al. (Roberts & Yeager, 2009). All victims of crime could potentially benefit from community support in the form of coordinated community response teams (CCRTs; Guo, Biegel, Johnsen, & Dyches, 2001; Roberts & Yeager, 2009).

A Google Scholar search of the terms coordinated community response -domestic -violence revealed a dearth of information regarding CCRTs, aside from those dedicated to domestic violence (which yielded a large portion of the result when the Google Scholar search term was limited to coordinated community response). As I consider the possibilities of an effective CCRT dedicated to a crime other than domestic violence, which enjoys an apparent steady and potent growth in activism, I envision a CCRT that is prepared to intervene for victims of crime in general.

In many communities, today, an effort is ongoing to develop Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs. The aim of this effort, headed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is to prepare and train a broad citizen base to help respond to and aid victims of disasters when emergency services are overwhelmed, either by a multiple-seated disaster (a disaster involving a large geographical area where emergency resources are spread thinly throughout) or a small but involved emergency such as a search and rescue mission or a building collapse. This infrastructure of trained disaster responders is prime to include training in crisis intervention for victims of crime.

As respected members of the community, the CERT would be familiar with the community as a whole and would be trustworthy. Many CERT members are local fire officials or family members of fire officials.

In order to augment disaster response services with coordinated community response in crisis intervention of crime, the team, again, would require training in crisis intervention and must establish a cadre that is ready and willing to respond more often than official CERT requirements. The cadre must prepare a list of community resources available to assist victims of crime, such as psychological and psychiatric counseling if lethality is present or indeterminable or if a general need for counseling exists (Lewis & Roberts, 2001; Roberts & Ottens, 2005; Roberts & Yeager, 2009). Other important resources to include are state victim services organizations, safe housing, legal advocacy, judicial avenues of protection, such as instructions on obtaining no contact orders from the court, press contacts to prepare organized press releases when the crime is of such a magnitude that community outreach is desired. This program with additional assistance from licensed social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists could also benefit the community by providing traditional mobile crisis intervention services, crime notwithstanding.

Guo et al. (2001) examines the usefulness of mobile crisis intervention teams. Redundancy being a limitation in a small community, CERT provides an existing framework of trustworthy and available community members that might be willing to augment their training in order to further service their community in a time of need.


Guo, S., Biegel, D. E., Johnsen, J. A., & Dyches, H. (2001). Assessing the impact of community-based mobile crisis services on preventing hospitalization. Psychiatric Services, 52(2), 223-228. doi:10.1176/

Lewis, S. & Roberts, A. R. (2001). Crisis assessment tools: the good, the bad, and the available. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 1(1), 17-28. doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/1.1.17

Roberts, A. R. & Ottens, A. J. (2005). The seven-stage crisis intervention model: a road map to goal attainment, problem solving, and crisis resolution. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 5(4), 329-339. doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhi030

Roberts, A. R. & Yeager, K. R. (2009). Pocket guide to crisis intervention. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Third Judicial District Conference. (1999). Characteristics of an effective coordinated community response. Retrieved from CharacteristicsCCR.pdf