17. Sep. 2009

Applying 5S Principles in the Community to Reduce Crime

by Kimball Fink-Jensen

The results – a 20% reduction in calls to police relating to crime in the cleaned up area

In early February, The Boston Globe published a story on the results of an experiment based on so-called “Broken Windows” principles. Starting with 34 designated crime hot spots, they cleaned up the environment in half of them and left the remainder as they were. The experiment was conducted with the assistance of Harvard and Suffolk Universities. The results – a 20% reduction in calls to police relating to crime in the cleaned up areas.

Those in the KAIZEN® community will instantly recognise the 5S principle at work. For those who are not familiar with 5S, it is the absolute foundation of KAIZEN® (lean). In business it relates to workplace organisation and translates as Sort, Set/Straighten, Shine, Standardise and Sustain. As this (never-ending) process of workplace organisation is implemented, it creates a measurable improvement in employee morale, attitudes and behaviours. This alone is usually a significant benefit for the organisation undertaking KAIZEN® thinking. Then with these aspects in place, other Lean initiatives can begin to be implemented and the further benefits of Lean can flow.

The example above it is the beginning of the application of 5S in the community and the results are unsurprising. The flow-on effects from reduced crime will be significant – on police, the court system, the social welfare agencies and of course the victims, the offenders and their families. As those flow-on effects are realised, it will help politicians (and the public) to realise why the principle of 5S is such a powerful concept.

The real test of political will arises as they move through the fourth and fifth S’s – will they extend this to other crime hotspots (standardise) and then sustain it? Perhaps the real question is can they afford not to?

Check out the full article here

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