In the seventies America was perceived to be in a malaise where nothing worked and nothing could be done about it. We had just had our future rewritten due to the oil embargo; “stagflation” was a word on every pundit’s lips, and nothing seemed to be able to be done about our social issues, especially crime.
Thirty years ago this month a perfect confluence of need, ideas, and the people with the passion for those ideas came together. Policymakers, community members, law enforcement, organizations, business leaders, and, significantly, the Department of Justice determined that ordinary citizens could be important and essential factors in the fight against crime and it was time to spread that message. Enter one Carl M. Loeb, Jr.—businessman and philanthropist—and a host of other like-minded citizens whose attitude of optimism and activism resulted in McGruff, the Crime Dog and the Take A Bite Out of Crime Campaign ®. What started with an idea of getting people focused and involved in community crime prevention has evolved into a movement and an agency (the National Crime Prevention Council) that provide many services to the nation. You know McGruff for his award-winning public service advertising and his groundbreaking and comprehensive crime prevention initiatives for cities and communities. He is also the face behind hundreds of ready-to-use crime prevention publications, this award winning website and this one, and expert training for law enforcement personnel. Whether he is needed for a Boys and Girls Club in Las Cruces, New Mexico or a small police force in upstate New York— McGruff is there.
Although the McGruff story started with a good idea and an even better attitude, others’ contributions— partners, current and former staff, law enforcement, the Ad Council, Saatchi & Saatchi advertising, Causeway Agency, community members, and monumentally, the U.S. Department of Justice—made the National Crime Prevention Council what it is today. All have contributed in significant ways to make our communities safer.
Thirty years later, it’s not enough to know that the vast majority of Americans know and recognize McGruff. What’s important is that the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens trust his crime prevention message. That’s a tribute to the vision of the founders and all who have kept NCPC going in communities across the country for the past thirty years. Happy Birthday, McGruff! Good Dog! Good Dog!
Click here for 30 ideas to help celebrate McGruff’s 30th.