They argue that too many resources are currently devoted to the 3% of offenders who are sentenced by the courts and not enough on making it harder for crime and anti-social behaviour to flourish in the first place.
The associations say an effective community safety approach would involve councils, police, and other statutory and voluntary agencies getting to grips with the fear of crime.
Councils are best equipped to take the lead, the associations argue, because they are democratically accountable to local communities and are responsible for most of the services which are crucial to community safety - housing, town planning, street lighting, education, social services and leisure.
An association position statement, Crime - The Local Solution, says that councils should be given a statutory duty to produce annual community safety plans in consultation with other key partners. They would have to work particularly closely with police authorities to ensure that community safety plans dovetailed with policing plans.
The CSPs should spell out what the council and its partners proposed to do about cutting crime, fear of crime, and anti-social behaviour.
Councils would also publish an annual report showing what progress has been made, and setting out the amounts they are spending on community safety.
-- Crime - The Local Solution is available free of charge from ADC Publications, 26 Chapter St, London SW1P 4ND.