Simple Acts to Improve Safety in Your Community by Misery White

Misery White

This information is for any citizen and is not specific to the RLSH community.

Anyone can be more alert, observant, collaborative and responsive in the safety of their own communities. There are many ways to do so and these are just a few suggestions. Some of this information is very basic and has been cited before on S.T.A.N.D. but I’ll restate it because it’s warrants restating as we plan for 2013.

Seek out Basic First Aid and CPR Training. Knowing something as simple as how to help someone who is choking, or how to maintain an airway, can mean the difference between life and death for a stranger or a loved one! I have used my training almost as much in my day-to-day life as I have on duty or on-call.

Enroll in a free CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) course. You are not typically required to be put on a response list, but if you volunteer, you may get called upon to help with a natural disaster or missing person search. The basic duties may differ state to state but generally the courses have the same purpose. Volunteering may simply involve answering phones for an hour. You do what you can with the ability you have to do so. People of all abilities are needed.

To find a CERT class near you: http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert
Most Wanted. As long as you’re on the internet looking for a CERT class, check your local county Sheriff’s Office website for a current list of wanted individuals who have an active warrant for their arrest. These individuals are wanted in connection with suspected criminal activity and are typically believed to be dangerous. (*Do NOT attempt direct contact with wanted individuals. If you see any wanted criminal immediately call 9-1-1!) This may seem like a shot-in-the-dark opportunity but these people don’t hide 24/7. They do go out in public: They are seen and known.

Have your local Sheriff’s Office Tip Line available. Post the number by your home phone or enter it in your cell. If you (or someone you know) have an affiliation with a wanted individual, information you can report that will best help law enforcement can include, but is not limited to:

• Current location
• Friends or family
• Place(s) of employment
• Phone numbers or email addresses
• Who they live with
• Who they are dating or married to
• Vehicles they drive, including any license plates

Join or start a Neighborhood Watch group. These groups are kept informed of crime trends and patterns, which helps participants to be better prepared to spot any crime activity and stop it in their neighborhood. The groups also post signs in their area and convicted burglars have reported avoiding neighborhoods that have these signs visible.

Neighborhood Watch also promotes getting to know your neighbors and their regular patterns so that each of you will be able to recognize and report any activity that doesn’t fit with regular schedules. When you first know what “normal” looks like, you can best gauge what is not normal. Carry a pen/small pad of paper or have a cell phone ready to log any details of suspicious activity you observe. Note times, places, the abnormal activity, descriptions of suspicious persons including clothing, height, weight, hair color, noticeable scars or tattoos, and other distinguishing marks or details such as walk or speech pattern/accent.

By knowing and communicating with others in your neighborhood, you can feel more secure about your property when you are away, and help your neighbors to feel the same. You won’t have to rely on a hero to come to your rescue, because you and your neighbors will rely on each other and empower yourselves in maintaining a safer community.

Article excerpts from Ramsey County Minnesota Sheriff’s Office.

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