Community Policing: How to be an Aware and Active Member of Your Community


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When it comes to crime prevention, we all have a role to play in the safety and security of our communities. Millions of crimes in the U.S. go unreported every year because people are either not aware of their surroundings or too afraid to call the police. Our School of Justice Studies subject matter expert, Stefanie Dressen, discusses the importance of knowing your neighbors and details how to identify suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

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Community Policing: How to be an Aware and Active Member of Your Community

  1. 1. Community Policing How to be an Aware and Active Member of Your Community
  2. 2. Who is Stefanie Dressen? • Full-Time Police Officer – Use of Force Instructor – Bicycle Patrol Officer • Justice Studies Instructor – Ethics in Criminal Justice – Policing in America • BS in Criminal Justice – St. Cloud State University • MS in Criminal Behavior – Tiffin University - Ohio
  3. 3. Follow us on Twitter: @RasShowcase #SMEShowcase Like us on Facebook: Circle us on Google+ Leave a Comment on YouTube Got a Question? Just Ask!
  4. 4. • Being Aware – What is Suspicious Activity? • See it, Hear it, Report it – How do I avoid being a Victim? • Burglary • Assault Agenda • Being Active – Know your neighborhood • Neighborhood Watch • Crime Watch – Community Events • National Night Out – Police/Fire Open House • County or City?
  5. 5. • Suspicous activities can refer to incidents, events, individuals or circumstances that seem unusual or out of place. • Hear it or See It, then Report it! • Examples:  Loitering in your neighborhood, schools, parks or secluded areas  Vehicle cruising the streets repeatedly  Someone looking into cars or house windows  High volume of traffic coming to and from a residence What is Suspicous Activity?
  6. 6. What is Suspicious Activity?  Strange odor in a residential or commercial area  Open or broken windows and doors  Tampering with electrical, gas or phone systems  Sounds of glass breaking, gunshots, screaming, crying or fighting  Strangers removing license plates and valuables from a car or residence
  7. 7. Who Do I Call? What Do I Tell Them? • You can always call 911! You can also call the non-emergency number if you have it for your local police department.  You are not bothering the police or dispatcher when you call. • Helpful information you call tell police about the suspect include:  Sex, race, age, height, weight of suspect  Hair color, hair style, scars or tattoos  General appearance; well dressed, homeless, baggy clothes
  8. 8. • Helpful information you call tell police about the vehicle:  License plate; out of state  Make and model; four-door, two-door, truck or car  Approximate year of vehicle; older or new style  Color, bumper stickers, rims, dents, lettering or rust  Direction of travel  Number of occupants • Helpful information about the location of the suspect or vehicle:  Provide exact address if possible or intersection  A monument is always helpful Who Do I Call? What Do I Tell Them?
  9. 9. Follow us on Twitter: @RasShowcase #SMEShowcase Like us on Facebook: Circle us on Google+ Leave a Comment on YouTube Got a Question? Just Ask!
  10. 10. What Does a Burglar Look For? • Make your home look and sound occupied  Daytime: Leave your drapes and shades in a normal position.  Don’t leave valuables in close site to window or doors.  Nighttime: Turn on inner lights and outside lights. o Consider buying automatic light timers.  Never leave garage doors open, day or night. o This is a welcome sign to burglars.  When leaving, put away outdoor valuables. o Law mowers, bikes, chairs, tables and garden hoses
  11. 11. What Does a Burglar Look For? • Install good locks and use them.  Older doors and frames may have become worn leaving a pronounced gap that allows for easy prying. Be sure to replace old doors and windows.  Close and lock windows at night and during the day. Burglars will cut screens!  Install a window or peep hole in solid doors.  Don’t give out keys and don’t store keys outside. Change locks if you lose or have a key stolen.  ALWAYS lock all doors and windows, home or not home.
  12. 12. • Don’t welcome burglars by telephone.  Burglars will try to find out if someone is home by calling.  If you get several wrong numbers or open air calls then call police.  Warn family and friends not to give out personal information over the phone.  Make it harder for a burglar to case a home by avoiding names on mailboxes or doors. • Don’t open your doors for anyone.  Burglars will try to gain access by sales or objects they actual sell or don’t sell. o Ask for a city soliciting permit, but still don’t‘ let them inside .  Ask repair people or others who claim to work for a company to show positive ID before opening the door. o Do not leave them alone in your house.  If you help someone outside, then leave them outside and call the police from inside. What Does a Burglar Look For?
  13. 13. What Does a Burglar Look For? • Don’t reward the Burglar.  Never leave large amounts of cash at home.  Keep valuable jewelry in a safety box. o Screw down or fasten any safety boxes. • Burglars HATE dogs.  They will look and listen for dogs that bark. • Burglars HATE alarms.  The louder the alarm the better.  Post signs in your yard.  Be sure to set the alarm when you are home and not home. • Join Operation Identification.  Method of recording important items through the police department. • Record serial numbers for ALL valuable items.  Do not record them on a computer just in case that is stolen.
  14. 14. What a Burglar Won’t Tell You … • Hey, thanks for letting me use your bathroom last week. While I was there, I unlocked the window. • Yes, I really do look for piles of newspapers or mail. I may leave a pizza flyer or something similar to see how long it takes you to remove it. • If it snows while you are out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks. Untouched snow is a giveaway! • A good security company alarms all windows and doors, even the upper level. • I do not take a day off for bad weather. • A loud TV or radio can be better than an alarm system. Search for “What a Burglar won’t tell you” on the Internet. Open garage door; score!
  15. 15. Follow us on Twitter: @RasShowcase #SMEShowcase Like us on Facebook: Circle us on Google+ Leave a Comment on YouTube Got a Question? Just Ask!
  16. 16. Are you aware of the people around you? • Hair and clothing  Hair that is easy to grab  Clothes that are easy to grab • Distraction  People busy on the phone  Digging in a bag or purse  Looking for keys • Opportunity  Open or unlocked car doors  Open windows  Valuables in vehicle  People who are alone in secluded places • Vulnerable people  Women with children  People who respond to homeless citizens What Do Robbery/Assault Suspects Look For? Do you have pepper spray on your keys? Do you walk and text?
  17. 17. • Your neighbors will be your best resource!  Not only the neighbors next to you, but across the street, down the road … everywhere in your neighborhood.  Do you know the cars in your neighborhood? o Would you recognize a suspicious car?  If your neighbor’s house was on fire, would you be able to tell police how many people live there, and how many cars they have to see if they are home?  If your neighbor(s) were on vacation, would you know?  If you help them, then they will help you.  If police found a child, would you know where they lived? Do you Know your Neighbors? I heard a scream at my neighbors. Should I call the police?
  18. 18. Do you Know your Local Police and Fire Department? • Where is the Police Department or Sheriff’s Office in your community? • Where is the closest fire department?  You can always go there for help. They will find an officer to help you.  Do they offer free fire safety checks and plans? • Would you know the Police Chief or Sheriff if you saw him or her? • Do you have a School Resource Officer? • Does your local police department or sheriff’s office offer “house check” services?  They will check on your house while you are on vacation.  An officer will check to see if your home is safe from burglars. • Did you register your alarm system?  Do your local police or sheriff’s office charge for a false alarm response? • Police and fire are here to help. If they can’t help you, then they will do their best to find someone who will.
  19. 19. • National Night Out – August  Great way to get to know everyone! • Police or Fire Open House  Annual Reports  Crime Statistics • Summer Festivals • Police and Fire Citizens Academy  Learn what each departments does in your community.  Learn what your local police and fire have to offer. • Police Neighborhood Meetings How Do I Get to Know My Community?
  20. 20. • Neighborhood Watch or Crime Watch  Contact your local police department to start a group.  Monthly meetings and patrols  Neighborhood signs • Local Church Events • Local Community Center Events • Local Chamber of Commerce How do I Get to Know my Community?
  21. 21. Citizens are the number one source of criminals being arrested. Stay alert, the police need you. We couldn’t do our job without you! News from Police …
  22. 22. Follow us on Twitter: @RasShowcase #SMEShowcase Like us on Facebook: Circle us on Google+ Leave a Comment on YouTube Got a Question? Just Ask!