In this day and age, it is my belief that as an evolved law enforcement agency, our responsibility is not only to respond to crimes but also to work towards reducing future criminal acts through methods of deterrence and community education.
The primary ingredient for a crime to occur is an “opportunity.” Most crimes are not well-planned and are generally opportunistic in nature. Obviously we can’t control when an offender may cross our paths, but we can limit their ability to commit a crime by improving our awareness and practicing sound crime prevention techniques.
Criminals prefer to commit crimes that are quick, not easily detected, or ones in which there will be limited resistance offered. This is accomplished by selecting “soft” targets. Examples of soft targets would be unlocked cars containing valuables in plain sight, a person flashing cash as he or she leaves an ATM, a person walking alone late at night, or anything else that screams “easy prey.”
The community at large is made up of hard-working, law-abiding citizens, but because there are predators among us, we really need to be alert and harden the targets that criminals would exploit. When you exit your vehicle, lock the doors and roll up the windows. It is never a good idea to leave valuables in sight because they provide temptation to would-be thieves. At home, lock your doors at night and when you are away. Install motion detector lights, and cut away overgrown shrubbery that would hide a person’s movement. These simple acts pay big dividends in crime prevention.
As you leave an ATM, be aware of who’s around you. Quickly place your cash in your pocket and show an image of awareness to your surroundings because again, opportunistic criminals prey on the weak and oblivious. Developing high levels of awareness is so important because it creates the ability to observe the world around you, to orient yourself to a threat, to formulate a decision, and of course to respond and act.