Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Stay Informed!

A recent article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune relates the story of how a couple’s involvement led to the arrest of several burglary suspects. Quite often, residents will ask what they can do to help prevent crime in their neighborhood and what they can to do help the police. You don’t necessarily need to become physically involved to be a great asset to Law Enforcement and you neighborhood in combating crime. The news article gives an excellent example of being a great witness. The man took photos of the suspects and their vehicle while his wife called the police. These photos may become evidence used later in court should the suspects choose to fight their charges. Sometimes the best asset is being a great witness and alerting police to things that don’t appear right, in addition to the obvious crime in progress.

A proactive step that you can take is to empower yourself with a little bit of local knowledge. Use community wire and crime mapping services such as Nixle, CrimeReports.com, or CrimeMapping.com.

Nixle is provided free to anyone who wishes to subscribe to email and text alerts/messages to their computers or cellular phones, from their local cities and police or sheriff agencies. These messages will range from community bulletins, traffic advisories, to alerts that may discuss emergency notification, missing persons, crime information, and more. You can subscribe to more than one address or area. Monitor information that pertains to your home, your work, or any other jurisdiction that you have an interest in.

Up to date crime information is also important and can give you insight into criminal activity in your neighborhood. Knowing that there has been a rash of residential burglaries, auto thefts, or other criminal activity in your area may assist you in being more vigilant in crime prevention and taking steps to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Services such as CrimeReports.com and CrimeMapping.com are used by many police and sheriff departments to provide crime information to their communities. Some of these services even offer daily or weekly alerts to criminal activity via email. As an example, the City of Duarte, patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, participates in crime mapping and a screen shot example is pictured above.

Not all cities and counties make these types of services available, but the trend is growing. Check your local city website or visit the sites mentioned and see if your area is covered. Contact your local police, fire, or city personnel and express your desire to participate if they already don’t offer these services. Arcadia is currently exploring the possible use of such services. Empower yourself with a little knowledge and take an active role in helping to prevent crime in your neighborhood! Stay informed!

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