The power of a community to protect each and every person in that community is a potent power of strength and loyalty. This is a call to action for safer neighborhoods and protected communities against crimes. How can we play a strong role in our communities against crimes committed against us and our families, our neighbors, and our friends?
Good neighbors can watch, help, and encourage kids to stay in school and not go down the wrong path like joining gangs or drug-dealing, and keep negative influences outside of their neighborhoods. Police and law enforcement are definitely useful and necessary in protecting neighborhoods, but most times they come only after a crime has occurred. They come to pick up the pieces and collect evidence after a crime has occurred or been committed, but a unified and empowered community can catch a criminal in the act and help the police further investigate and make sure justice is served.
In daily community interactions, who is the one most likely to be the first one to spot a criminal in the act? It is a neighbor, a pedestrian, a friend, someone nearby who is not a law enforcement official, but a civilian and community member. If you witness a crime, call for help immediately. You can save a person’s life by building your community awareness and immediately helping out those around you in need. Calling 911 immediately when seeing a neighbor in danger can make the difference between life and death. Maximize the potential in the power of a safe community.
What are other ways to build the power of security in your community? Well, you can consistently share information about new or suspicious neighbors and file suits in small claims courts to shut down drug-dealing houses and organize campaigns against drug dealers. You can monitor street lighting and landscaping to make sure streets are highly visible and cleanly manicured, which can deter crime and assaults from happening. After all, the power of visibility during the darkness of night is a means to not only film suspicious behavior but also to hinder the opportunities for criminals to hide or escape from law enforcement.
Crimes that rarely get news coverage, such as destruction of property and/or vandalism and graffiti, can be shared with your neighbors and community members (via flyers or newsletters) to disseminate useful information, problem areas, and keep these types of crimes from rising or worsening. Not only vandalism, but petty thefts, car break-ins, and persistent littering are crimes that, while not always deadly, disrupt the peace and wellness in a community and make individuals feel less empowered, less secure, less likely to contribute to sustaining the health and unity of the community. The power of neighborhood watch, of members of a community in constant and vigilant conversation with each other—this is a power that cannot be guaranteed by law enforcement or government officials. It is a grassroots power founded and fostered by the everyday people and interactions that make living in America today an opportunity to pursue your dreams, your goals, your success—all of which are things that we can never take for granted. Let’s foster and celebrate the power of community daily.