Dorchester County attracts all types of people and the majority of them are law-abiding. However, you have no way of knowing who is and who is not. For this reason, you must be prepared to protect yourself.
The most important thing to remember is criminals often plan their crimes. They look for the right opportunity and the easiest victim. Therefore, your best defense is a personal security plan aimed at reducing the opportunity for criminals to victimize you.
The monthly safety tips listed at the bottom of this page contain valuable information about personal security tips that can help you avoid becoming a crime victim. It is believed you can reduce risk to yourself by applying these simple precautions in your daily life.
You are encouraged to read and practice the following monthly crime prevention safety tips to increase your personal safety and security. In addition, please check out the other websites listed below.
A Neighborhood Crime Watch is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. It fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police and the communities they serve.
WHY A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH?
It works. Throughout the country, dramatic decreases in burglary and related offenses are reported by law enforcement professionals in communities with active Watch programs.
Today’s transient society produces communities that are less personal. Many families have two working parents and children involved in many activities that keep them away from home. An empty house in a neighborhood where none of the neighbors know the owner is a prime target for burglary.
Neighborhood Watch also helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address other community concerns such as recreation for youth, and child care.
WHO CAN BE INVOLVED?
Any resident can join—young and old, single and married, renter and homeowner. Even the busiest of people can belong to a Neighborhood Watch—they too can keep an eye out for neighborhoods as they come and go.
WHAT DOES A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH DO?
A Neighborhood Watch is neighbors helping neighbors. They are the eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Members meet their neighbors, learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activity that raises their suspicions to the sheriff’s office.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR COMPONENTS OF A WATCH PROGRAM?
Community meetings. These could be set up on a regular basis such as bi-monthly, monthly, or six times a year.
Citizens’ or community patrol. A citizens’ patrol is made up of volunteers who walk or drive through the community and alert police to crime and questionable activities.
Communications. These can be as simple as a weekly flier posted on community announcement boards, to a newsletter that updates neighbors on the progress of the program, and a neighborhood Watch web page.
Special events. These are crucial to keep the program going and growing. Host talks or seminars that focus on current issues, such as hate or bias-motivated violence, crime in schools, teenage alcohol and other drug abuse, or domestic violence. Sponsor a block party, holiday dinner, or other event that will provide neighbors a chance to get and know each other.
Other aspects of community safety. For instance, start a block parent program to help children in emergency situations.
WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A WATCH MEMBER?
Know your neighbors and watch out for each other.
Report Suspicious activities and crimes to the sheriffs’ department.
Learn how you can make yourself and your community safer.
WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITIES SHOULD I BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR AS A WATCH MEMBER?
Someone screaming or shouting for help.
Someone looking in windows of houses and parked cars.
Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home.
Cars, Vans, or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination or without lights.
Anyone being forced into a vehicle.
A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child.
Report these incidents to the sheriffs’ department. Talk about concerns and problems with your neighbors.
HOW SHOULD YOU REPORT THESE INCIDENTS?
Give your name and address.
Explain what happened.
Briefly describe the suspect: sex and race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such as a beard, mustache, scars, or accent.
Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers.
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