Sunday, September 22, 2013

Heads Up...

So, we have a relatively new "news" outlet in Smithville now.  New, as in maybe the past year or two.

This "news" source is internet based and generally focuses on a specific community and the areas immediately surrounding it.  This web site allows users to comment upon the news stories much as a blog does.

This particular web site is heavy on the "police blotter" and the "police & fire" sections, and generally provides a little blurb or a few paragraphs regarding any crime or trends in the community.

What I have seen happening lately is that any time a person is robbed, assaulted, or otherwise attacked in Smithville (including one attempted rape), people will comment on the story, and lament about how "UNSAFE" Smithville is becoming, and how the "POLICE DON'T DO ENOUGH" in Smithville.

What I wish people would notice is that at the beginning of nearly every one of these stories are the words "A jogger was robbed Saturday while jogging on the Canal Trail while wearing her earbuds and looking at her iPod", or "A teen had his cell phone stolen while he was texting while walking in Smithville park", or even "The victim was texting ... and didn't see the suspect before he grabbed her."

Folks, the common thread in all of these cases is that these people were preoccupied with whatever it was they were doing, and they were not paying attention to their surroundings.  Nearly every time I have taken a robbery in our town it has been someone walking with earbuds in and looking at their iPod, looking at their phone and texting, or otherwise walking with their head up their ass.

I can say only once have I ever taken a robbery report from someone who saw it coming. That someone happened to be an off duty police officer who shot the suspect who had been stupid enough to try and rob him.

It is not inherently unsafe for people to walk, or jog, or ride their bicycle in Smithville.  It is, however, unsafe for people ANYWHERE in the Bay Area to bury their heads in their iPods, cover their ears with earbuds, and not look at what is happening around them.

I know it is shocking to some that there are PREDATORS out there.  There are people out there who would do you and me harm if we gave them the chance.  They don't pick on you because you're a woman, or because you're Asian, or because you're wearing a purple and chartreuse jacket.  They pick on folks because they LOOK LIKE A VICTIM!

If you are not aware of your surroundings and you look like an easy target, you are more likely to be targeted.  If you walk with your head up, look confident in yourself, and look like you're noticing what's around you, you don't look like such an inviting target.

If you're looking ahead, you might see someone who looks rather shady standing a ways ahead of you, thus allowing you to divert to a slightly different route and avoid that person entirely.  Don't feel guilty about it.  Feel good that you did something to protect yourself and didn't walk into a completely avoidable robbery, or worse.

Based upon my experiences and the reports I have taken during my tenure as a police officer, I can not reiterate this enough.

IF YOU DON'T MAKE YOURSELF LOOK LIKE A VICTIM, YOU'RE LESS LIKELY TO BE A VICTIM!

Be safe, and keep your head up...

3 comments:

Joe Allen said...

Thanks to the smartphone, predators no longer have to wait by the waterhole, they can simply wait until the waterhole comes to them.

Expatriate Owl said...

Ignoring your surroundings and looking like a victim is a natural and expectable consequence of being raised and nurtured under a system that conditions you to have others do your basic thinking for you.

Jay said...

Wise words OS. Over in this part of the world it is also getting to be a big problem. No one is paying attention to their surroundings. Everything is focused on their latest toy. The Police here are trying to get the same message out.
After all if you walk out of your house you lock it up. You don't leave it wide open with a sign in the front yard saying "Help yourself". You take precautions so why not do the same and take precautions when you're out and about.
As far as the Police not doing enough what are you supposed to do, jog next to them so they can listen and text in comfort and safety????