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City of Hillsboro Police Department Helps Neighbors Remember 3 Simple Steps to Prevent Crime
HPD Police Program Specialist Julie Carrasco discusses the important role you play in helping to prevent crime.
Crime prevention. It doesn’t just happen. It takes action by individuals, mostly pro-active in nature. The police absolutely have a role to play, but you and those you live and work alongside are just as vital to the process. While it’s unrealistic to think we’ll prevent all crime, there are definitely some things you can do to minimize the chances that you’ll become a victim of it.
It begins with simply getting to know your neighbors. Developing some level of relationship with people is admittedly an investment of your time and theirs. People are more likely to look out for someone they know than someone they don’t know. When you and your neighbors get to know one another, you have a better understanding of what may be out of the ordinary or suspicious in nature, and possibly needing a call to police.
Next, deny criminals the chance to commit a crime by not providing the opportunity in the first place. Criminals generally look for opportunities, weak or vulnerable access to the people, actions and/or items they seek – garage doors left open and unattended, vehicles left running and unattended, unlocked house and vehicle doors, house keys left under a rock, mat, or in a potted plant, someone walking alone in a secluded area, people sleeping on buses or light rail trains, those walking and talking on their cell phones or with earbuds in/headphones on, opening the door without knowing who it is, and more.
Thieves also look for easy access to portable items of value – laptops, tablets, cell phones, wallets, and shopping bags left in a vehicle in plain sight, purses in a shopping cart, large amounts of exposed cash, credit cards, jewelry, and the like.
Finally, report! Report any crimes, attempted crimes or suspicious activity to police immediately. I’ve heard many reasons why people don’t report – I don’t want to get involved, the item taken wasn’t of much value; they broke into my car, but didn’t take anything; the police have better things to do; nothing will come of it. But the reality is, it’s our job to take the report. We can’t investigate, increase patrols, or try to stop a crime, if we don’t know that it’s going on. And after reporting to police, pass along the same information to your neighbors, if it has the potential to impact them.
Another reason people don’t report is that they second guess what they’re witnessing, perhaps out of fear of embarrassment, in case it turns out to be nothing – It looks suspicious, but what if I’m wrong? But I say, “What if you’re right?” In reporting, you might just stop someone from taking someone else’s property in a vehicle break-in. Or on a much larger scale, you might even save lives if you call to report someone who is acting odd in a public place, carrying bulky items inside their clothing, checking doors, or setting down a backpack and walking away. Most have heard the phrase, See something. Say something. Please do it. Police officers would much rather respond to something that turns out to be nothing, than not to be called to something that turns out to be SOMETHING – a crime.
Above all, don’t confront someone you see commit a crime or believe is about to commit a crime. Drugs, mental health and other issues could place you in harm’s way. Additionally, allowing police the element of surprise will give officers a better chance of apprehending the suspected person.
Crime will happen, but you don’t have to sit back and wait for it to happen when there are things you can do to minimize it. Be proactive – get to know your neighbors and remove opportunities for crime. And if you see something suspicious, or become the victim of a crime, report it! For crimes in progress call 9-1-1. For Non-Emergencies call dispatch at 503-629-0111.