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Archive for February, 2010

Crime Prevention – Does the Police Know What to Tell the Public???

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Before you read this, let me be clear as to my perception of personal crime prevention and police advice – police report such crimes, police catch perpetrators of such crimes, but police seldom can prevent such crimes as I discuss below.  And, unfortunately, the topic of the conversation below is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.  And my perception of police’s ability to prevent sexual assaults of women is still the same.

Twenty years ago, fall of 1990, there was a terrible weekend for women in the Washington DC metro area.  Why was this particular weekend so terrible or, for that matter, different from other weekends?  Women were being abducted in numbers, sexually attacked, and dropped in other areas of the city.  Yeah, so what’s new?  Women were attacked all the time.  So, we watch the news, we yell at the reporter and then at the police for not protecting the citizenry.

But on this particular weekend, in October 1990, what was most offensive and why this weekend stands out among the other terrible weekends is that women were abducted in groups of 2 and 3, in group numbers that just days before police were advising would ensure their safety.  You think you are safe while with your friends, right?  What was not considered in the calculation is that perpetrators simply see such a tact as a challenge and they were meeting the challenge with success that weekend.

I was screaming at the police while watching the evening news that Friday night and again Saturday night as more women were abducted and assaulted.  I was yelling at my husband “What is wrong with your gender?”  Poor husband had nothing to offer except that he was angry too. 

And the police continued to give the same ridiculous advice and couldn’t seem to come up with anything more useful–they actually seemed perplexed.   Nevertheless, women heeded their advice and didn’t travel out after dark if possible and took precautions at night when they did have to go out.  And guess what, being the naive beings we tend to be, women thought getting things done during the day was the remedy.  WRONG again!

The Sunday of that weekend, a neighbor of mine, a former high school classmate, went about her business running her errands at the local shopping center of a sleepy little town in Maryland, naively blind to the danger lurking nearby.  At 10:30 on a beautiful Sunday morning, this beautiful 42-year old mother and wife, was beaten, sexually assaulted, and killed.  She was doing exactly what most of us do.  This was not at night or in a bad part of town–which left the whole town wondering “How did this happen? And if it happened to her, what can the rest of us possibly do to prevent it from happening to us?”  All our anger and anguish needed to be directed. 

That’s when I created the Greater Women’s Information Network (G.W.I.N.)–a resource for getting out the information to women that could help prevent such heinous crimes.  For 10 years, I tried to spread the information that specifically addressed reducing one’s risk of victimization for women, but not for women only.  For those who attended the workshops and seminars, the information was received with gratitude and appreciation. 

But, unfortunately, over the years, women are still making decisions that place themselves in precarious situations.  That nothing happened to them or that nothing more serious happened to them is a cosmic alignment of blind luck and happenstance.

PLEASE take your own personal safety very seriously.  Take an active role in securing your safety and this doesn’t just mean learn self-defense, which is fine if you are fit, learn the lessons well, can think quickly under enormous stress, and remain alert.  Or you have some magical means of never getting into dangerous situations (which you must share with all of us).  

What each of us CAN do is learn how to reduce our risk of victimization.  I, personally, have some physical limitations so I need to prevent, as best as I can, getting myself in precarious situations in the first place.  Go to www.WPSN.net to learn more about reducing your risk of victimization, print the sections of most interest to you, and share the information with your family and friends.  Your personal safety is PRIORITY ONE!

Written by Administrator

February 7th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Victimization