The Importance of Neighborhood Crime Prevention
West Grand Neighborhood Organization
By Esteban Moreno, ATPA VIN Technician
Every year the FBI uses the Uniform Crime Reporting(UCR) to determine crime rates throughout the country. Each report is based on documented crime reports using UCR codes by law enforcement agencies. The codes are tallied and the crime rates are determined and compared. Local law enforcement is the base of the reporting and then county, state and federal agencies follow. The crime rates begin with the most serious and end with property related crimes. Each law enforcement agency then will publish their own under the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting (MICR).
Based on the UCR and MICR reports from last year, crime was up in all categories. As our population grows so does the crime rate. The only way this can decrease is by crime prevention. This comes by way of increased law enforcement, stronger sentencing, education and the most important public cooperation and proactive involvement. Achievement is based on informing the public, educating them in prevention methods, organizing neighborhood watch and reporting to law enforcement. The most important being reporting to law enforcement.
As a retired police officer with almost 30 years of experience here in Grand Rapids and my home town, I have witnessed the positive outcome of public involvement. The biggest incentive is that this is your home. The home goes far beyond your front door and property lines. We as citizens are all invested in where we live. To witness a crime and not report it only hurts yourself and neighbors. Many are hesitant for fear of retaliation. If they retaliate it only adds to the amount of charges they face and increases the likely hood that the suspects bond would be revoked and they be lodged until court. Judges do not look at retaliation lightly and will ensure there will be no opportunity for more.
Criminals try to use fear as a deterrent to report. When we report, it puts accountability on the suspects and consequences they face. It deters them from returning to commit another crime and shows others that crimes will not be tolerated. In numbers we become stronger and set the precedent for others to follow. We feel safer in our homes and neighborhoods. We develop trusting relationships with our neighbors and police departments. Crime is an illness that will only spread if we allow it. Take preventative measures and get more involved. Stand up for your rights as a home owner and member of your community. Take your streets back and make them a safe place for everyone.
We here at WGNO are here to assist in any way possible. Please contact our office and we can help set up Neighborhood Watch programs. It is a commitment to become a Block Captain. With the use of social media, information is disseminated quickly and discretely. When reporting, always give the nature of the call. Get a good description of the suspects, describe them from the top down. Hair color, clothes and direction of travel. Give approximate height and weight and if they are armed or not. If you don't know don't assume. Remember you can stay anonymous. Don't worry about feeling like you are profiling. Crime knows no color. The officers will let them know why they are being contacted not who called. Be prepared to be a witness if a crime has occurred and make a difference. Stand up for what is right and others will follow.
For any further questions regarding vehicle theft prevention call West Grand Neighborhood Organization at 616-451-0150 or e-mail the West Grand Neighborhood Organization ATPA VIN Technicians at ATPA@westgrand.org
Funds for this program are provided by the Michigan Auto Theft Prevention Authority.