Community Crime Prevention: Phasing out Police
Police brutality and excessive use of force are on the rise as police receive an increasingly high concentration of trauma because communities rely on them exclusively to prevent crime. Here are a number of things communities can do right now to make police obsolete and solve the problem of police brutality through the free-market rather than bigger government (fox watching the hen-house).. Take back your right to self-police and bolster the ability of individuals to self-govern.
Burglar bars dont have to be prison bar style cages, they can be stylish and even appear to be shutters or blinds. Clear polycarbonate burglar bars are available as well and can be done yourself with polycarbonate from the local hardware store.
For preventing break-ins, burglar bars are second to none in crime prevention especially when they are on the inside of the window. The glass breaks and notifies you of the break in, but doesn't allow the burglar entry (unless the unsuspecting burglar has brought a hacksaw). Stylish gate-like burglar bars can be put in front of doors as well, ensuring all points of entry are covered.
Quick release measures are an option for burglar bars, allowing residents to exit from the inside in the case of a fire as well.
If burglar bars are too much for your doors, you can use door reinforcements to ensure that the door cannot be kicked in. Door reinforcements reinforce the locks and hinges and when installed properly, your door can withstand thousands more pounds of pressure.
Door reinforcements are also helpful for people who have sliding glass doors on the back or side of their house which are difficult to secure. Door reinforcements can be placed on the inside of a room in the house to create a safe room. This enables residents to have a place they can go in the house that is secure from any intruder in the case of break-in.
Installing home alarm systems can alert you, authorities but most importantly neighbors to any break-in but scary noises do not stop break-ins, only deter them. If you are unable to install an alarm, if you have a car alarm that can be activated from a wireless key-chain, keep one on you or in your safe room and you can set off your own alarm to alert neighbors of a break in. Of course, this only works if you have communicated to your neighbors what the car alarm could mean, otherwise they may just put ear plugs in.
Personal Protection: Fire-Arm
Personal protection comes in a variety of forms and is important because it enhances ones ability to protect oneself and ones community members when in danger and unable to use the safeguard of a car or house. Public places, traveling to and from home, work, the car, the store, the dentist, are all examples of places where individuals are vulnerable and personal protection can enables communities to take back some of the responsibilities we have subjugated away to a few select police officers.The fire-arm is the one most people think of because it is very effective. It is effective because it gives anyone access to deadly force at the flick of a finger, literally, and with proper training and handling, can be very useful in community crime prevention when facing criminals with fire-arms.
To see gun carry laws by state, see here.
Other forms of personal protection include pepper spray, knives, night sticks, tazersand others.
Self- Defense Skills
There are no guns in the swimming pool. Likewise, there are a number of instances where fire-arms and other forms of personal protection are always less viable than good old fashion self-defense skills.
Hand combat skills are very empowering for both individuals and communities. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt confident intervening in acts of domestic violence and bullying because I am capable of defending myself and others. While a tumble with an abuser might be traumatic for a grandma, it can be very gratifying and empowering for a grandson able to defend his loved ones which is something missing from communities and families lives today.
There is no shortage of training available today for the average individual. Anything from the high school wrestling team to Kravmaga. For a still not comprehensive list of various martial arts, see here.
Citizens Arrest is a right which is endangered because it is not being exercised. Citizens arrests have historically made up a significant percentage of felony arrests since medieval times, it is only recently that arrests have become an act absent in our culture and communities. Yet still, almost every state (see here for state by state laws on citizens arrest) has laws specifically protecting the right of citizens to make an arrest.
Little known laws codified into the statues of almost every state allow citizen's to make warrant-less arrests for felonies and breaches of the peace (some even for misdemeanors like theft). Today communities and individuals remain exclusively dependent on sworn peace officers for protection, mostly for fear of legal repercussions.
But exercising such a right requires the utmost attention to one's local laws about lawful arrest, detention, what constitutes a felony crime or breach of the peace. There are some significant differences between arrests made by sworn peace officers and private citizens. Citizens arrest" is a warrant-less arrest made by someone other than a sworn peace officer. While law enforcement can detain someone based on reasonable suspicion, a private citizen cannot. Citizen arrests can only be made for crimes (typically felony) occurring in his or her presence. Check your local state laws to knowledge-up before doing this.
While hand-Cuffs are bulky, heavy and often require a batman belt to carry around like police, Zip-Ties are very inexpensive, light weight and portable tool which can be be employed in community crime prevention and citizen's arrest.
Security cameras are a very effective to identify as well as deter offenders vandalizing and/or burglarizing your house. Dash-cameras are just as effective at documenting criminal activity in your car and both can be used to document events when trying to stop a crime.
I have a dash camera in my car which is also my Go-Pro I take with me when I am surfing. Technology has come to the point where hardly will you find a single function device and enables communities to communicate, document and protect themselves easier than ever before. Which brings me to my next tool.
Using Your Smart-Phone
One of the best things about community crime prevention in the 21st century is that almost everybody has a panic button in their pocket or purse at any given moment in time. Apps like Fivo Cam, Ustream, and Bambuser give you access to live video and audio streaming to a secure offsite server at the touch of a button. This way, if your phone is lost or destroyed, the documentation can be retrieved online. Peace Keeper and Cell411 allow communities to organize and request help whenever there's a problem using real-time emergency management platforms. Its Uber for community crime prevention. Cell411 has a Panic Button you can buy to make it even easier than pulling out your phone. With the App Iwitness all you have to do is shake your phone, and it will alert both community members and the authorities you are in danger with your location, turn on the phone's light, sound an alarm, live video stream to a secure off-site server. Cell 411 allows for real-time tracking and navigation to lead your community to where ever you are.
If you have a smart phone, there is really no reason you should not have one of these apps with the contacts of your neighbors, friends and family in it. that is of course if you know your neighbors.
With social media, phones and email, who needs to have friends in real life? It is a growing trend now that people don't feel the need to know their neighbors or have any real ties to their local community at all. This is at our detriment. Police and many other government agencies are largely nothing but a substitute for our lack of community and first hand knowledge and personal relationship. We trust police because they have a badge just like we trust doctors because they have a license and a white coat but truth is that we dont know them at all and they dont know us. Excessive force and cases of "wrong guy" can easily be solved by crime prevention which employs first responders with personal relationship and knowledge of the people involved when possible.
You must get to know what the people in your community need in order to help one another so get to know your neighbors and build relationships with them so we can start solving this problem of the high concentration of trauma effecting police's ability to respond with appropriate force.
How can I do that? Have a potluck, block party, bring them a casserole, bring up their trash can, exchange contact info, borrow salt from them instead of going to the grocery store next time you are out. Be a human being in short.
Knowing your neighbors and being involved in your community enables individuals to solve problems which lead to criminal behavior in the first place. Maybe the Johnsons just got laid off and are in a high needs situation which is conducive to crime. Maybe the kid at the end of the block is having family problems and could use someone to talk to. Use your heart, exercise that muscle in the way it was intended, that is, using it for more than pumping blood to your judging brain.
Conflict Resolution Training
Lastly, which should be firstly, learn to defuse situations and solve problems outside of the criminal justice system which, right now we rely on exclusively to handle this, knowing that it is a racket, because communities do not have the skills or culture for it!
Non-Violent Communication has a proven trackrecord and is my choice communication tool I employ when facing high tension situations. It focuses on the feelings and needs at the root of the conflict, allowing me to knock down walls that block empathy and the opportunity to uncover more effective ways of getting needs met than violence and destructiveness.
These communication skills have been used to settle multi generational feuds between waring tribes in Africa as well as were employed to diffuse tension during desegregation a half a century ago here in the US.
Trainings and meetup groups exist in virtually every major city in the world and resources can be found all over the internet for interested communities.
The police are becoming militarized and communities are relying on them too much to prevent crimes. It is time to take back our power and responsibility ourselves. Community crime prevention is not just empowering to communities, it is highly beneficial to police forces as well who currently bear the heavy burden exclusively creating a wealth of other problems because of the trauma of high exposure. They feel like they are in a war zone when they respond to crime all day everyday and it is all they see. They may be the only ones making arrests these days, but they are hardly the only ones capable. It should be a right of passage into adulthood or at least manhood to be able to protect yourself and your family from an offender, not a specialized profession far removed from communities.