It is really important to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities. This is what I think that civilians must be aware of doing. It is after all for our safety. Police and security forces are hard at work, but public safety is the responsibility of all individuals. The participation of ordinary citizens is an integral part of our homeland security efforts. You know your everyday surroundings best, the neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, parks and transportation systems, and chances are you will notice when something seems strange or out of place. Be alert for suspicious behaviour including abandoned vehicles, unauthorized individuals, strange packages or unusual odours. Even employees should need to be alert for potential risks at their workplace. Strange behaviour or suspicious activity should be reported to proper authorities immediately. If you see something, say something!
Be Aware When Using Public Transportation
Public transportation is convenient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly, and transit systems are designed and patrolled to keep riders safe. In addition to CCTV cameras, security teams and local authorities, it is also the responsibility of the rider to ensure a safe trip.
- Tell a family member or friend of your travel route. Call them when you arrive safely.
- Have your exact fare ready.
- Don’t doze off or become engrossed in a book. It can make you an easy target. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Keep your purse, bags, backpack and other belongings in your lap or between your feet. Do not leave them on an empty seat.
- Be wary of noisy passengers arguing or causing a commotion. This could be an act to distract you while others try to steal your valuables.
- If you feel threatened by other passengers, change your seat and alert the driver.
- Avoid displaying cash, credit cards or expensive looking jewelry.
- Notify the driver, police or security of any unattended packages or luggage on the bus/train or at the stop.
- In case of emergency, contact the local authorities and alert the driver immediately.
Train, Subway, Light Rail
- As a train approaches, stay behind the warning strips. Never try to catch a moving train.
- When waiting to board, stand to the side to avoid the people exiting.
- Use caution when walking in the train. Sudden stops can occur at any moment, and movement can occur even when the train is stopped.
- Plan your route. It is important to know where you are going.
- Remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop. Do not cross in front of the bus because traffic will not be stopped.
- When possible, use a busy and well-lighted bus stop to get on and off a bus.
- Research a reputable taxi company in your area.
- Taxis are easy to identify by their colours, markings, and models. Don’t accept rides from unmarked cars.
- In the taxi, note the company name, cab number, driver’s name, taxi driver ID number, and photograph.
- Wear a seatbelt.
I personally would like for my fellow civilians to be more aware of your surroundings and always be cautious. It is important to be safe!
All in all, the dropping levels of crime in the UK make the country seem to become safer by the year, at least statistically speaking. While crime in the UK obviously exists, rates are generally low. The number of offences has been on a dramatic decline since the mid-1990s peak in criminal activity.
As for the prevalent forms of crime in the UK, theft in all its various forms and vandalism are by far the most widespread. Try to keep an eye on the belongings you carry with you at all times and be aware of your surroundings. It is not unheard of that people have their mobile phone snatched out of their hands while they are using it on public transport. The UK has not only been experiencing unrest and terrorism due to the situation in Northern Ireland but it also has been the target of extremists operating in mainland Britain.
It may not seem much but what can we do to at least help our community a little bit to be a safe and to be a healthy environment?
- Learn about local agencies or non-profit organizations that already exist in your community. This is a great place to find the support and resources you may need.
- Connect people in the community especially youth to activities or programs that help them find positive ways to spend their spare time. After school programs, tutoring centres, part-time work, and volunteer opportunities go a long way toward keeping youths and adolescents away from negative influences.
- Set up a Neighbourhood Watch or a community patrol that works in collaboration with local police. A trusted neighbour who keeps a vigilant eye on your home is one of the best crime deterrents there is.
- Build a partnership with police focused on solving problems instead of reacting to crisis. Make it possible for neighbours to report suspicious activity or crimes without fear of retaliation.
- Get creative. Ask your local city council to pass an anti-noise ordinance, update housing codes, and include drug-free clauses in rental agreements. These small actions help to create an inhospitable environment for criminals, and will hopefully cause them to leave on their own.
- Work with schools in your area to establish and enforce drug-free, gun-free zones. You can also collaborate with recreation officials to do the same for parks.
- Report suspicious activity to police. Cooperate by providing statements and witness testimony if you have information that could lead to the apprehension of a criminal.
- Refuse to turn a blind eye to crime in your community.
- Suggest that law enforcement host a gun buyback event that lets people turn in unlicensed firearms for cash, no questions asked. Former Jersey City mayor, Jerramiah Healy, credited their buyback program as a major reason for the city’s record-low homicide rate.
- Start a weekly discussion group. It can be as minimal as a regular gathering at a neighbour’s house to share ideas and communicate with each other about what you see going on in the community. This also provides great opportunities to update your neighbours on your current schedule, or let them know if you’ll be out of town.
Sometimes the right combination of networking, organizing, and communicating can have a huge impact on our surroundings. Our community should be safe and secured. A little effort can go a long way!
In a case with not even the faintest of silver linings, it’s no surprise that the initial batch of letters responding to the announcement that Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson would face no charges in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown reflect the public malaise caused by the tragedy.
Dozens of people have expressed their feelings and frustrations since St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch made the announcement in a speech in which he also blasted media coverage of Brown’s death last August and of its aftermath, and vouched for the work done by his office and the grand jury. Nearly all of the people express anger, as I am, though they direct their indignation at different players in this case. Those who wanted to see Wilson put on trial raise doubts about McCulloch’s handling of the case. Others apparently more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Wilson urge public acceptance of the grand jury decision and lament the events that they say made Brown’s death unavoidable.
Several people bring up race: Wilson is white, Brown was black. Although that is by no means the dominant theme. People were disappointed by the grand jury decision mostly focus on police brutality and a justice system that they say readily defers to law enforcement. In fact, the majority of those who bring up race do so to bolster their case that Brown being black had little relevance in either Wilson’s decision-making as a street cop or in the grand jury deliberations.
The St. Louis County grand jury’s decision is no surprise to me and for the others. With this, I am reminded of a Bob Dylan song with a slight variation that summarizes my pain and reaction to this decision: “How many unarmed black men have to die before we call it a crime”?
I would ask people to consider what message brutal attacks on young African Americans say to young people of colour about police training and their civil rights. One of the many issues facing young people who are from financially struggling, often single-parent households is not being held responsible for their actions due to a parent feeling overwhelmed with responsibility or having few resources. How ironic that this same failure to be held accountable is now being applied to the police who killed them.
It is always a tragic loss for someone to lose a loved one in an altercation with police. If the people protesting in Ferguson and elsewhere would look at the facts of the case, it would seem that Brown’s skin colour was totally irrelevant. The fact that Brown would apparently not respond to an officer’s request is the reason he is not alive today.
If confronted by a police officer, it is always wise to cooperate. To do otherwise is an invitation for an unhappy ending. Education at home and in our schools to respect law enforcement is an obvious starting point for teaching our young, no matter the colour of their skin.
The forensic evidence and witness testimony guided that grand jury. Had the facts been different, the grand jury decision would have likewise been different, and Wilson would have been charged as he should have been. But the altercation did not happen that way!
Generally speaking, there is not much to worry about when it comes to expatriates’ safety and security during their time abroad in the United Kingdom. As a whole, the UK benefits from low crime rates and very effective emergency services. Still, the situation is not always perfect!
Much to the relief of the nation’s residents, crime in the UK is usually low key. As long as you adhere to a number of standard precautions, chances are you won’t see much in the way of crime in the UK.
While CCTV surveillance has been under particular scrutiny for a while now, mostly for reasons of privacy and civil liberties that many critics of the system view as endangered, there is some evidence that video recordings can help prevent crime, and, when it does occur, solve it. Be that as it may, you will probably get used rather quickly to the sight of camera objectives pointing in your general direction when you go for a walk through your new hometown in the UK. You should be careful not to walk just anywhere, though. In all major cities and conurbations, there are high crime areas you should try to steer clear from. As soon as you have made your choice as to where you want to move, it is time to get informed about what neighbourhood’s should best be off limits to you. Being watchful is always a good idea however, there is no need to be paranoid. Chances that you will be on the receiving end of a violent crime anywhere in the UK are fairly low.
As open minded a society might await expats relocating to the UK, there are a number of unresolved issues that could become troublesome to newcomers, just as they are already troublesome to parts of the UK population. Racism might have taken a number of steps away from hatred based purely on ethnicity or constructs of “race” but it is still going strong. Doubtlessly one of the most incendiary issues in British society today, this form of religious discrimination and hatred has gained a certain level of acceptance in popular opinion. This is not to trivialize the still existent threat of plain old racism or anti-Semitism. Some 100 people are victims of racist crimes throughout the UK every day. Homophobia and sexism continue to be worrisome as well, recent triumphs of the LGBT community with regard to marriage rights notwithstanding.
Despite the well-organized emergency services which are quick to react at all times and, to some extent, the many CCTV cameras located in the public space, not everything is all sunshine and butterflies. Every expat-to-be should at least have a general idea of the situation in the UK with regard to crime and discrimination.
I would like to take this opportunity to call on fellow concerned citizens and community to see all the loopholes in the security systems of the police and the law. We should be more aware of our current community and security situation so as we will be able to improve to further protect ourselves.