Everyone must call 911 when they see suspicious activity/behavior and or witness a crime - and even if you get away from an attempted crime. The thieves will be waiting for the next person to come along.
Calling 911 provides the Boston Police Department with data to make decisions on about when and where to deploy patrols. It also helps them identify trends.
So what is suspicious activity/behavior and when should you call 911?
Below are some examples. Please note that is not what the person looks like but their behavior:
• Someone or group walking on the street and peering into car windows or waling around homes.
• Someone, who you do not recognize, standing around doing nothing or sitting in a car for more than 5 to 10 minutes.
• Someone walking or standing around with a blunt object like a bat, stick, crowbar, etc.
• Individuals in a heated argument and or cursing at each other.
• An unusual amount of foot traffic in and out of a building.
• In the case of the recent muggings on Boylston Street, look out for individuals that seem nervous and looking over their shoulders. Thieves may try to engage their victims by and approaching them and asking what time it is, if they have change to spare, or for random directions. Use your judgment, if it does not feel right, keep walking, and call 911!
Most crime is opportunistic. Opportunistic means someone noticed an opportunity to steal something, felt like they could get away with it, and go for it.
Examples of opportunities in cars are valuables left in plain site such as GPS systems, wallets, cell phones, PDAs, golf clubs, sports equipment and yes, book bags, and even trash!
Thieves will also target people walking home especially if they are 1) talking on the phone 2) listening to music, or 3) have their ears and face covered with a hat or scarf. Be alert and look alert and when possible walk near or with groups!
By the way, those who own GPS systems must also take down the mounts and wipe away the squiggles they leave behind. Thieves have figured that if they see a mount or squiggles, the GPS unit is likely in the glove compartment.
We live in an urban neighborhood. The reality is that if we want to prevent crime, and reduce our chances of becoming victims, we have to change our behavior. Yes, it is inconvenient sometimes and we want to rock out to our tunes on the way home. Simple changes in behavior I've outline really do reduce out chance of being a victim of crime and hope you take them to heart.
Also remember to turn on your front porch lights and leave them on all night long. Also, remember to lock your doors and windows. The cost of not changing our behavior outweighs the inconvenience. The challenge is to get everyone to change his or her behavior. That is where you, and your neighbors come in!
The opinions on this post are my own. While I worked as an organizer and employee of the Boston Police Department in the past, they are not approved or officially endorsed by BPD.