To continue the discussion started by Hawthorne Hawkman about crime fighting strategies...
Also don't under estimate the power of a unified effort. We benefited in the ecovillage because this was a "cluster project," but when residents band together and call for meetings with these same people in CPED and Reg Services, they will be able to show a resolve that the city has to recognize and is forced to answer to.
Sometimes comments and complaints are the best way to get through to a government organization as long as they are sent in mass quantities.
About 911 calls. A study was done a few years ago about...
...the effectiveness of 911 calls in the city of Minneapolis. Well, statistically another police precinct got better police response than the Fourth Precinct with a lower crime rate. The reason was FREQUENCY. To anyone who is wondering when and where to call 911, this is the principle. Police deploy based on frequency of 911 calls not as much subject matter. They look at subject matter too but they deploy based on the number of calls. Which ever area in their precinct gets the most calls that is the area that gets the most police presence. They have to. By law they have to respond to a 911 call above all else. So if a granny in a calm part of town calls 911 about cats or dogs in the trees, she is going to get more police protection than someone who calls in 5 shots and never calls again. These are the facts.
So we beat the drug dealers at their own game. They knew this principle. They exploited it. They counted on people being too afraid to call. They also perfected passing drugs in a very discreet way. These deals would happen so fast you found yourself wondering whether you really saw something.
So this is how we used the 911 strategy to our advantage.
1. Know your street.
If you don't want to walk alone, find a friend, find two. Get to know the house numbers on your street, and the streets adjacent to yours and their intersections. This is very helpful if you have a drug house or people who like to loiter on the corner.
2. Pay attention to car and foot traffic.
Get to know who drives what vehicle on your street. Who walks to the bus stop? Who goes for walks in the evening? Which house has people and or vehicles coming to the front or back door more than once an hour? Maybe the police cannot profile their potential perps but you certainly won't get in trouble for it. If you know a house is a drug house, you should be calling 911 every time someone comes to the door. You call in the address and a description of the person who went inside and a description of their vehicle if applicable. You assume they are buying drugs so you tell the 911 operator, "Hey, white male, blue shirt white pants, selling drugs in front of 3020 6th St N." If the operator says, did you see the drugs? You observe and you tell them he is flagging cars down. Most drug houses have a door keeper. You want to call in that one person's description into 911 as many times as you see strangers coming to the door.
3. Learn to watch people.
You can watch someone with out looking them in the eye. Very soon they realize they are being watched. These people have excelled because they think that they are invisible, that nobody cares what they do. Once they realize that they are no longer invisible on your street they will not want to come back. A lot of these guys just stay where they can they don't actually live there. Either way, they excel solely because nobody wants to draw attention to them. It is your job to change that. This does not have to be done out in the open. You can call in descriptions from behind closed doors, curtains, and car windows. But coming back to the open watching of people. Grab a friend, get people out on the street, good people. These guys' skin crawl when they see a good person, a law abiding citizen. They just want to get away. So get your good neighbors out on the sidewalk.
4. Pick up trash.
A great unobtrusive way to watch people with out looking like a snoop is to bring a garbage bag out and pick up trash on your street and in your alley. You would not believe how many bratty kids and drug dealers I have gotten to help me pick up trash because they see me picking up trash and they wanted to improve their image. If you don't get any help, at least you improve the look on your street and you gather some much needed intel about the people of ill repute that are frequenting the house around the corner or accross the street. They won't attack you for picking up trash!
5. Leave your name with the 911 operator.
No one has ever traced my name to any 911 call and used it to retaliate against me. This actually helps the police that respond. Pretty soon once they get a number of calls in one area, they start reading the notes and seeing who is calling. When they have a name and a phone number, they will come calling wanting your opinion and observations. If you never give your name and phone number, than you won't have a chance to share everything you have seen and heard.
6. Get to know your neighbors.
You are not alone. You can find someone to network with. You find someone on your block. Meet together, form a block club. Go to your local precinct block club training. Get to know your sector lieutenants. Get to know your beat officers. Make friends around you and share your concerns and find out what their concerns are too. There is safety in numbers and you will succeed the more people you get to rally around a common goal.
These are some of the principles that the residents of the eco village used to drive out the reprobates around them.