Police encourage residents on Tuesday to turn their lights off, lock their doors and go outside.
The Columbus Division of Police aims to raise crime prevention and awareness by bringing neighborhoods together and reducing the opportunity for crime to occur in an effort dubbed National Night Out Against Crime.
The 25-year-old, annual initiative emphasizes working as a community to spot and stop criminal activity.
According to a press release issued by the division’s Public Information Office, "Statistics show that meeting as a neighborhood block watch or merely having a chapter does very little to bring down crime rates. However, an effective block watch in which people work together to proactively clean up neighborhoods and work with police community liaison officers does makes a difference."
Police also suggest working with public agencies to solve problems, providing productive youth activities, establishing a neighborhood watch and cleaning up the environment as ways to improve a community and drive out crime.
The Columbus City Council Web site reports that more than three dozen Columbus neighborhoods will host organized cookouts, marches and other activities as part of the initiative on Aug. 5.
Personal Safety Tips
• Walk with Confidence. Look like you know where you are going.
• If you are approached by a suspicious looking stranger, cross the street or walk away quickly.
• Avoid shortcuts through dark alleys or deserted streets.
• Use the buddy system. Travel and shop with companions whenever possible, both during the day and at night. There is greater safety in numbers. Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
• Do not carry large sums of money.
• If you must carry a purse, carry it close to your body but do not wrap the strap around your wrist or shoulder. If someone demands your purse or tries to take it from you, let it go. Do not fight for it.
• When entering your home or car, always have your keys ready in your hand.
• If a motorist bothers you while you are walking, turn and walk in the opposite direction of the vehicle.
Child Safety Tips
• If your child gets separated from you in a public place, he/she should wait in the place where he/she last saw you. After a few moments, he/she should ask for assistance from store employees, uniformed store security or a uniformed police officer.
• If a stranger asks a child for help, the child should maintain a safe distance away and tell the stranger to ask another adult.
• Children selling items door-to-door should not go inside someone’s home or business even when asked.
• There may be an emergency when your child may need to ask for help from a stranger. The child should seek help from police.