October is National Crime Prevention Month. What will you do to learn more about crime prevention in your community? One of the best things you can do is look into starting a Community Watch Program in your neighborhood. The Community Watch Program is one of the most successful crime prevention programs in the history of community policing.
What makes it so successful? You, the citizen, that's who! The Community Watch Program is 100 percent citizen driven. Without citizens attending the monthly watch meetings and learning crime prevention education from law enforcement professionals, the program would fail.
The program also emphasizes neighbors watching out for neighbors and helps build community spirit. There can't be a police officer on every street corner, so local police depend on citizens to act as their extended eyes and ear's in the community. If you see or hear suspicious activity don't wait, report it immediately to the police. By reporting suspicious activity quickly, you give police a much better opportunity of catching a criminal while in the act of committing a crime.
If you need to report suspicious activity to police, the non-emergency number in Mifflin County is 248-9607. If you believe the incident may be a life threatening emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
October is also National Halloween Safety Month.
Halloween is a fun time of the year to be a kid. Some of my best memories as a boy were getting dressed in my costume and going trick-or-treating with friends.
But if you're not careful, it can be a dangerous time. Ghosts, ghouls and monsters aren't the only things to be afraid of on Halloween. Accidents and mishaps increase dramatically when children trick-or-treat. To avoid the many dangers, use common sense. Be aware of potential Halloween hazards and take precautions to eliminate them.
The following are some safety tips from the Halloween Web that you can follow to have a fun and safe trick-or-treat:
Wear flame retardant costumes.
Try on costumes before Halloween to allow time for altering, and hem your costumes so you don't trip and fall.
Apply reflective tape to your Halloween costumes.
Avoid cumbersome masks. Use make-up instead.
Use only hypoallergenic and non-toxic makeup.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Double tie your shoelaces so you don't trip.
Keep your costume and wig away from candles.
Don't carry fake swords, guns, knives or similar accessories that look authentic. Make sure they're flexible and cannot harm anyone.
Plan your route ahead of time.
Trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods.
Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries after dark.
Take along money for a phone call.
Wear identification that's easy to read.
Always trick or treat in groups, accompanied by an adult.
Follow a curfew and take a watch with a backlight.
Stay on the sidewalks and out of the streets. Cross only at intersections and designated crosswalks.
Walk. No running.
Only visit well lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses.
Don't enter any houses unless you know the people.
Carry a spare Halloween bag, in case yours breaks or you fill your original one.
Don't approach unfamiliar pets and animals.
Don't cut across yards and stay out of backyards.
Follow traffic signals and don't jaywalk.
Always watch for cars backing up or turning.
Review the "stop, drop and roll" procedure in case your costume catches on fire.
Never accept rides from strangers.
Respect other people and their property.
Be polite and say "thank you."
Don't eat any candy until it's inspected for tampering under bright lights.
Avoid candy that has loose wrappings, is unwrapped, has puncture holes or is homemade.
Small children should not be allowed to eat hard candy because they may choke on it.
Report any suspicious or criminal activity to an adult or the police.
Everyone have a happy and safe Halloween. To learn more about starting a Community Watch Program in your neighborhood, please call me at 248-5692 or visit our website at mifflincountywatch.org or on Facebook.
Charles Dicken is the Community Watch coordinator for the Mifflin County Communities That Care. He may be reached at 248-5692.