The meeting was called to order at 6:30, January 10, 13 attenders.
Our speaker is an old friend, Nick Juarez. Nick is the former Crime Prevention Specialist at the Second Precinct. This year, he moved to the U of MN Police Department, Community Engagement Team, and is serving as Community Liaison. I asked him to explain what we can do to avoid becoming a statistic in the street crimes or car-jacking columns.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Know
Who is Watching
When we talk about personal safety and having a plan, what are we talking about? Most important, know that the criminal HAS a plan. Nick pointed to a resource, “Ultimate Crime Prevention — Predicting Crime with Efficiency”, by Byran Keyleader.
You need to know that street crime is not spontaneous and you can avoid becoming a victim. Know that the criminal has a plan and he’s practiced it. He is actively:
- LOOKING: He’s checking out the area
- IDENTIFYING the target – This is where we need to be proactive and reduce the element of surprise, by
- Being aware of your surroundings,
- Knowing the threats,
- Taking away the element of surprise,
- Have a strategy –YOUR PLAN — to avoid the suspect.
- STALKING: Moving closer to his target and checking out the area to make sure he can easily get away.
- CLOSING IN on the target (the attack is based on the element of surprise; you may have only seconds to respond)
- ATTACKING the target: YOU are now in REACTIVE mode.
You have to CREATE A PLAN before any of this happens.
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS is the basis of your plan. This will change from situation to situation. The goal of situational awareness is to equip you with the information and the tools you need to protect yourself, your family, your property from harm. Situational awareness is:
Trust your instincts and make choices based on ALL available information.
How do we create this plan? Most incidents are easily avoided with:
- The right ATTITUDE:
- Accept that crime is possible.
- Resist rationalization. (“It’ll never happen here.” “I’ll only be a minute.”)
- “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will suffer a defeat. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will succumb in every battle. — Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
- KNOWLEDGE of THREATS
- KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS (Self and property)
AVOIDANCE – This is the best tool you can use.
- “The wise warrior avoids the war” –Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
- Do not put yourself in situations that will harm you.
KNOWING: These are the tools you have to defend yourself.
Know the current crime trends. What are the types of crimes? Is there suspect information? What are the suspects doing or how are they committing the crimes? Are there videos or pictures of the suspects? The Ring doorbell system is providing a lot of pictures of what people look like, car tags, patterns of behavior. What are the policies for sharing those pictures?
Knowing the crime trends is very important so that when you see something you will know how to protect yourself and your property. “What can I do so my packages don’t get stolen?” “…so no one breaks into my car?” “… into my neighbor’s car?” By knowing and sharing information, you will be able to make a plan to take away the opportunity for the crook to steal packages, or break into a car.
Wherever you live there are sources of reliable information, including:
- University Of Minnesota. Dept of Public Safety
- Daily crime log – https://publicsafety.umn.edu/campus-safety/daily-crime-log
- Safety Notifications SAFE-U alerts – https://publicsafety.umn.edu/alerts
- Minneapolis PD Crime Maps –
- Falcon Heights – Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office –
- Set up an account to receive email alerts and summaries
- St. Paul PD –
There is an advantage to knowing your neighbors. Resource: Clay Martin, “The concrete jungle, a green beret’s guide to urban survival”
You have more eyes on the street, looking for the same thing.You have power in numbers, working together on the same goals.You are watching out for each other.
Share information with each other, by whatever means you agree on: a Facebook page, block club parties, email, a text group, door knocking …
The point here is to get to know the people who live on your block. What are their jobs, hobbies, who are they? This isn’t “spying”, it’s getting to know the people you live with.
Know YOUR strengths and your weaknesses.
- What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? (strong/weak body language or voice; knowledge of potential threats (that IS a strength for you); awareness of surroundings)
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your home or workplace? (strong locks on doors and windows? Security systems? Good/poor lighting?)
- How can we build on your strengths to mask/defend/ protect your weaknesses?
- Personal Safety Workshops?
- Personal Safety Devices? If this is for you, practice using it until that’s your automatic response. Whatever you choose, you must know how to use it and where to keep it just a touch away. (which will never be at the bottom of a purse or bag).
Noisemaker (130-140+ Decibels)
Handgun (permit to carry)
Know how you handle DISTRACTIONS — anything that prevents you from being aware.
They can be
Natural — nature, worries, planning, ideas.
Artificial — phones, music, conversation, putting your groceries or your child in your car. (Do put the phone away)
We notice all these things already, but the point is to relate them to what we’re learning about.
RESPONDING: How do you deal with situations? Everyone’s plan will be different because everyone reacts differently. You must plan your reaction based on how YOU know you are likely to react.
- Know how YOU handle fear. Know how YOU act under stress.
- Assess: can you still avoid?
- Verbal judo: de-escalate a situation.
- You do not have to be “Minnesota NICE”
- Body language – be assertive.
- Call 911
- Personal safety device (practice, practice, practice)
- Physical defense. Classes in self-defense or Personal Safety.
- Role play — practice how to deal with people. Practice at home and at work.
- Robbery of Person:
- Stay calm and implement your plan.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses — most of these incidents are over in 2 minutes or less.
- Do not put yourself in harm’s way.
- Comply with what the robber is asking for.
- Gather as much information as you can about the robber and the incident.
- Call 911 as soon as possible.
- Civil Unrest:
- Stay calm.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Get to a safe place and call 911.
- Keep yourself safe.
- Be aware of your surroundings, 50-60 feet around you in every direction. Assume someone is watching you as you leave your home, workplace, grocery store.
- Recent patterns have had a car pull up next to the victim and suspects jump out OR the suspects — usually 2 or more — are on foot close to and following the victim to the car.
- When you are stopped in traffic, make sure your windows are at least 3/4 of the way up AND your doors are locked. Leave enough space ahead of you in case you need to get out of there.
- Do not put yourself in harm’s way.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know how you will respond to this stress.
DE-ECALATE DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR. Your goal is always to keep yourself and others safe.
- Keep a safe distance. (“A leg length.”)
- Act with composure, reason and responsibility.
- Keep your ego in check.
- Control your body language: How are you standing? What does your face look like? (hint: your smile may look like a smirk to them)
- Shift to a proactive not a reactive state. Know all your options to resolve the incident before you engage (to negotiate)
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Give them your undivided attention–maintain eye contact.
- Avoid over-reacting — this can be really hard, because the aggressor is TRYING to get a reaction out of you so you WILL make a mistake.
- Stress hormones are elevated in ALL individuals during this incident.
AFTER AN EVENT:
File a police report with the law enforcement agency where the incident took place.
Practice some self care.
Talk to someone about the incident.
QQ Self care. Do you mean COPE?
AA Yes, but depending on where you are there are other options that might be available. Employers are often a good source of professional help. There are programs you can use through your insurance company, also. Cornerstone report: https://courtwatch2pac.com/?s=Cornerstone
QQ: How do I estimate a 60 foot perimeter?
AA: Three or four car lengths if they are full size vehicles. Two city lots in many parts of SE and NE Minneapolis are 45-55 feet wide. In Minneapolis, a residential street (2 traffic lanes and 2 parking lanes) is 55 feet wide. Here are a few more typical street widths: https://sdg.minneapolismn.gov/street-types/urban-neighborhood
AA: Also, if you are in a large parking lot, take notice of people in cars: are they slowing and watching you? are they turning to come back toward you? If you are watching them and they see it, you’ve taken away their “surprise” and they want that surprise.
QQ: What is being done to reduce the number of perpetrators? So many of these crimes seem to be committed by young people!
AA: 2-PAC and Courtwatch have let people know that our justice system is a big system. Police have a role, but it’s not the only role. Suburban mayors have met with the County Attorney to ask questions like this. A lot of the crimes in and around the city are committed by a small population of people who keep committing crimes until they’re caught.
View the entire meeting on YouTube: https://youtu.be/XhWt0Fulf40
Emilie Quast, Board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)