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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Report Drug Activity? The Decision is Yours.

Your obligation to work with authorities when you discover criminal actions in your neighborhood should not be taken lightly. Deciding to enter the process of being vigilant, gathering evidence, and reporting your findings is gut wrenching in that your activity makes you and your loved ones  suspicious targets for those who disrespect your intentions or for those who may wish to do you harm.

However, make no mistake -- those who operate drug rings that feed distribution, theft, human trafficking, and a myriad of other dark endeavors care nothing about you, your family, or your neighborhood. In fact, the nicer the environment, the more criminals desire to use the friendly confines for cover as subterfuge to infiltrate the ailing county and to deliver deadly poison to anyone willing to purchase their products.

Whether you call your home "the bottoms," "the projects," or "the hilltop," you are at risk for sharing your street or road with drug traffickers. Many of you are aware that you already do. Your decision to act or merely to complain is a moral issue. Morality is defined as "the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good or right and those that are bad or wrong." Of course, moral communities are comprised of people who choose to "walk the walk" or morality, not merely to "talk the talk" of morality.

Reporting information about drug activity will upset you. It will cause you to question what you see and ask yourself "Is this what I think it is?" You may even see yourself as a snitch. Yet, your diligent vigilance is the key to keeping increased crime from completely taking over your environment.

You will, most certainly, be caught in a dilemma that only you can evaluate:

* Do you stand to risk more harm from drug dealers in your neighborhood if you ignore them and let them freely operate close to your home and loved ones?

Or

* Do you keep reporting drug activity in your neighborhood and risk retaliation from criminals who may become aware of your actions?

Before making your decision, look at the child in your home or in your neighbor's backyard. What do you want to do to save this innocent potential victim?

This is the key to understanding your obligation -- indifference and inaction will eventually increase the suffering you and your future generations face from this malignant, alien scourge that intends to cripple every virtuous part of good life in rural America. The authorities are basically dramatically outnumbered, reactionary forces without sufficient resources to make significant gains in stopping drug abuse unless citizens step up and volunteer to blanket their neighborhoods with watchful eyes and discriminating ears.

Please, understand the last thing needed is vigilantes in the sense of citizens creating self-appointed groups who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority. What is needed are county-wide vigil groups -- those willing to bond neighborhoods into effective watch communities, large proactive cells that care for each other and that keep reporting suspicious activities and wrongdoings they encounter.

If you decide to make a personal commitment to bettering your environment, your efforts will be both frustrating and time consuming . "Things take time" is something you will hear from enforcement, and the sad reality is that in this day when justice is stacked in the criminal's favor, they really do. Your patience will wear thin, and you will ask yourself, "Is all of this really worth it?" You may even believe you have no voice at all.

Then, it is time to remember your mission. I've heard it said that weeds will be all that grows without hard work. Maya Angelou, beloved American poet, said this:

"Nothing will work unless you do."
--Maya Angelou

No one deserves to live with fear, intimidation, and deadly crime. If you believe this, and you are beleaguered with problems, work on improving your neighborhoods.

I have shared this information in a prior post. Allow me to print it again for your reference:

Steps To Tidying Up the County
  1. Call emergency services to report crimes in action. If you see drug-related activity in process, you are witnessing a crime. If you can be sure that you're witnessing criminal activity, call emergency services so that police officers will come to the scene to take care of the problem. Here are a few examples of situations in which it would be appropriate to call emergency services:
    • Someone approaches you to ask if you would like to buy drugs.
    • You witness someone selling drugs to someone else.
    • Don't call emergency services to report a crime that has already happened; report it in another way, so that emergency services won't immediately dispatch someone to the scene. 
2. Know the signs of drug-related activity. Determine whether you have seen signs of ongoing drug activity in preparation for reporting it. Examples of incidences that may indicate ongoing drug activity include:
  • An unusually large amount of traffic coming to, and leaving, a building, often at strange hours. Oftentimes the people don’t stay long and don’t even go in – instead, someone from the building goes out to the visitor.
  • Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia in the area.
  • Repeated, observable exchanges of items, especially where money is visible.
  • Musty or other noxious odors coming from around a house or building.
  • Houses or buildings where extreme security measures seem to have been taken.
  • Houses or buildings where no owner or primary renter is apparent, and no home activities — yard work, painting, maintenance, etc. — seem to take place.
3. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible. Just stating that you think your neighbor is selling drugs isn’t going to be sufficient. The police are going to want to know what you observed that makes you suspect drug activity and any information you have that would help them identify those involved. You should be prepared to provide certain details, to the extent you know them, including:
  • The location of the activity (address, intersection, etc.).
  • In what type of building the activity was occurring (house, apartment, etc.).
  • The approximate time(s) you saw the activity occurring.
  • A description of the suspected dealer or dealers.
  • The type of drugs involved.
  • Where the drugs are being hidden if the suspected dealer is selling them on the street.
  • Whether or not there are lookouts to warn dealers of the approach by police officers or other methods of guarding the building (dogs, alarms, window bars, etc.).
  • A description of the suspected dealer’s vehicle if one is used (such as make, model, color, year, license plate number).
  • Whether you have seen any guns or other weapons being carried by the suspected dealers.
  • Who lives in the residence (any children, for example).
  • Who owns the building.
4. Use a local hotline or website to report the illegal activity. Find the phone number or website to use for reporting drug activity to the police in your area. Local law enforcement websites often provide specific phone numbers to use when reporting drug activity, or the phone number may be listed in your local phone book.
  • If you cannot find a specific phone number or website, call the general local number for the police and ask to be transferred to the appropriate department for reporting drug activity.
5. Decide whether to identify yourself. Although you can usually request to report anonymously, police generally prefer that you provide your name and contact information so that they can contact you with any follow-up questions or to serve as a witness. If you provide your identity to the police but don’t want your identity to be disclosed to others – for example, out of fear of retaliation, because you reported on a family member, etc. – you can usually ask the police to keep your identity confidential.

6. Continue to report the activity if it remains ongoing. If you continue to see suspected drug activity or you find out new details, keep contacting the police. Also, don’t assume that you shouldn’t contact the police just because you know of someone else who already did. The more information and witnesses the police have, the better their investigation will be and the more likely they will be able to catch whoever is involved.

7. Don't expect immediate results. Understand that the information you provide may not lead to a noticeable increase in police activity or any arrests. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see any increase in law enforcement activity after you contact the police. Police can’t round people up for questioning, barge into homes, or make arrests based on one person’s claim that there is drug activity going on. They need to guard against people making false reports or simply misunderstanding what they saw. However, your information, when added to other information that the police may know or learn, may give them sufficient cause to stop and question suspects or even obtain search warrants and make arrests.

Sources:

http://www.seattle.gov/police/report/default.htm



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