crime

I’ve been in Law Enforcement for more than 26 years as I write these words. In all that time I’ve only responded to perhaps a dozen or so calls for service that were still occurring. Over the years I’ve probably responded to literally thousands and thousands of calls and most of the time the incident was long over upon my arrival. At times with catastrophic results to those involved.

As we receive the call from the dispatcher, we immediately begin responding to the call. If the call is in progress while we are enroute and the dispatcher is still on the phone with the caller/victim, we get periodic updates via  our radio or computer of what is going on.  Often I can imagine what carnage or unspeakable violence is going on while we are rushing to the call.

Like most police departments in urban areas; our response times vary widely from probably around two minutes at its best to who knows how long after all the cuts to so many departments around the country. Two minutes…seems like a short time doesn’t it? I imagine it feels like two hours to the people waiting.

I write these words because in my experience the police will rarely and I would imagine never be there exactly when you need them. The saying that the police are only minutes away when you need them in seconds.

This is no slam against the police. Hell, most of us, the police I’m speaking of, want to help and be there quicker, because this is virtually impossible. Why? Because police departments are inherently reactive. Sure there are some aspects of police work that are police work that are pro-active. Officers around the country are always busy making traffic stops, doing investigations, initiating good quality police work that makes our communities safer every day. An officer might be in the right place at the right time and be able to stop the crime while it is happening, but this is soooo rare. Rare enough it can’t totally be depended on.

What I’m speaking of is calls for service. The whole thing is a process with delays in each step. The delays might only be seconds in the best of circumstances, but when seconds count minutes are too long.

This takes me back to the title of this text, ” You are the true First Responder.” This could be in your home or elsewhere. The police and the system they work in are not built for quick response in literal terms. they have many lags in the system and process that will delay their response.

Now…if the title is true, are you ready to defend and protect yourself and your family? Are you carrying concealed? Do you keep a secured but accessible firearm in your home that you can use to defend yourself with? If you do carry concealed do you still carry when you are at home.

I think these are questions we need to ask ourselves. Years ago when the economy around the country was flourishing I still heard rumblings of complaints of police response times. With the so-called “Tough Economy”, for the last half dozen years or so, what has happened to your police department and sheriff’s offices. In most areas of my state of Michigan, there have been cuts in personnel across the board. Less police to serve the public. Mind you, I said serve and not protect. Look up Warren v. District of Columbia for more on this.

It is your responsibility to protect yourself. It is your God given or natural right to protect yourself. No one has that responsibility for you, more than you. I encourage everyone reading these words to do all within their power to assure yourself that you can protect: You and your family.

 

 

 

Many people don’t think about this beforehand and then find themselves stuck in this very situation. With a little foresight and planning you may just be able to get out from under the problem without any hurt or harm coming to you and yours.

Picture this scenario. I pack up my family and tell them we are going to a festival at the Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. We decide to take a bit of a scenic route and drive our car towards downtown through various neighborhoods on Woodward Ave, which goes from Pontiac to downtown Detroit. Now if you’ve ever been where I’m speaking of, you know that there are parts of this street that have some of the nicest homes and small businesses that don’t make you feel nervous at all. Then there are other parts, “the hood”, where you better watch your back and the persons beside you as well. I use this location as an example, but let’s be real. There are parts of most cities that most of us wouldn’t be caught in if we had a choice.

Now imagine, if while we are driving through the rough part and our car breaks down. Now I know what is probably going through your mind. You may be thinking, I’ll just use my cell phone and call for help or call AAA or something like that. I admit in a pinch that is your best option. And it’s always good to have options. What if I tried all of that and nothing worked. NOTHING. Now I’m stuck with my family in our car, in a neighborhood I know nothing about and I might need to walk to get some help. How are you going to do it. I’ll give you three words: Act As If.

Act as if, walking in this neighborhood, is as normal as the sun coming up in the east in the morning. Act as if, there is nothing to be nervous about and you can get to your destination or find that help you need.

You may want all of you to stay together if you have to leave the car. If that is the case, make a point to blend into the surroundings as best as possible. Look around at the people walking around in the neighborhood. How are their clothes fitting, colors worn, etc. Do all that you can to make yourself and the members of your family look like you belong in that neighborhood. If you are a family group but you don’t see other entire family groups walking around, keep that in mind. You can split up and walk on different sides of the seat or one group ahead of the other to give more space and bring less attention to yourselves. Use your imagination, but by all means don’t forget to, act as if. If you have little kids, make a game of pretend of the experience and have them be little actors.

No matter how difficult the situation may appear, the mental aspect of it can carry you through. If you believe that you can get through it, more than likely that is just how it will happen.

Remember…you don’t have choice to quit.

Jeffrey Washington
NeverQuitEver

This is more than a fleeting question. It is a question that must be individually pondered and considered carefully. Each of us…and I mean each of us, must come to our own conclusions of whether this is for us or not. Not only must you consider this question, but you must also decide for yourself if you could take the life of another if you had to to protect your life or the life of someone else. This is the most important question because if your answer is that you could not…then this is truly not for you. Don’t be upset or beat up on yourself. It is not for everyone.

If you asked yourself this very question and your answer was yes; then you should take the next step and find out what is required in your area to get a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) or a CCW  or CWP permit. In most states there are provisions that permit regular citizens to carry concealed. There are some states that do not permit. For people in those states, I feel for you. Keep fighting with your state and local legislator to change those laws that restrict concealed carry.

I have been carrying concealed for the better part of 24 years. It does not give me any unique form of security just carrying a weapon. With a tool there comes responsibility. If I were a carpenter and had a hammer, wouldn’t it be important for me to learn how the hammer works and practice with it. I would have to feel proficient with it long before I would call myself a carpenter or handyman. The same level of responsibility is directly attached with carrying a concealed weapon.You must learn how your weapon of choice works and practice, practice, practice. Don’t leave your life to chance.

Now some may ask what about open carry and why am I leaving out the advocates for that. Well actually I’m not. Open carry is a much more politically charged activity that we will address on this blog at a later date. I do have one primary concern with open carry
everyone knows you’re carrying including the bad guy(s). As a police officer, I’ve obviously open carried for more actual hours than concealed carry, but it comes with its own batch of problems. Not only will you having a weapon not be a secret, but you will also now have to worry about weapon retention. If someone walks along the side of you and you have a weapon, you must be fully aware if they have any ill intentions.

I believe in concealed carry and am glad that it has spread across our nation. The more good and honest people there are carrying at any given time, the more may be able to deal with a deadly force encounter if it presents itself. I would suggest the following website: www.usconcealedcarry.com for more information on concealed carry and states that permit it and their reciprocity with other states.

Take this decision seriously. You know how the saying goes, with liberty comes great responsibility.

 

Take care and be safe,

Jeffrey

 

 

Recently I came across an unfortunate story. It was about a couple that found a house on online. Apparently the house was what they were looking for and they bought it for $1600.00.  They packed up all their worldly possessions and moved from Upstate New York to Flint, MI. They brought all their possessions in a modified school bus.

Within 24 hours of moving to Flint; they were robbed at gun point and many of the items they brought with them were destroyed. This is unfortunate as it might have saved these people a lot of trouble. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have moved to this city or this area, but it would have been great to find out some information beforehand about the neighborhood or part of town they are moving to.

From this information what can we learn.

First of all, be extremely and I mean extremely careful about buying a house over the internet sight unseen. Whether you are purchasing a house to live in or as an investment property; there is nothing like going to the area and taking a look for yourself.

Some cities that have struggles with crime, have portions of their town that may need to be avoided. Not all parts of most cities are problems, but if they have a population of more than 25,000 or more there are probably some parts of town that are rough and you should think twice about moving or going there.

If I was moving to an area I didn’t know much about, I would do a couple of things. I would initially type the name of the city into a search engine such as Google®, Bing®, Yahoo®, etc. This will bring up a few pages where you can read about the city and a few bits of pertinent information about population density, crime statistics and some general history. I would also type in the name of the street along with the city name in a search engine. When I did this I got mostly sites with other houses for sale. Now this can help you decide if you are getting the best house in a bad neighborhood or maybe the fixer upper in a good neighborhood that is undervalued. You might also come across some news stories that might have listed an address on the same street either positively or negatively.

Another idea that might work well is to call the local police department or sheriff’s office and tell them you are thinking of moving to, such and such address and you were wondering if they would give you there opinion. Now this will probably be hit or miss. What you will need is to come in contact with is someone willing to take the time to give you there opinion. You might have to call a few times to get someone that will. I believe most officers will be willing to give you an opinion from their perspective as long as they aren’t restricted from doing so.

You can also call real estate offices, a local church office,  basically any place that would have a vested interest in that community and a long enough tenure there to give you an honest assessment. Speaking to a mail carrier or UPS delivery person may be a source of valuable information as well. I also believe that speaking to other residents in the neighborhood is good. Take some time and be careful with this. Watch how the neighbors interact with each other as well as visitors. If you’re afraid to speak to people based on how they act or look, how will you feel if you lived there.

Remember: None of these methods are fool proof and you could be lied to. If you believe in the general honesty of people and come across as sincere, you may just find someone with a tremendous amount of information and the willingness to give it to you. This all can help you in making the decision whether this area or neighborhood is right for you and your family.

Don’t forget. It doesn’t matter how great the deal is…if you can’t feel secure where you live, it will never work out.

 

 

 

 

 

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