WITH crime on the rise in Papua New Guinea, we sometimes feel there is little we can do to protect ourselves. Here are six useful ways you and I can do as citizens to help minimise these criminal activities.
1. Get to know your neighbors and your neighborhood.
Walk the streets and talk to everyone you meet.
Have a block party and invite everyone within a fifteen-minute walk of your house.
A potluck supper would be ideal. Enlist lots of help.
At the party, get everyone’s phone number. Everyone should have a list. Organise a neighborhood watch and safe homes for children in need to go to.
2. Keep your community clean and tidy with the help of your neighbours, or alone.
Pick up litter, cut grass and make property repairs as needed.
Cut back branches and hedges that give places for criminals to hide.
Make sure it is safe for pedestrians by keeping sidewalks clear. Organise to help the elderly with these tasks if they need help.
3. Keep a porch light on all night. Criminals avoid lighted areas.
If you are away from home in the evening, leave an interior light on. Keep gates and garages shut and locked if possible. Extra trouble is not what criminals want.
4. Suggest car-pooling for those who travel at night.
When dropping off a passenger, watch from the curb until they are safely inside and have a light lit.
Make it your job to be in touch with police for information regarding criminal activity in your area.
Approach and address strangers to your area on a safe and friendly basis.
If you are doubtful how to handle situations in the neighborhood such as rowdy behavior or excessive noise, talk to the police.
5. Work with your local government and law enforcement agencies to set up systems wherein you can report crimes and coordinate efforts of vigilance, reports of illegal activities and prosecutions.
Volunteer for any form of alternative justice system such as mediation and community service for children and families.
6. Get to know the youth in your area and make a commitment to volunteer to work with them in some aspect of their daily lives such as sports, schooling or social entertainment.
Be ever vigilant and get involved. Together, we can help minimise petty crimes in our communities.
David Ulg Ketepa,
Detroit, Michigan, USA