PSP members share their advice about what to do if you are a victim of crime in Prospect Park. These tips are based from experiences, advice garnered from the police precinct and other steet savvy parents about kid (and adult) safety in Prospect Park.
Please be sure to review what to do if you are a victim or witness a crime.
The Police Process:
- If a crime has just been committed then call 911. Even if you (or your kids) don't feel like you are in danger the best chance of catching the criminal is immediately after the crime has occurred. Don't wait til after you get home, talk to your friends (or parents).
- There are 911 call boxes around Prospect Park.
- Or ask another person if they can call 911. You'll need to know where you are so look for street signs (or landmarks if you are in the park) so the police can find you. If you can make it to one of the main roads all the better.
- There is only a small window to catch folks and that while this process can be upsetting it's also necessary to assure the highest probability of catching a criminal.
- Calling immediately after the incident happens means the memory of the event is at the strongest; so waiting for a parent to be present means that the police lose valuable time in catching someone.
- If kids do help find the perpetrator then they can feel good about making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to someone else. It's traumatic; but not doing anything can be as traumatic since it can lead to a feeling of helplessness.
What to tell your kids:
- The general consensus is you should tell your kids "Stuff can be replaced; you can't."
- Under no circumstances should you go easily with someone. the consensus was, "don't let anyone take you" whether in a car, or on the subway, etc. Yell, scream, kick, punch say "this is not my father/mother"-- anything to draw attention to yourself. This "don't go with them" includes going with a police officer who is not in full police uniform who should show you identification (not just a badge; you can get those at novelty stores). (There was an incident last year when someone pretended to be a cop and took a teenage boy.)
What your kids should know:
- Your kids should know to call 911 in an emergency situation
- Your kids should have phone numbers and addresses memorized. If they get their phone stolen they can call 911 but if they don't know parents numbers then it becomes time consuming to track that down. They should also know the phone number of another adult they (and the parents) trust.
- Your kids should know that in a situation they should try to look for details; if someone comes up behind them they can look at their shows.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you suspect someone is following you try to walk close to other people.
- Make sure that your kids stay on the main roads.
- Be in the park with a buddy if you can.
- Most incidents happen after the sun goes down, so if you have to be in the park at night stay in the well-lit areas.
- Use a bluetooth with your cell phone and don't bury your head.
- Keep your cell phone or other electronic devices out of sight.
- Do not lend your phone out.
Further reading on Park Slope Parents: