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Safety Corner: How you can work together with your neighbors on safety

Published 11:29pm Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dowagiac Department of Public Safety professionals work diligently to create a safe community in which families can live, businesses can open their doors to guests and visitors can enjoy a pleasant experience.

However, it truly takes the entire community working together to make this a reality.

Director Thomas A. Atkinson offers the following helpful tips from the National Crime Prevention Council in an effort to keep our families and neighborhoods safe.

Although the suggestions are specifically geared toward parents, we are all the “parents and guardians” of our community and can find benefit by reviewing the tips.

• Know where your children are. Have your children tell you or ask permission before leaving the house and give them a time to check in or be home. When possible, have them leave a phone number of where they will be.

• Help children learn important phone numbers. Have your children practice reciting their home phone number and address and your work and cell phone numbers.

If they have trouble memorizing these, write them down on a card and have them carry it at all times. Tell your children where you will be and the best way to reach you.

• Set limits on where your children can go in your neighborhood. Do you want them crossing busy roads? Playing in alleys or abandoned buildings? Are there certain homes in your neighborhood that you don’t want your children to go?

• Get to know your children’s friends. Meet their parents before letting your children to go to their home and keep a list of their phone numbers. If you can’t meet their parents, call and talk to them. Ask what your children might do at their house and if they will be supervised.

• Choose a safe house in your neighborhood. Pick a neighbor’s house where your children can go if they need help. Point out other places they can go for help, like stores, libraries and police stations.

• Teach children to settle arguments with words, not fists. Role-play talking out problems, walking away from fist fights and what to do when confronted with bullies. Remind them that taunting and teasing can hurt friends and make enemies.

• Work together with your neighbors. Watch out for suspicious and unusual behavior in your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors and their children so you can look out for one another.

Additional resources can be found on the National Crime Prevention Council Web site @ www.ncpc.org.

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