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100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care

A Christmas Story

It was the week after Christmas and all was not still in the 88th precinct located in Brooklyn.  In fact the precinct was jumping and many arrests that entered the precinct were young African-American men.  Many of them were arrested for crimes such as robbery, assault and some sex crimes. They were wearing their new Christmas gifts that varied from $150.00 dollar sneakers to $500.00 dollar watches.  The young men and some women had all the material items that any child could ever want.  One at a time their middle-income parents would enter the precinct and all ask the question, "Why would you commit a crime when we gave you all that you ever wanted?"  Each time I heard this question I would pull the parent to the side and tell them it is time to stop giving our children all they want and give them all that they need.  The question is often asked of me during this holiday season, "What do I believe our children need?"

candle_flicker_md_wht.gif There is no better time to answer this question then during the holiday time.  During this period of time we must re-examine what we are doing to our young people.  In our desire to give them all that we did not have we are missing out on giving them all the good things that we did have. Forgive me for sounding nostalgic but the three areas I believe we must focus on are the following: Holiday instructions, types of gifts we give and volunteer services. 

When I talk about holiday instructions I am speaking about the simple tips we must give our young adults as they move about this holiday season.  They must be conscious of the amount of alcohol they consume and those that are around them.  This includes adult members of the family.  Drinking and driving takes the lives of far to many innocent Americans.  Drinking and walking is also unsafe.  Many people who are the victim of a crime or participate in criminal behavior are found to have consumed some form of intoxicant.  It impairs your ability to think straight.

Our instruction should also include instructing young adults to be careful of displaying too much jewelry and cash as they move about the city.  Crimes of opportunity come about when a potential criminal views an easy victim.  Not making yourself an easy victim means shopping during day hours and shopping in groups.  I encourage all parents to stop by your neighborhood precinct and pick up a pamphlet from the Crime Prevention Officers that will instruct you on how to avoid being a crime victim.  Crime Prevention officers will also come out to your civic and community group to talk to your members.

Just as it is important for your young adults and love ones not to be a crime victim, it is also important for them not to associate with the wrong group of people who participate in criminal behavior.  Many people fail to understand that when a friend commits a crime and you are with them that you can also be arrested for acting in concert.  Far too many young adults are arrested for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time and with the wrong person.  Watch who you associate with.  This means riding in vehicles as well as associating at the wrong social event.  Many house parties have illegal drug usage and many of the participants are known to carry firearms.  It is important that parents are aware of where their young adults are socializing.

The other area of concern is the type of gifts we give our young adults.  Without knowing it we set our love ones up to be a crime victim.  The items we buy them as gifts are attractive to criminals.  Expensive jewelry, clothing and other apparel will only make your love ones more likely to be victimized.  Not only are these items causing crimes, but it also does nothing to help improve the condition of our community.  It is startling to hear how many young adults have color televisions in every room of the house but do not have a computer in one room of the house. Wrong priorities send the wrong messages to young adults. 

Not only do expensive gifts send the wrong message, but some inexpensive gifts could also send the wrong message.  Our organization is asking parents to avoid purchasing toys that indirectly promote violence or criminal behavior.  Items such as toy guns, knives, swords, etc. will only promote violence.  A large number of toy guns are painted black and used to commit robberies and other crimes.  In addition, many young adults have been accidentally shot because their toy guns were misinterpreted as being real. We will make sure our love ones do not leave the house without a hat during inclement weather but we allow them to leave with items that would put them in harms way. 

Finally, I believe the most important gift we can give for the holidays is the gift of giving.  This should be given in all households.  I suggest that we require our young adults and other family members to identify a charitable issue and donate our time and money to that issue.  It can be at a juvenile center, adoption agency, senior citizen home, school, day care center, homeless shelter, etc.  I found that this helps our young adults in two ways.  One is it teaches them the power of volunteering and the second it shows them how well off they are.  Far too often we do not appreciate what we have because we do not have anything to compare it to.

From my observation of the countless number of crime victims and criminals who come before me in my professional capacity that I believe it is important to follow holiday tips similar to these.  It is our goal to have your family enjoy the holiday safely and come away from them with a learning experience.

From our families to your family, we at 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care wish you a Happy Holiday!
Eric Adams

Co-Founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care


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