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
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.
our families to your family, we at 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care wish
you a Happy Holiday!
Co-Founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care
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