Reading the news headlines this morning made my heart drop a little. Saddened that I had no problem posting more stories on more shooting deaths in St. Louis. Latest victim being a former St. Louis University student, Megan Boken, who was killed in an area that I have been hanging out in since I was 15. It is by far, one of my favorite places in St. Louis, and unfortunately, another tragic mark for the city.
It breaks my heart to post these types of headlines, but I don’t post them to keep a continuous string of content present on my Twitter timeline in hopes of gaining followers; I post them because it feels that there is an underground war taking place on the streets, and the (real) good guys are severely outnumbered and/or under-powered, or even worse, those in power that lack the ability to care enough to really make a difference, lack of passion for what they do. This fact would have my father (former Sgt. police officer) spinning in his grave. He literally died for his job. I compare his well-known passion for law enforcement to current officers today and some just don’t even come close to that level of professional pride. This is where citizen/residents stop having faith in the local police. Not all officers are like this, but it is beginning to become a horrible trend.
This is a growing hot topic within the St. Louis area right now. For me and for obviously reasons (current profession & family background), this is a topic I feel very strongly towards, and have plenty of opinions about. Some agree with me, some don’t. Everyone is pointing fingers, looking for people to hold responsible (other than the actual offenders themselves), but few of those complaints are accompanied by any solutions that would help the problem, verses, just complaining about it.
My solutions will not make everything perfect, but they will help if people take note, and then take action. I place a heavy emphasis on this, simply because I do not want to see the city lost to the decay of St. Louis’s society. This is my hometown, this is where my roots are, so I have a tendency to be a bit protective.
St. Louis is making great efforts to bring up the city’s reputation with all of the new small business start-up opportunities, and established business moving their headquarters within the area. This is definitely a positive solution that helps, but there are other key factors that are still missing.
Small business owners and residents are the majority of those in ANY given neighborhood. There is a strong responsibility that lies with business owners and residents to help protect their areas. Making it known that violence and crime will not be tolerated, and that YOU WILL NOT BE MADE A VICTIM BY THESE ASSES! Most people are fearful to do this, therefore, they go about their day-to-day routine never taking into account what is going on around them. I see them pass me all the time, most walking with their heads down and tunnel vision on.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. -ALBERT EINSTEIN
This needs to change. The police can not do it all, local politics can’t do it all, nor can residents do it all. IT HAS TO BE A COLLABORATION OF ALL 3 WORKING TOGETHER — If one piece is missing it makes it 10X harder to take back control of the city. Just the same as fighting bullies in high school.
Here is a little tip for RESIDENTS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS that can have a significant impact on safety, as well as, improve local businesses and the communities they are located in:
- PAY ATTENTION! (Golden rule!) – to what is going on around you. Take the time to get to know your neighbors, customers, and the other locals that frequent your area. You will be SHOCKED at what people will be willing to tell you, if you just simply LISTEN and let them speak. Plus, this will kill any preexisting stereotypes some might have if they actually take time to get to know people.
- ASK QUESTIONS! – Don’t be afraid to speak up about something that just doesn’t look right to you. Now I know a few people out there will deem EVERYTHING suspicious, and most don’t want to go running off calling 911 continuously; so this is what you can do legally, and anonymously that will help tremendously.
- Document the moment. Literally write it down or whip out your phones, tweet it, video record, or take a picture of what you witness. **THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON YOU HAVE…YOUR CAMERA PHONE!** I have prevented a few incidents going from bad to worse because I held out my iphone as if I were video recording the incident. Amazingly, the person no longer wanted to cause a disturbance, and flipped out that I was “recording” him. SIMPLE! All in all, If it’s nothing, you’ll never need the note, but if it is something, it could help in solving cases. If you have to, you can give that information to the police….ANONYMOUSLY.
This truly is simple to do, and will make you feel empowered verses a helpless bystander. It wont prevent things happening to you; we all know that life happens, but it will definitely make it a lot easier to catch the ones responsible when crimes DO happen.