Did you know that October is National Crime Prevention Month?
It’s an appropriate match, given the season – a month of frightful diversions, Halloween dress-up, and other spooky activities. And for the last 31 years, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC, aka Officer McGruff the Crime Dog) has designated this month to spread the word about crime prevention and awareness, including important issues like victimization, volunteerism, and ways we can all contribute to safer and more caring communities.
Obviously, this topic is near and dear to us; we’re all about helping keep our communities (and your families and homes) safe. So in the spirit of both Halloween dress-up and the crime-fighting season, we thought we’d throw a spotlight on a local superhero: Phoenix Jones.
Phoenix Jones: Seattle Crime-Fighting Superhero
Have you heard of Phoenix Jones aka Ben Fodor? He’s a local legend in Seattle, thanks to his real-life superhero actions – mask and all!
The story goes like this: A few years ago, Jones’s car was broken into. After the fact, Jones learned that several people had witnessed the vandalism, but no one had done anything. But the real kicker was that Jones’s young son had been cut on the broken windows surrounding the vehicle. The community’s inaction had unintentionally resulted in a child’s injury.
Fast-forward to a second incident, when Jones’s friend was assaulted near a crowd – a crowd that did nothing to help – and the Seattleite’s secret identity was born. The vigilante dons full superhero getup – a bulletproof vest, stab plating, pepper spray, handcuffs, first aid kit and, yes, a mask – to help fight crime.
His reported good deeds include chasing off car thieves, discouraging drunk driving, breaking up fights, and subduing suspects until police arrive for an arrest.
We Can’t All Be Superheroes: How You Can Help
The thing is, as much as we cheer for the good guy – for brave souls like Phoenix Jones – we can’t all be superheroes. And in fact, the police don’t want us to be. Strictly speaking, vigilantism isn’t something law enforcement would encourage, since street superheroes do not receive formal training in how to respond to life-threatening situations.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t help. The NCPC offers up several things you can do to promote crime prevention in your community, among them:
• Download the Crime Prevention Month Kits, offered by NCPC which cover important topics like keeping kids out of gangs and protecting your assets.
• Request a police department photo op with McGruff the Crime Dog. Don’t forget to invite local schools to attend!
• Suggest your local paper publish a crime-prevention series throughout the month.
• Invite Officer McGruff to your local Halloween parade.
Be a local superhero: spread awareness about crime prevention in October!