SAFE HAVEN Project promotes community safety in neighborhoods

Posted on May 3, 2010

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(via Squeakwheel‘s Flickr)

The Ingleside police station just began a project that gives people places to go when they feel threatened or in danger. The “SAFE HAVEN Project,” ask merchants to post signs in their storefronts so pedestrians walking by have a place to for safety. From the email:

The SAFE HAVEN project is network of merchants who have agreed to promote
personal safety in their district.  The merchants have agreed to post a
distinctive sign on their front windows or doors.  If someone is in danger
or feels unsafe on the street, he or she can walk into the participating
business and know the merchant will offer a safe haven, act as a witness
and call the police.

So far, Leland Street merchants in Visitacion Valley responded to the initiative according to Ingleside Capt. Louis Cassanego’s newsletter.

Mission and Geneva Streets were targeted next. Merchants seemed interested and we’re asked to call the station if interested.

This project has the potential to really change the dynamics of the neighborhoods. If merchants willingly let their store fronts become safe houses for threatened community members, then more community bonding and action can take place. In an email, Cassanego said that the station feel behind its projected goals this year to reduce crime and that community involvement and face-to-face interaction was key for making safer neighborhoods. It looks like the SAFE HAVEN Project is a step in the right direction.

If you’re a neighborhood merchant interested in this project or are a citizen wanting to find out more, you can call the Ingleside Police station at (415) 404-4000.

As part of this safety awareness tactic the station sent out a list ways to stay safe prepared by non profit SF SAFE. They are listed below. Safe them with your friends and others and help raise safety awareness! (excuse the PSAness of this post).

 Limit your valuables (identification and money) by carrying only what you need for the day. If you must carry large sums of money or personal items, consider placing them close to the front of your body and conceal them under clothing or in a fanny pack.

 Protect your laptop computers from theft by transporting them in a nondescript bag. Standard cases designed specifically for laptops clearly portray the contents, making it an easier task for the thief to spot in a crowd.

 Never leave your valuables unattended.

 When on the street, be ALERT and AWARE at all times. Keep good eye contact with the people around you. Walk with confidence and purpose. Most victims will be targeted because they appear not to be paying attention to their surroundings.

 A handbag or bookbag with a strap should not be worn across the body. It should be carried under the arm and released if grabbed. This will prevent your body from being pulled to the ground in an assault.

 Have your cell phone easily accessible to you in case you need to call 9-1-1. Keep your cell phone fully charged at all times.

 It is a good practice to let another person know your itinerary for the day and your expected time of return.

 There is safety in numbers. Make every effort to walk with others when leaving a building or location. Walk in well traveled, well lit streets. Do not take short-cuts through parking lots or alley ways.

 Get to know the stores and public buildings that are along your walking routes. Build allies in the community where you live and work you never know when you might need to call on them.

 Digital music players are a common target of thieves and robbers. Be wise about where you choose to use it when in public. Wearing headphones and ear buds greatly reduces your ability to hear and distracts you from potential danger.

 If taking public transportation, have your money or Fast Pass ready. Do not fumble with your wallet; you might draw attention to a pickpocket.

 Never discuss personal information (money, account numbers, etc.) near strangers. There is a good chance that someone might overhear your conversation and act on the information.

 ATM transactions should be made inside a store or at one that is well lit and visible. Shield the keypad while you input your code. Have your card ready and do not count or display your money. Put your money in pocket or purse immediately. Take your receipt with you.

 Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened by another person (s), seek help immediately. A whistle is a great device to have when you need to call attention to yourself.

 Protect your vehicle from theft. Always lock your doors and glove compartment. Never hide a spare key in your vehicle.

 Never leave valuables (GPS system, laptop computer, school equipment, cell phone, digital music player, coins, CD’s, clothing, jewelry, wallet, etc.) unattended in the car, or unattended in a café or coffee shop.

 Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a well lit area with plenty of walking traffic.

 Activate your anti-theft device(s) prior to leaving your vehicle.

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