Date: February 2, 2015
By: Donnie Cantwell, Weiser Security Services, Inc Tampa Branch Manager AKA Charlie Crimebuster
If you were to report suspicious activity to the authorities, what would you say? what would you need to say in order to be an effective Crime-Buster? Homeland security shares an acrostic that ye Crime-Buster, Charlie knows will be valuable in the event you come upon suspicious activity. I am going to list the acrostic (from Homeland) with a little more meat (from Charlie). It is the word salute. And Charlie, salutes all the crime-busters out there. Thanks for all you do!
S—Size. How many people do you see? Give physical descriptions, ethnic description, tall or short, facial hair or not, ….you get the idea. Charlie Hint: Practice this in your day to day life. When you are out, count the number of people there. How many males? How many females? How many children? Describe in your mind a physical description of the person at the cash register. You get it, Right?
A—Activity: Exactly what are they doing? What came to your mind to think it suspicious? Was someone taking pictures of Security Cameras? Any unusual deliveries at your new neighbor’s house or apartment? Charlie Hint: Get to know your neighbors and the neighborhood. Practice going over in your mind the make and model of vehicles your neighbors have including color and state of registration .I know you got this one. Right?
L—Location…Location…Location….more than just putting a value on your real estate. When I was a rookie cop, my training officer would ask me out of the blue, by telling me to shut my eyes…..(don’t freak out, HE was the one driving)…and then tell me to give him the exact location we were including street and block. Hey, this is the kind of thing that gets your back up to you on time…and can save lives! Charlie Hint: As you drive to work, name off the streets that you cross on your way. Hey, idiot! don’t take your eyes off the road, learn to see from your peripheral vision and STAY ALERT. Get this one safely, OK?
U—Uniform…..What are you wearing? And I do NOT mean this in a sexual kind of way. Keep your mind clean and fresh here. What color shirt or blouse? What sort of shoes do they have on? Any ink (tatoos) showing on them? Are they wearing a cap or hat? This one is important especially if you are calling in a “crime in progress.” Police have only minutes to get this perp in the area, and a quick glance at the clothes someone is wearing can make the difference. Charlie Hint: You already know this one, don’t you? At work today,go over in your mind what one of your work partners is wearing. See how well you play it back in your mind when that person is not around. By the way, do you know what color of eyes your work partner has right now? This tells you whether you are very observant or not.
T—Time…..Hey, what time is it right now. Don’t laugh. I have not lost my mind……..YET. Did you know that this is often a question police will ask a possible drunk driver? “Sir, do you know what time it is right now without looking at your watch….or cell phone? ” Wait. You knew that? HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT? If I was sending you a text, I would put LOL right after that. Seriously, when reporting, what time did you see it, how long was the suspicious activity last? And…if reporting later, what date was it? Charlie Hint: “Don’t Drink and Drive.” OOPS, got carried away there. Often ask yourself, what time is it? (without looking at your watch and cell phone).
E—Equipment—What type of weapon; if you saw one? What were they hauling if you could see it without putting yourself in danger? Again, what was the make and model of the vehicle? Color of vehicle? Were they covering something up? You get it. Charlie Hint: Learn the difference between a semi-automatic and a revolver. Do you know? Take at rip to your local gun store, even if you are not into guns and hate them. Walk around and look. Ask questions. It might come in handy, not only in locating the perp or perps….but could save the life of a police officer by letting them know they were armed. Charlie Hint- Field Trip Time! Go ahead and take that trip.
Ok, Salute. “Get it-Got it-Good!”
Donnie Cantwell has been putting bad guys and gals in jail and training others to prevent crime most of his life. He began as a 20 year old Deputy Sheriff in Tennessee, became a Special Police Officer in Virginia and concluded his Law Enforcement days as a DARE Officer, Lead Investigator and Chief Deputy. He is currently Branch Manager for Weiser Security’s Tampa Branch. He is the founder and director of the Charlie Crime-buster program and the host of the Charlie Crime-buster on-line radio show. For more information go to www.charliecrimebuster.com.