School Crime Prevention Tips
- Do not leave small electronic items such as cellular telephones, I Pods, and MP3 players unattended or unsecured. The best place for these items are at home.
- Write down the model number, serial number, or any owner applied number or inscription and keep it in a safe place at home. Detailed information on the lost or stolen item, assists the police with identification and recovery efforts.
- Do not share your locker combination with fellow students
- Lock your car and secure your keys in a safe place
- Do not wear expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Do not carry more money than you need.
- Place your money in a secure pocket.
Walking To and From School
- Have your mom or dad, or both of them, walk your school route with you to make sure it is safe.
- When your mom or dad cannot walk you, walk with a friend. Two heads are better than one, especially if there's an emergency. Strangers usually pick on one person.
- Always stick to the same route when going and coming from school.
- Don't take short cuts.
- Be observant as you walk. Be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed, you can cross the street.
- If you think you are in danger, yell "help" and run to the nearest store or back to school.
- If a stranger in a car asks you questions, don't get close to the car (you could get pulled in) and never get in it.
- Remember, a stranger is anyone you and your parents don't know or know well.
- Some adults can tell you what to do, such as a teacher or a police officer. But no adult can tell you what to do just because he or she is older than you. If you're ever in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, you have the right to say NO, loud and clear.
- Don't tell anyone your name and address when you are out walking, and don't think that because someone knows your name that they know you, maybe he/she heard someone else call you by name.
- Wearing clothing with your name on the outside tells strangers who you are.
If you're like most teenagers, you spend a lot of time on a cell phone or instant messenger chatting with friends and uploading photos, videos, and music to websites. You may have online friends whom you've never met in person, with whom you play games and exchange messages. Teens' lives exist in a variety of places such as school hallways, part-time jobs, and friends' houses. Now many teens also have lives on the Internet. And bullying has followed teens online.
Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens. Whether you've been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.
How Are Teens Cyberbullied?
Being a victim of cyberbullying can be a common and painful experience. Some youth who cyberbully
- Pretend they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages
- Post pictures of victims without their consent
When teens were asked why they think others cyberbully, 81 percent said that cyberbullies think it's funny. Other teens believe that youth who cyberbully
- Don't think it's a big deal
- Don't think about the consequences
- Are encouraged by friends
- Think everybody cyberbullies
- Think they won't get caught
How Do Victims React?
Contrary to what cyberbullies may believe, cyberbullying is a big deal, and can cause a variety of reactions in teens. Some teens have reacted in positive ways to try to prevent cyberbullying by
- Blocking communication with the cyberbully
- Deleting messages without reading them
- Talking to a friend about the bullying
- Reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or website moderator
Many youth experience a variety of emotions when they are cyberbullied. Youth who are cyberbullied report feeling angry, hurt, embarrassed, or scared. These emotions can cause victims to react in ways such as
- Seeking revenge on the bully
- Avoiding friends and activities
- Cyberbullying back
Some teens feel threatened because they may not know who is cyberbullying them. Although cyberbullies may think they are anonymous, they can be found. If you are cyberbullied or harassed and need help, save all communication with the cyberbully and talk to a parent, teacher, law enforcement officer, or other adult you trust.
How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying?
Teens have figured out ways to prevent cyberbullying. Follow in the footsteps of other quick-thinking teens and
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
- Block communication with cyberbullies
- Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
You can also help prevent cyberbullying by
- Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
- Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
- Sharing NCPC's anti-cyberbullying message with friends
Don't forget that even though you can't see a cyberbully or the bully's victim, cyberbullying causes real problems. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online. Delete cyberbullying. Don't write it. Don't forward it.
What Else Can I Do To Stay Cyber-safe?
Remember that the Internet is accessed by millions of people all over the world, not just your friends and family. While many Internet users are friendly, some may want to hurt you. Below are some ways to stay cyber-safe:
- Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents' names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or your friends' personal information.
- Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
- Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
- Talk to your parents about what you do online.
For More Information
Check out the following resources to learn more about preventing cyberbullying:
- Cyberbullying.us provides cyberbullying research, stories, cases, downloads, fact sheets, tips and strategies, news headlines, a blog, and a number of other helpful resources on their comprehensive public service website.
- www.stopcyberbullying.org has a fun quiz to rate your online behavior, information about why some people cyberbully, and how to stop yourself from cyberbullying.
- www.wiredsafety.com provides information about what to do if you are cyberbullied.
- www.stopbullyingnow.com has information about what you can do to stop bullying.
All statistics from the 2006 Harris Interactive Cyberbullying Research Report, commissioned by the National Crime Prevention Council.
Parents can do a lot to prevent gang problems or to reduce gang-related consequences. Most important, there's a lot parents like you can do to keep your own child from joining gangs.
- Learn about gangs and signs of gang activity.
- Sharpen your parenting skills and use them.
- Join with others to make or keep your neighborhood gang-free.
Why do kids join gangs?
Young people (as young as nine or ten) join gangs for reasons that make sense to them, if not to adults. The reasons they give are varied:
- to belong to a group
- for excitement
- for protection
- to earn money
- to be with friends
Some signs of gang involvement:
- Specific colors or emblems on jackets, hats, etc.
- Special hand signals
- Unique symbols and lettering on tattoos
- Gang symbols on walls such as graffiti or on books or clothing
- Clothing (hats, bandannas, etc.) suggesting group or gang involvement
- Possession of unexplained large sums of money
- Change(s) in attitude: violent reactions, disruptive behavior, refusal to respond to authority (teachers, police, parents) etc.
- Secretive behavior by your child regarding activities and locations
- Change(s) in friends or friends who are not brought home
- Truancy or poor school performance
- Phone calls from individuals who either refuse to identify themselves, give unusual nicknames, or use a nickname to identify your child
- Negative contact with school officials and law enforcement officers
- Involvement with known or suspected gang members
- Interest in or possession of weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Sharpen Your Skills as a Parent
Many gang members say they join gangs because it offers them a feeling of support, caring, belonging, and a sense of purpose - all the things typically provided by parents. Odds are the better you are providing these needs, the less attraction your child will find in gang membership. Parenting skills are especially important.
- Talk with and listen to your child. Schedule quality and quantity time with each child.
- Place a high value on education and help your child do his or her best in school. Do everything possible to prevent your son or daughter from dropping out. Take an active interest in education and grades.
- Help your child identify positive role models and heroes, especially people in your neighborhood.
- Do not be a "Do as I say, not as I do!" kind of parent.
- Do everything possible to involve your child in supervised, positive group activities.
- Praise your daughter or son for doing well and encourage her or him to fully develop skills.
- Know what your child is doing and with whom.
- Know who your children's friends are and their parents.
- Don't forget to talk about gangs. The best time is before there is a major problem.
- Don't allow your children to have large amounts of un-obligated time. Have them participate in organized activities. ("hanging out" is not an organized activity)
- Look at your children's schoolbooks and book bags for gang drawings.
Tell your child that:
- you disapprove of gangs.
- you see him or her as special and worth protecting.
- you don't want to see him or her hurt or arrested.
- you want to help with his or her problems.
- family members shouldn't keep secrets from each other.
- you and other parents are working together against gangs.
Four Things You Can Do to Help Keep Gangs Out
First, develop positive alternatives. What activities currently exist for after-school involvement? What can you do to support them? What recreational facilities exist for your people? Support positive youth-related activities such as sports, scouting, social clubs, church groups, and after-school programs.
Second, support anti-crime programs such as crime and delinquency programs that discourage gang involvement. Invite efforts in your community to combat graffiti and vandalism. Keep your community pleasant, neat and well cared for.
Third, work with the Arlington County Police and start or join a Neighborhood Watch Program. Statistics show that active Neighborhood Watch programs deter crime. Is suspicious activity in your neighborhood reported to police, or does it go unreported? Do you report suspicious groups and activity that you observe?
Fourth, take a zero tolerance stand on any gang-related activity and share your view whenever and wherever appropriate.