Want to prevent crime? Teach a citizen how to shoot.
Look, you and I both know that cops have dangerous jobs, but for most victims we arrive far too late to do more than take a report and comfort the bereaved. How many times have you been standing near a corpse waiting for the medical examiner, or interviewing a victim in the hospital and thought “If only…?”
Here is the reality: rarely will we be able to get to a victim in time to prevent a crime. Frequently we don’t find out about the crime until the suspect is long gone. Even the Supreme Court decided that police departments bear no responsibility to protect any individual citizen. So, if we want to prevent crime, we have to be willing to teach victims to protect themselves.
That should not be a scary concept for any police officer, as law abiding citizens by their very nature follow the laws and generally support the work we do. Thousands of armed citizens walk around the United States every day, and they have one of the lowest (if not THE lowest) incident of criminality in the nation. An otherwise normal citizen picking up a gun does not turn into a raving lunatic by picking up a gun any more than you will go on a stabbing rampage because you picked up a butcher knife.
The knowledge and training that you and I have is invaluable to the average citizen who wants to protect his or her family.
You know the numbers. If a citizen calls 9-1-1, they will likely wait for a few seconds to a few minutes to talk to an operator. Once they get the operator, the call taker has to sort out what is going on, where the person is and what jurisdiction should be responding. That all takes a couple of minutes or more.
Then once the dispatcher gets the info, he or she has to send the call out to the beat officers. Assuming that anyone is available, they will have to respond from their current locations to wherever the crime is. Five minutes would be a great response time for most jurisdictions, but 10+ minutes is much more likely.
Add up the “best case” times: 30 seconds to call, 2 minutes to relay the information, 5 minutes for officers to respond. That is more than seven minutes in ideal conditions. If you’re fighting for your life, how long is seven minutes? Well, it takes a lot less time than that to bleed out or to be strangled.
The only way to prevent victimization is to teach citizens to protect themselves. A large part of that has to be threat recognition and avoidance. However, citizens must have the tools and training to defend themselves against violent attack.
It says “Serve and Protect” on your squad car, right? Well, serve the public by teaching them to protect themselves.