Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Patrol Tip: An Ounce Of Prevention…

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The old saying holds true whether you are doing professional security or neighborhood safety patrols, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In your capacity as a paid guard, or as a volunteer, your primary aim is to protect people from harm and to prevent the destruction or damage of property. The absolute best way to do this is to PREVENT it before it happens.

Should you see someone entering private property, begin to climb a fence, or any other activity that could lead to criminal activity, you should take action to prevent it from the outset. Make your presence known, shout, shine your flashlight on them, turn on lights. Respond in a lawful (and safe) manner to do whatever you can to discourage the activity you are observing BEFORE it goes any further. Do not wait until they have committed the criminal act so that you may perform an arrest. A private (citizen’s) arrest should only be performed if it is absolutely necessary, and can be done safely. Your employer, or organization, may have further guidelines that will further outline when, or if, you may perform an arrest action.

Your very presence deters crime. Making visible patrols along perimeters, along walkways, and into secluded areas (with due caution), does decrease the likelihood of trouble makers staying in the area. Being alert and aware of your surroundings is also important. Make your rounds, but do not follow any set predictable patterns that may be exploited. If you are seen looking down and texting, or “resting your eyes”, or chatting blissfully away on the phone or with a co-worker, these are signs you are not paying attention to your assigned patrol area. Assume that eyes are always upon you, watching for a lack of vigilance. Don’t make your job any harder by creating inviting openings.

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