The first Tuesday in August, there was a dance-off at Cokey Apartments. This was not your typical dance-off. While the residents' children demonstrated their skills, the Rocky Mount Police Department also got into the groove.
Who won? Well, you can judge for yourself by taking a look at the pictures in the Rocky Mount Telegram
The dance contest was a part of the National Night Out against crime, which was celebrated across the area. Hundreds of people participated in a variety of activities including parades, ice cream socials and the aforementioned dance-off. The event has steadily increased in popularity each year.
This National Night Out was much more than a community gathering; it touched upon an important topic that has made a big difference fighting crime in Rocky Mount: community-oriented policing.
What is Community-Oriented Policing?
To really get at the heart of community policing and why it is so effective, we have to delve into the past. Deep into the past.
London in 1829 was a crime and disease-ridden city. Law enforcement was not effective. That all changed with Sir Robert Peel, who formed the London Police Metropolitan District.
So what does a policeman who lived almost 200 years ago have to do with community policing?
Quite a lot, actually.
Who is Sir Robert Peel, and why should you care?
Peel established the first foot patrols, assigning officers to protect certain areas and, as a result, become familiar with the residents of these neighborhoods. As a result, police were "walking the beat" and keeping a pulse on the needs of each section of the city. It was the first example of community-oriented policing
. It was so effective, that other cities imitated his example.
Many of the techniques Sir Robert Peel invented are still in use today. (By the way, if you're ever on Final Jeopardy, "Bob" is a nickname for Robert---this is why London policemen were called "Bobbies.")
Rocky Mount Police Department and the Community: Fighting Crime Together
The Rocky Mount Police Department has directly implemented these principles of community policing to produce the cities lowest crime rate in 37 years. In fact, Rocky Mount has the lowest crime rate since the 1980s.
Police chief James Moore recognizes that results like this don't come without effort from both community members and police. Citizens have several opportunities to learn more about the police department's operations through events such as:
Coffee with a Cop
Have questions? Here's a great chance to have a cup of Joe with Rocky Mount's finest. Coffee with a Cop occurs once a month in each of the four districts. For information on the time and place, call 972-4664.
The city has both a Junior Police Academy and an Adult Police Academy where citizens can actually ride along with a cop. [link to Rocky Mount Review article on police academies on our blog when it is published ]
Text a Tip
This program empowers community members to work with the police to fight crime. Text R-M-P-O-L and your message to CRIMES (274637). Once the text is sent, it is received by a a third party that removes all the caller identifiers---meaning no one will know who sent the tip. This is a great way to use the eyes and ears of the community to help the police.
Continuing to Lower Rocky Mount's Crime Rate
Achievement is never easy, and it is rarely accomplished alone. Through community policing, not only have officers made great strides in lowering the crime rate, but they have also established important ties with the community.
When we work together, we can all achieve more.
What does the Police Chief think about Crime in Rocky Mount?