It can be nerve-racking to know that crime is happening around you and not know what to do about it or whom to tell. It doesn’t have to be so scary though. In fact, alerting the correct authorities of suspicious or downright criminal activity is a tremendous help. The more alert a community’s residents are, the easier it is for law enforcement to do their job to make our streets safer.
There is a program called Crime Stoppers in Pinellas County that enables you to call in (1-800-873-TIPS) or submit online any tips for cases that are currently being investigated. Since the year 2000 this program has successfully solved more than 1500 cases and recovered $4,433,273 in narcotics, thanks to tips provided by local residents.
Another way to report criminal and drug activity is through the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via an anonymous form. There are two places online where you can report what you know. First, there is an online form for reporting drug and vice activity. This is a very detailed form, and the more information you can provide the better. It includes the drug dealer’s name/nickname, the type of vehicle this person drives, where the activity is happening, and how much security there is at the given location. For criminal activity, there is a different crime tip online form to fill out. This form covers the type of crime, description of suspect, and vehicle among other things.
There are also several neighborhood watch groups in the area that you can connect with. Neighborhood watch groups have proven to be very effective in spotting and stopping criminal activity in the area because the residents are on watch and communicating with each other—which sends a message of solidarity to criminals.
Having drug deals and/or drug dealers has no benefit to the neighborhood. It attracts drug addicts and shady people and poses a threat to your children.
Here are some quick tips for spotting drug activity:
- A number of people coming and going at all times
- Finding drug paraphernalia and/or drugs in the area
- A visible exchange where money is present
- Musty smells or noxious odors coming from around houses or buildings
- Houses or buildings with extreme security systems
- Houses or building that seem to have no owner or resident
Don’t be afraid to keep a record of strange activity and report when you feel you have enough. The more we are aware of our surroundings, and build an open communication with neighbors and local law enforcement, the better and safer our communities will be.
Drug and Vice Activity Form (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)
Crime Tip Reporting Form (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)
Reporting Drug Activity in Your Neighborhood (Arlington Virginia)
Find a Watch (USA on Watch)