There are things that residents can do to impact crime in DeKalb County, and workshops on the Crime Prevention Tour offer a wide variety of crime-prevention ideas. Sponsored by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office and DeKalb County Solicitor-General’s Office, the tour stopped at Tucker Middle School to share its message to area residents on Feb. 27.
Among the nine workshops were one on domestic violence and another or educational neglect and truancy.
Presenters at the domestic violence workshop, attorney Sherá Grant and Assistant Solicitor-General LeRoya Jennings, said that screams and shouts heard by neighbors should not go unanswered.
Even when domestic disturbances are reported to the police this might not end a victim’s suffering, the presenters noted. “Before, the police would respond and ask the man to leave,” explained Jennings. “Now, when officers respond to a domestic violence call, if they see visible injures and evidence of it also they are required by law to file a warrant.
“Domestic violence has no face,” Jennings said, adding that domestic violence has no racial, socio-economic, age or gender boundaries. “It could be the minister’s wife.”
“It’s a crime of secrecy,” added Grant.
Fear and shame, she said, cause many victims to remain. Grant recommended that those who suspect domestic violence become observant, noticing changes in behavior and marks on the body.
Grant recalled a recent murder case in which the victim’s mother, siblings and children had a lot of information about ongoing abuse. However, when the victim was shot in the head was the first time police were called.
“You’ve maybe seen a person abused in some way,” added Jennings. “Domestic violence is usually a private thing. Victims may cry to family and friends but not to police, and many will come to me and say, ‘it really didn’t happen that way.’”
Be a friend and find outside sources for someone is being victimized, Jennings said. “People don’t really know what’s out there until they need it.”
Help is available for domestic violence victims at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233.
The presenters recommended being a nosey neighbor, saying that it could save someone’s life, or lower the crime rate in a community.
The Saturday Crime Prevention Tour also included the workshop “How to Report and Prevent Educational Neglect and Truancy.”
“Recognize how truancy impacts our quality of living,” noted Juvenile Court Judge Desiree Peagler. “If children are not in school, they are doing something, and usually it’s not legal.”
“Truancy is more than children not just going to school,” continued co-presenter Beverly Jones of The DeKalb County Truancy Project. “There are home issues and peer pressures. Truancy is the gateway to other delinquent acts.”
Keeping a watch in one’s neighborhood and calling police when students are seen in the area during school hours, Jones added. “Police officers will issue citations to students they find on the streets during school hours and physically return them to school.”
Deputy Chief Assistant Solicitor-General Angel Riley, also addressed educational neglect.
After a parent has been notified of their child’s truancy and the problem persists, the county looks to charging the parent with educational neglect. At this point, the parents or guardian have not enforced their child’s school attendance, either in a public or private school, or an approved home school program.
Riley said residents should take a look around their neighborhoods. If they see children during the school day playing in the yard or regularly at home, they can call police and give the address of the home.
“Children 6-16 years old must attend school,” Riley explained. There’s a $25-$100 fine, jail or community service, or a combination of the three, for parents. Each day’s absence from school is a separate offense.
There are some exceptions. Among the list of excusable absences are religious observances, death, and absences due to parents on leave from armed services.
Unexcused absences include such reasons as the child did not feel like going to school, missing the bus, or allowing a child to stay home to baby sit a younger sibling.
For more information about the Crime Prevention Tour, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.