Crime

‘9 p.m. Routine’ social media campaign promotes crime-prevention habits

The Miami-Dade Police Department is convinced there is more that residents can do to protect their vehicles and home.
The Miami-Dade Police Department is convinced there is more that residents can do to protect their vehicles and home. Miami Herald File

Readers, this column is about a new social media technique to help you prevent becoming a crime victim.

Even a casual observer of news reports will have noticed recent stories about motor vehicle break-ins, sometimes repeated incidents in the same multifamily housing complexes. While these incidents are vigorously investigated, the Miami-Dade Police Department is convinced there is more that residents can do to protect their vehicles and home.

Against that background, the department is joining other police agencies across the country to promote the “9 p.m. Routine,” a social media campaign to raise awareness and promote safer habits among residents and visitors, with a view to making it hard for criminals.

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Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

The idea is simple … you routinely set an alarm on your smart phone, watch or other device to remind you to:

▪ Remove valuables from your vehicle.

▪ Ensure that vehicle doors and trunks are locked.

▪ Check that gates to your property and doors to your home are also locked.

▪ Turn on exterior lights.

This is an easy straightforward approach to preventing criminals from preying on easy targets, and the early responses from the community have been largely positive, spurring discussions on the important topic of crime prevention. For example, residents on the Nextdoor social network have been discussing strategies and tips with each other, such as setting reminder alarms and exchanging phone numbers with neighbors.

“The fact that people are talking about crime prevention is a good thing,” said Miami-Dade Police Major Hector Llevat who heads the department’s Public Information and Education Bureau, when we asked him about the 9 p.m. Routine. “Awareness is key to avoiding victimization.”

“One of our mottos is ‘crime prevention starts with you,” Llevat said, “and the 9 p.m. Routine is one easy way that our community can get involved”

He added:

“Most of us are on social media today, and a quick reminder to secure your valuables can make a world of difference in our busy lives and in the fight against crime. MDPD’s Social Media Team has been promoting the campaign through various social media channels utilizing the hashtags #9pmRoutine and #LockItOrLoseIt.

“Communication between police officers and the communities they serve is a cornerstone of community policing and the Miami-Dade Police Department is once again proving that they take this seriously,” Llevat said.

Citizens Crime Watch wholeheartedly endorses this kind of engagement between police and the community.

Part of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s mission is to promote a safe and secure environment, free from crime and the fear of crime, and the 9 p.m. Routine is intended to make things harder for criminals, raise awareness and create safer habits.

To join the 9 p.m. Routine and help spread the word to your community, follow the Miami-Dade Police Department across social media with its handle, @MiamiDadePd.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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