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Heads, You Win
By Patricia Q. McDougald

The Turtle Bay Association Safety Committee, chaired by Millie Margiotta, held its first public meeting on April 6 with officers from the 17th Precinct offering safety tips and responding to the concerns of residents in our area.

"The big turnout, more than fifty people, convinced me that residents are concerned about their safety, and want to see more beat officers," Margiotta told Turtle Bay Newsletter. "We keep hearing that crime is down but tell that to someone who gets robbed, or whose car window has been smashed, or who gets cornered at an ATM machine. The purpose of the Committee is to make us all more vigilant about crime prevention."

Detective James Kelly, Crime Prevention Officer of the 17th Precinct, did indeed confirm that the Turtle Bay area has one of the lowest crime rates in all of New York City, but he was quick to point out the importance of common- sense safety precautions.

Take, for example, the popular shoulder bag: Women may defensively put the bag over their head and across their body, but Det. Kelly pointed out that this actually gives the would-be thief "a handle" to jerk you off your feet and do all sorts of physical damage before he/she runs off with your bag.

If your purse has a strap, wrap it around your forearm and carry your purse in front, in the crook of your arm, literally making it a clutch bag. Better yet, for those valuables you must have with you, carry what you can on your person, in front pockets. Makes sense.

If you see a suspicious-looking character heading down the street toward you, give him a wide berth, but don't cringe and show fear. If he makes a move toward you, look him in the eye and keep walking. Makes sense.

Returning home late on a deserted street? Don't walk next to the curb, and certainly not close to the buildings. Walk straight down the middle of the sidewalk and stay in the light. Steer clear of scaffolding. So saith Det. Kelly, and it makes sense.

Pay attention to what you're doing, look where you're going. Move with purpose. Don't unnecessarily put yourself in harm's way.

These are only some of the helpful hints offered us, but they all say one thing: Use your common sense. It can be one of our greatest crime prevention tools. In the words of a great, unknown philosopher:

We have two ends
With a common link
With one we sit
With one we think
Success depends on which we use
Heads we win
Tails we lose.

So let's help keep ourselves safe -HEADS UP!


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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
(212) 751-5465
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