Back to School Safety

  • By Spokane C.O.P.S.
  • 24 Aug, 2016
Early September is an interesting time of year, showing the full range of human emotions. Children everywhere enter a state of depression as they begin getting their school materials ready, while simultaneously most parents burst out singing the old classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” at the thought of getting the kids out of the house again. At least that’s how it was in my family growing up.

But there is one thing everyone can agree on: staying safe. And we here at Spokane C.O.P.S. are, as usual, committed to your safety. So we’ve created a list of a few things that you can do to help keep your kids safe as they head back to school.

1. Take your kids to your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop

We want your kids to know that C.O.P.S. shops are great places for kids to go in an emergency, if they’ve been the victim of a crime, or if for any reason they don’t feel safe.  Take the time to bring your kids to your C.O.P.S. shop and meet our volunteers and any officers who might be there at the time, including the Neighborhood Conditions Officer that operates out of that shop. Get your kids comfortable with the shop so they feel comfortable going in. We really want them to know that our shops are safe places for kids to go.

2. While you're in the shop, borrow one of our engravers

There is no charge, and you can take the engraver home to  engrave any items of value  that your child has (as well as items of value that you as parents have) in case anything was lost or stolen. The Police Department recommends using your driver’s license number on items of value. Doing this gives police a way to track you down as the owner if they recover your items, and a driver’s license number does not put you at risk for identity theft. Never use your social security number!

3. Organize a Block Watch in your neighborhood

The best crime deterrent is neighbors who care and who look out for each other. Get to know your neighbors (which you did at National Night Out  of course, right?), and make sure they know who your kids are. Get your neighbors on board with looking out for the kids in the area through Block Watch .

4. Talk to your child about safety

Make sure they know when to call 911, to always wear a helmet on a bike, to never talk to strangers, to obey all traffic lights, and anything else that is relevant to keeping your child safe. Don’t just assume your child knows about safety – take the time to go over anything you can think of and answer any questions they have.

5. If your child walks to school, ensure they know the route well

Encourage them to wear something brightly colored while walking to enable them to be seen by vehicles more easily. If practical, consider a “ walking school bus ” where children from the same neighborhood walk to school together as a group with an adult escort.

6. If your child rides a bus to school, ensure they know bus safety

Teach your kids bus safety  like making sure they stay back from the street while waiting for the bus. If the child needs to cross the street, make sure they cross the street in front of the bus where the driver can see them, and make sure they look both ways to ensure other cars have stopped before crossing the street.

7. Recognize, as adults, you play a role in all of this on a daily basis

When you are driving, remember that kids are back in school and you need to drive carefully. Obey all speed limits and traffic laws, and always be on the lookout for kids. Children can be impulsive and dart onto the street, so always be prepared.

These are just a few things you can do to keep your family safe with school back in session. For questions or to get more information, please  stop by your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop .

Want to make Spokane a safer place? Volunteer at your local C.O.P.S. shop with one of our crime prevention programs , from lifting fingerprints off of vehicles to catch car prowlers to organizing a block watch for your neighborhood.

Spokane C.O.P.S.

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Over 7,000 cases of personal property theft have been recorded so far this year (up 4.5% from this time last year). In many of these cases, Spokane police officers are able to recover the stolen property...with no way of identifying the owner. When they can’t find the owner, the items eventually go to auction to free up much needed space in the police evidence facility. This raises an important question-if your property is stolen and recovered by police, would you be able to prove it’s yours?

That’s where Operation ID comes into play. The idea is to mark your valuable possessions with an identifying number (like your driver’s license number). Engraving a number helps deter theft since it’s harder to sell an ID-ed item to a pawn shop. If the item is stolen, the identifying number helps you prove ownership of the item to the police.

Operation ID also involves creating an inventory of the make and model of all ID-ed items, which you then put in a secure place. In the event of theft, fire damage, or other incident where you need to make a claim to your insurance company for item replacement, your information is ready for the insurance company.

Operation ID is a free service that only takes a few minutes. Bring your valuables to your local C.O.P.S. shop to borrow an engraver and pick up an inventory log.

Another property identification program is SpokaneBikeID.org , a city wide bike registration database. The information uploaded during registration is used by police to connect a recovered bike to its rightful owner. You can bring your bike by your local C.O.P.S. shop and our volunteers will register it for you (and you can get a free child’s helmet while supplies last).

For more crime prevention information, check out our Facebook , Twitter , Linkedin , and Pinterest .
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But there is one thing everyone can agree on: staying safe. And we here at Spokane C.O.P.S. are, as usual, committed to your safety. So we’ve created a list of a few things that you can do to help keep your kids safe as they head back to school.
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