H.P. Lovecraft wrote, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
Lovecraft was right. If knowledge is power, then the unknown is an unsettling condition. Just like the things that go bump in the night when we are children, as adults we feel most unsettled when we are out of the loop. Our imaginations run away with us, and we often assume the worst.
Lack of information fosters fear to begin with, so factor in something worthy of our concerns – like crime – and you’ve stumbled upon a breeding ground for fear. So to hear that the Cranston Police Department has embarked on new efforts to keep residents in the know is encouraging.
Cranston Police are on Twitter, regularly update their Facebook page and have improved their online presence, both on their own site and by connecting residents to www.crimereports.com, where people can look up their home or work address and see if there is an issue in the area with larcenies, violence or any other type of crime. This information might seem scary, but it helps residents protect themselves. If you know there has been a string of car larcenies in your neighborhood, for example, it might just be the reminder you need to lock your car at night, or maybe go as far as to install a motion sensor light outside the garage. If the CPD Facebook puts out an announcement for a robber fleeing the scene in a given area, you might not overlook a suspicious individual, and instead call the police and play a part in apprehending a criminal.
These efforts not only make information on crime more accessible, but they also make the police more accessible. And if Cranston residents get to know their local officers and understand the department’s processes, they will be more likely to take an active role in policing their city.
On Monday night, at the Cranston City Council meeting, Cranston Police will release the results of a community survey aimed at assessing and evaluating the relationship between the police department and the community it serves. The survey touches upon quality-of-life issues as well as crime and safety and lets the department know how they’re doing from the residents’ point of view.
That’s one more source of information, and that can only serve to improve safety services in Cranston.