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 the efforts of the Johnston Police Department to keep residents in the know is encouraging.
Johnston Police have an online presence, with a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Hopefully they will invest more time into updating those accounts, tapping in to a younger, more tech-savvy generation. Perhaps more important than their online presence, however, is their strong presence in the community.
The Thursday Walk with Cops program is an opportunity for residents to get to know their police officers, and whether you’re at a Parks and Recreation event, a local fundraiser or a Town Council meeting, you’re bound to see at least a couple of police officers who are willing to chat. The more you see them, the less intimidating it is to walk up to an officer and find out what’s going on in your town.
The department also provides the Sun Rise with police reports for publication so that residents can keep track of crime in the area, which helps them 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.
These efforts not only make information on crime more accessible, but they also make the police more accessible. And if Johnston 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 town. That can only lead to a safer Johnston and a more informed citizenry – nothing scary there.