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Local organizations discusses ways to protect others on Long Leaf Trail

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A local organization shares safety advice on the recent crimes that occurred at the Long Leaf Trail. During the last two weeks the Hattiesburg Police Department responded to two separate cases that involved robbery, kidnapping, and sexual assault.

The Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention said most intervention centers across the state of Mississippi are teaching people about its Green Dot Program.

The Green Dot Program teaches people that crime within the community, such as, interpersonal violence, is the public's responsibility. "It is not just the police, if we see something happening and it is questionable and we feel like it may lead to interpersonal violence, then we need to say something" said Ashton Thompson with the Shafer Center.

One of the main goal's is to teach others to be proactive based on personal intuition. Thompson said, "It wants you to do it at your gut level, where if it crosses you line and you recognize this should not be happening."

She added, "It teaches how to recognize early and immediately on interpersonal violence."

According to Thompson there are 3 things a bystander can do:

1. You can directly say something to that person.

2. Inform your local law enforcement

3. Let your presence be known

"A lot of times if people realize they are being watched, their behavior changes" said Thompson.

Thompson added, "If you just draw attention that there are other people in the parking lot, like go up to them and say, 'Hey I lost my keys, have you seen them on the ground?' their behavior immediately changes."



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