First off, I have called the cops. In 2010 I got my phone snatched and I was really pissed off and I called the cops on two Black teenagers who had ran away. Nothing came of it, no one got caught, I went without a phone for a while, the world didn’t end, but that was a STUPID move that could’ve gone south really fast. That was a decade ago and I’m not proud of it.
These days, I know better and there is no way in a million years I’d call cops if that happened again. If you’re thinking “wait, if there's a crime happening, why would you not call the cops?” well, there are a lot of reasons. But it mostly boils down to the fact that the cops rarely actually help and very often make the situation a lot worse.
If you’d like to see your range of options outside of calling the cops when “shit happens”, try reading this zine If You See Something, Do Something by the May Day Collective. That’s a link to the full PDF.
If you’re in the UK, you might also check out this zine put together by our friends in Nervus called They Don’t Keep You Safe.
Really, it comes down to asking yourself “is this something that someone else in my community can handle?” You could also follow this visually appealing series of questions:
[insert pause here for the literal earthquake that just happened as if the earth is a cop telling me to shut the fuck up]
One way to give yourself more options is by knowing your neighbors.
I haven’t always been good at this, but being friendly and introducing ourselves to our new neighbors has already come in handy in a situation where others might have called the cops. And we’ve only lived here for a month! When you know the folks who live nearby - your immediate community - you’re more likely to be able to offer help, or to call on them when you need it. Having a list of phone numbers ready to go for social services, mediation, crisis centers, etc. is also a great way to be prepared.
One relevant organization to check out right now is Movement 4 Black Lives. This week is their Week of Action and Tuesday’s focus was on diverting funds from police to community services. To keep with the theme of today’s email, you can check out Tuesday’s list of actions here, a lot of which you can do from home.
There are a TON of other resources out there for alternatives to modern policing and divestment in cops, so if you have any you’d like to share, feel free to put them in the comments here!
Lastly, a reminder that now is a really good time to make sure you’re registered to vote and also know when your next local election is taking place.