Bikes help Military Police keep neighborhoods safe
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea (June 25, 2012) -- A primary duty for Military Police is to provide a security presence and to patrol communities, said Spc. Jacob Golmon, 142nd Military Police Company. This is to prevent crime and ensure that service members and families are safe.
During summer however, certain MPs can be seen wearing bright blue shirts while riding bicycles, rather than driving the typical MP vehicle. Golmon explained that this allows them to patrol neighborhoods more effectively and quickly.
"We can get to some of the areas that regular patrols can't, and we alleviate some of the walking patrols," Golmon said. "In housing areas, patrols get out and walk through them, but we can do that a lot faster."
According to Golmon, statistically, crime rates have been shown to rise during summers. Therefore, it was necessary to have MPs patrol the neighborhood on their bikes, so they could raise a security presence even in areas that were difficult for regular patrols to reach. This would help in the effort to keep neighborhoods and communities safe.
"The more presence you have, the less crime rate you're going to get in that area, because they know that the police are there," Golmon said. "So the more presence we have, the lower the crime rate."
Another issue that bike patrols help alleviate is juvenile crime. Over the summer, children take a break from school and have much more time to spend outside and in the neighborhoods.
Consequently, during summer break, there can be more incidents of graffiti, vandalism and cases of minors creating mischief in parks late into the night. Bike patrols allow MPs to search these areas, ensuring that children are properly following regulations of the community and being safe.
One particular issue of concern for bike patrols is the proper use of personal protective equipment, or PPE. This is because there are several cases of people riding bicycles and other wheeled vehicles without proper PPE. Golmon stated that anything with wheels and no motor, such as a scooter or skateboard requires proper PPE. This would include a helmet and bright colored clothing during the day and a reflective belt or vest during the evening.
"A common mistake made by Community members is forgetting to make sure that their vests show," said Golmon. "This means that if you wear a backpack, the vest needs to go on top of the bag."
In addition to proper PPE, bike patrols also check for illegal parking, driving on sidewalks, obeying stop lights, vehicles being abandoned and possible crimes such as burglary.
Although bike patrols allow MPs to more effectively monitor housing areas and provide a security presence in neighborhoods, community members play a major role in keeping the garrison safe. This is because MPs rely on the input of community members to help them be aware of what is going on and know how to best serve the community.
To keep the community safe then, Golmon encouraged the community to interact with the MPs and ask them any questions they had.
"We're pretty much here to ride through the housing areas, meet with the people and talk to them," Golmon said. "If you see something that you know is wrong and you see a bike patrol, don't be afraid to holler and tell them to come over. They're more than willing to give advice on any situation, and they will try their best to answer your questions or solve any problem you've got."