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Be a Hero, Save a life

Whether in classic fictions or in real life, summer and safety tragically don’t always mix. In the DC metropolis, an estimated 10% increase in crime activities take place every summer (NBC 10 News. As described by a police chief during an interview, “Typically what we see around here [is that] as the temperature rises, you have more violence.” Obviously, the majority of these unexpected, dangerous situations would be handled by the police, however, oftentimes we can be the hero of the day and save a soul from harm’s way.

A case in point is William McNamara, a graduated senior from Richard Montgomery High School who spotted an unusual exchange between a young girl and a strange male at a metro station. After noticing irregularities, William bravely stepped into the situation. 

“I was at the DuPont Circle Station on my way to my internship in DC. I was in a bit of a rush but I spotted a small girl with a suitcase and a strange-looking man standing behind her with a camera,” described William.

“I could tell she looked uncomfortable so I went over. I stood between the man and her because I remember that in these situations predators are afraid of confrontation when there are people around.”

William eventually helped the girl reunite with her mother, who was frantically searching for her daughter at the platform.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, on average of a day, four minors across the United States will die from abuse and violence. However, this figure is largely understated, for these cases are more difficult to classify and not always reported. Sometimes, it takes months, even years, to confirm criminal allegations. While the majority of the underage victims are between the ages of one and five, adolescents constitute 16%. In the Washington DC metropolis, human trafficking remains a major concern, particularly for teens.

Both sociologists and criminal investigators have raised concerns over negligence and passivity. Especially after the recent abduction cases in Cleveland, which attracted tremendous media attention, many have questioned the negative impacts of bystander apathy on public safety. 

Just a little attention from a passer-by may just save a life. Though no one wants to dial 9-1-1 all the time, there are many telling signs of an unusual situation, for example, fresh, noticeable, untended injuries, frightened facial expression, and/or outright cries for help.

For William, saving the little girl had made his day, “I was very late to work that morning, but my boss understood and actually took me out to lunch when he heard why.”

“I think it’s just important to understand that the Police can’t be everywhere. Things may seem normal to bystanders, but it’s also easy to tell through body language when a line has been crossed. And sometimes it’s necessary to step in and help or tell someone who can because it could save them from something too terrible to imagine.”

To seek more information about resolving precarious non-emergencies, consult the following resources:
1. Montgomery County Crisis Center:
2. Dept. of Health and Human Services
3. DC domestic violence in-take center

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