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Guest Column – Abbott encourages ‘Circle of Respect’

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By Attorney General Greg Abbot

SPECIAL TO THE POST-REGISTER

Each October, National Crime Prevention Month gives communities across the country an opportunity to renew their focus on crime prevention. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is committed to working with law enforcement agencies across the State to protect Texas communities and advance the

National Crime Prevention Council”s “Circle of Respect” initiative.

The Circle of Respect is predicated on the notion that showing respect for both one”s self and others in the community are the cornerstones to managing conflict and preventing criminal behavior. Encouraging respectful conduct is particularly important to preventing conduct that reflects abusive behavior – such as cyberbullying and gang violence. Cyber bullies can inflict tremendous harm on their victims by misusing personal computers, camera cell phones, and other devices to distribute malicious and hateful information. Sexting, one particular type of cyberbullying, typically involves students sending sexually explicit pictures of minors to other classmates without the subject”s permission.

By encouraging young adults to act respectfully, parents, community leaders and law enforcement personnel can improve how individuals treat one another – and help reduce crime. Young Texans who respect their classmates are less likely to engage in workplace violence, cyberbullying or sexting. A person who respects his or her community and its citizens is less likely to join a gang and become a future danger to society.

To better protect our communities and continue building a sense of respect among our fellow Texans, state, local and federal law enforcement  agencies must continue working cooperatively to combat crime. For example, the Attorney General’s Office is working with city, county and federal law enforcement officials to protect Texas neighborhoods from dangerous sex offenders. The OAG’s Cyber Crimes Unit and the Fugitive Unit, which locates sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole, have combined to make more than 2,800 arrests. The agency’s dedicated peace officers are also helping to educate parents and educators about cyber safety by offering tips, training and other valuable resources through our website: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

Our duty to protect Texans also compels us reach out to victims who are left battered and broken – physically, emotionally and often financially – in the wake of violent crime. The OAG’s Crime Victim Services Division administers the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund, which helps innocent victims and their families when they have no other means of paying for the financial cost of crime. A survivor’s recovery from an act of crime centers on the victim’s self-respect and determination.

As law enforcement officers, engendering respect within our communities is crucial to our mission. And the more that Texans respect the law enforcement community, the more likely they are to help us combat crime. By fostering a strong network of law enforcement, crime victim advocates and neighbors who respect and care for each other, we can help strengthen Texas communities – and work collectively to foster a brighter future for generations to come.

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