Portsmouth police giving out whistles for new safety initiative

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police are sounding the alarm on crime.

Not with sirens — this time. Instead they are encouraging you to call for help by giving a whistle.

That’s the key here: community policing. Portsmouth Police don’t necessarily see this program as prevention, as much as they see it as protection.

They hope with the use of a little white whistle, which also comes with a light, people will be able to protect themselves and others citizens will be more aware of lurking danger.

“With giving out whistles to the public, there was an idea like hey, it’s something that anybody on the street can have that can get other people’s attention,” said Capt. Rich Springer.

Portsmouth Police say the whistle’s attention-grabbing sound is the point of their new initiative, “whistle your way to safety.”

Springer said safety and protection are number one on their mind.

“It’s just personal safety. Personal safety is everyone’s responsibility and we’re just trying to give tools to the general public — just having one more way of protecting themselves,” he added.

They’re taking a page out of the 19th-century’s playbook, where whistles were used to to alert people to all kinds of things.

If a citizen feels threatened or wants to alert other individuals in the area that they need help or police intervention, they can blow their whistle, which will attract attention to the individual in the vicinity of the incident.

If the whistle blowing does not deter the offender, the premise is that someone nearby, hearing the whistle, will call 911.

“We believe the deployment of whistles to our citizens will afford them a simple and easily-used resource to help prevent crime,” said Portsmouth City Manager L. Pettis Patton.

“If I had a whistle, I would love oh I would definitely carry the whistle and I would definitely blow it,” Patton said.

Sandra Stip jumped at the idea of having a whistle. She says she walks her dog at night sometimes, and having a whistle already makes her feel better.

“Yeah, that whistle will make all the difference in protecting this little old lady,” she said.

So, use the whistle when you feel you are in danger.

“A lot of people may not be able to scream, or you know in a situation where it’s really high stress and just don’t have the ability to vocalize, you got a whistle and all you gotta do is blow in it,” Springer said.

If you would like a whistle, contact Portsmouth Crime prevention at 757-393-8752.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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