SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - In the light of the recent attempted kidnappings and robberies that happened in broad daylight, it brings us back this question; What would you do if you see someone being attacked in public?
Maybe you’re in the parking lot of a grocery store or shopping mall. Perhaps you’re out for a walk in your neighborhood and see someone getting victimized. What do you do?
Some of us would try to help in some way, if it appeared it was safe to do so. Others would just call police and let them deal with it. And a few would say, ‘I’m minding my business,' and keep right on going.
The decision about interfering isn’t always easy. It’s a split second judgment call that’s up to you.
“Assess if you feel comfortable.”“If you feel safe, if you’re expecting help to come and you feel comfortable and safe” get involved. “But if you feel uncomfortable contact police immediately. But at least contact police.”
Here’s a list of what the experts say you should do if you’re ever confronted with such a situation.
Call Police: The first and most important thing you can do. Emergency number 911 is free from all cell and pay phones. No matter what else you do, this should be your first step.
Remember The Perpetrator: The best witnesses are those who can tell cops exactly what they saw, what the accused looks like and exactly where the crime took place.
Remember Their Route And Their Car: If police know which way they went, they may be able to catch up to them. Make, model, color of car and especially a license number are all terrific clues. But if they escaped on foot, their route is vital.
Don’t Leave The Scene: In all the confusion that can surround a crime scene, many people get tired of waiting around as officials process the area and simply leave. Make sure authorities know that you saw something and where you can be contacted.
Your information may stand between solving a case and leaving a violent felon free to hurt someone else.
Ultimate Advice: Your own safety is important. If you feel you won’t get hurt, only then should you think about intervening.
"Any citizen can stop a felony. That's law. Will there be court later? Probably," explained Paul Murray.
Murray has spent years at his shooting range in Bossier City, known as Shooters USA, as a concealed carry handgun instructor.
He said much of the decision to intervene is based on the exact circumstances of the case.
For example, what if you were a witness to this scene at a convenience store on Hollywood Avenue back on February 10th.
"If I was afraid for her life you can step in and try to stop."
Murray agrees the best action for a crime witness is typically to call 9-1-1 and let police do their job.
"But then again you're looking at in a few seconds this woman could be dead versus I'm right here, right now and can take care of this."
Murray added that it’s important for you to remember one fact above all else. If you have to pull this weapon out there will be consequences whether they be civil or criminal, or at the very least answer a lot of questions. And that’s why he insists it’s so important to get the proper training.
“Training is the key. If you don’t train and you go out and try to do stuff you’re going to get hurt.”
Then there are the witnesses to a crime like this that not only don't intervene but then don't contact authorities either, often just leaving the scene.
One example of that is something called the bystander effect, in which people are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present, and a higher number of bystanders the less likely anyone will help.
Meanwhile, Shreveport Police are still hoping the public can help identify the man seen in that surveillance footage from February 10th.... and then capture him before he can possibly strike again.