Local Red Cross creates anti-crime plan National president sees nationwide possibilities

October 29, 1997|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

The Central Maryland Chapter of the Red Cross has created a "Crime Avoidance Program" that its national president, Elizabeth Dole, said might be instituted across the country by the humanitarian agency.

"Let me congratulate you on a job extremely well done," Dole said yesterday in inaugurating the project in Baltimore after successful testing at companies here and in Los Angeles. "I'm ready to sign up for the course myself. This may be offered to other communities."

The two-hour class, designed mainly for the workplace, teaches people scores of ways to be a "tough target," avoid becoming a dead or injured crime victim and respond to threatening situations.

Instructors offer tips on staying safe in walking, driving and taking public transportation; and using an automated teller machine, elevators, stairwells, parking lots, garages or unoccupied offices.

The initiative, based on ideas of J. J. Bittenbinder, a retired Chicago police detective, was announced at the chapter's annual meeting, held at the Omni.

John T. Menzies III, chairman of the chapter's new Services committee which developed the plan here, said: "The Red Cross is interested in safety and good health. People here identified crime as a major concern. They want greater control over their environment. So we think the course is a tangible thing companies and employees will want."

Menzies, chairman of the Terminal Corp. in Timonium, said the program won approval from the pilot firms -- EA Engineering, Legg Mason, Lucent Technologies, McCormick & Co., Bell Atlantic and Ryder/MLS -- and United Way of Central Maryland.

Instruction at company sites costs firms $15 a head in classes of 12 to 25.

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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