By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
Cherokee is a great place to live and visit. It is one of the safest places in America. We have relatively low crime rates. We have a competent and capable police force and tribal emergency response team made up of loyal and dedicated firefighters, paramedics and more. The tribal municipal services ensure that, to the best level possible, all areas of our communities have adequate informational and cautionary signage to alert the public of potentially hazardous areas. The commerce and environmental departments of EBCI have installed state-of-the-art LED lighting for streets and other public areas. The security of the communities and the visiting public is a top priority of our Principal Chief, Vice Chief and Tribal Council. We are fortunate, as a people, to have the resources of tribal government focused on our homeland’s security.
While having this level of protection is comforting, we must not rely solely on the efforts of the tribal government for our safety. We need to make sure that we are taking proper precautions to protect ourselves and our families from possible threats. For example, it is important to have good working locks on car and home-entry doors. Locking gates add another level of protection, but only if you develop a habit of using those locks when you enter and leave. Many safety experts suggest installing alarms systems (most late model vehicles have alarm systems as standard equipment) in your home. Create and review a safe evacuation route from your home in the event of an emergency. If you are visiting the area, you will see an evacuation plan, usually on the door of your hotel room.
Another recommendation of security experts, and really just good common sense, is to be aware of your surroundings. Keep track of people and their proximity to you. Be aware so that you would notice anything out of the ordinary or suspicious. On a larger scale, be aware of any alerts by listening to news or scanner broadcasts that might impact your safety. Mentioned during a recent session of Tribal Council, there is a sex offender registry available at the government website (https://nc-cherokee.nsopw.gov/) and a national registry (https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/registry) that will allow you to monitor the activity and location of registered sex offenders in your area. These sites will allow you to search by individual or provide a map that plots the home and work locations of registered sex offenders near your home and work.
Individual awareness will help prevent hazardous situations and make for great days whether you are a long-time community member or a first time visitor to the area. The combination of your personal safety measures and those of the tribe will help to ensure safe and enjoyable life on the Boundary.