The most important thing to take away from Crime Prevention Month is personal safety awareness. According to the FBI, violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault were up almost one percent during 2012 with more than one million crimes being committed. Aggravated assaults accounted for almost 63% of violent crimes, while robbery accounted for more than 29% and rape for almost 7%. Murder accounted for just over one percent of all violent crimes. As violent crime rates continue to grow, you may wonder how you can keep yourself and your family safe from criminals. These tips can help you remain safe and could protect your family from harm as well.
Door Key Safety
Statistics indicate that 90% of violent attacks occur as people are unlocking the doors to their vehicles, homes or offices. According to law enforcement, a crime is considered a key-related incident until you have been inside a building or vehicle for more than two minutes. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have the exterior of your home or office well-lit and to always park in a well-lit area. Criminals tend to target areas where the lighting is low, so by remaining in areas with good lighting, you are less likely to be a target. Keep this in mind when you park somewhere during the day and street lights are not on yet. Installing surveillance cameras is another way to deter criminals as the mere presence of cameras has been shown to deter crime.
Another area where violent crime can occur is as you are walking, whether in your neighborhood, the city or in a park. Always carry a mobile phone with you and be sure that the battery is charged. Never carry large sums of money with you when walking. If you are going out after dark, try to always have another person with you as there is safety in numbers. For women, only place a few one dollar bills in your purse if you are taking it with you while walking. All credit cards, identification or large currency should be carried in an inside pocket of a jacket, sweater or coat. Keep your keys in your pocket as well. Never put the strap of a purse over your shoulder or your neck as you can be injured if someone attempts to snatch it. Never accept rides from people you do not know well and be wary of cars who pull up next to you to ask directions. Although it is acceptable to help those who need directions, keep a very safe distance away from the car and be prepared to run in the opposite direction the car is traveling.
Safety at Home
Keep your doors and windows locked, even when you are at home. Invest in a peephole so that you can clearly see who is knocking the door or ringing the doorbell. Never allow a stranger into your home to use the telephone or restroom. If someone is claiming they have an emergency, ask them to wait outside the locked door while you call the police for help. If you arrive home and find a door unlocked when you know it was locked when you left, or if there is any evidence that a door or window has been forced open, leave immediately and call the police from a cell phone, neighbor’s house or pay phone. Plant thorny bushes under all the windows in your home.
These are just a few tips that can help you protect yourself and your family from violent crime. There are many security options available for added protection as well, but even those may not be sufficient without some of these precautions.