It is estimated that $65 million is lost each year in the United States in home invasions, muggings, and in other violent crimes. It is estimated that $600 billion is lost per year due to fraud. Work place violence caused an estimated $30 billion to American businesses last year.
It is important to be aware a crime can occur, anticipating the location, time, and taking action to reduce the chance of it happening. Crime prevention is key to stopping the ability and opportunity for a criminal. The use of instinct, knowledge, common sense, and awareness can make you a tough target.
Three Basic Rules
- Stay alert.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings, who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Don’t get distracted.
- Walk purposefully, stand tall, and make eye contact with people around you.
- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave.
- Make yourself a "tough target."
- Don’t think that it can’t happen to you.
- Should you resist? Everyone and every situation is different.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- If being followed or stalked, call 911 or drive directly to a police station.
If You’re Attacked
- Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible and evaluate your options and resources.
- It may be more advisable to submit than to resist and risk severe injury or death. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances. But, don’t resist if the attacker has a weapon.
- Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another. Possible options include negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming, and physical resistance.
- You may be able to turn the attacker off with unusual behavior.
- Keep your car in good condition with the gas tank at least half full.
- Park in well-lighted areas and lock your doors, no matter how long you’ll be gone.
- Put valuables out of sight or in the trunk.
- Check front and rear seats, and floorboards before entering your car.
- Drive with all doors locked and windows rolled up.
- Never pick up hitchhikers. If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, turn on the flashers, and move to the passenger seat. Do not leave your car. If someone stops to help, roll down the window slightly and ask them to call the police or a tow truck.
- Avoid underground and enclosed parking garages if possible.
- When parking or returning to your vehicle, carry your keys and be aware of your surroundings.
- Consider investing in a cellular telephone.
- Try to use well-lighted and frequently used stops.
- Try to sit near the driver or conductor.
- Avoid sitting near exits. An attacker can reach in and grab a purse or jewelry as the bus or subway pulls away.
- Be alert to who gets off the bus or subway with you. If you feel uncomfortable, walk directly to a place where there are other people.
- Look in the elevator before getting in.
- Stand near the controls.
- Get off if someone suspicious enters. If you’re worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and don’t get on.
- If you’re attacked, hit the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.
Home and Neighborhood
- Good locks, simple precautions, neighborhood awareness, and common sense can help prevent most property crimes.
Locks, Doors, and Windows
- Install and use good deadbolt locks in your doors (about half of all burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows).
- Secure sliding glass doors with locks or a rigid wooden dowel wedged in the track.
- Lock double-hung windows by sliding a bolt or nail into a hole drilled at a downward angle through the top of each sash and into the frame.
- Trim back shrubbery hiding doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb to second story windows.
- Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lighted.
- Maintain the neighborhood. Dark alleys, litter, and rundown areas attract criminals.
- Do not hide house keys in mail boxes, planters, or under doormats.
- Do not put personal identification on key rings.
- Leave only your ignition key with mechanics or parking attendants.
- If you lose the keys to your home or move into a new home, change the locks immediately.
Answering the Door
- Install a peephole or viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
- Do not trust door chains. They can be easily broken.
- Don’t open the door to anyone you don’t know. Insist service personnel verify their identity before allowing them in.
Answering the Telephone
- Don’t give any information to "wrong number" callers.
- Check references of any person calling about a survey or credit check before offering information.
- Hang up immediately on threatening or harassing calls.
- Make your home appear occupied when you go out.
- Leave lights on and the radio playing.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked.
- Use timing devices to turn inside lights on and off.
- If you will be gone several days, arrange to have the mail and papers stopped or picked up. Half of all home burglaries occur during the day when alert neighbors could spot and report the thieves.