Crime is a threat to the peace and health of everyone who lives in the U.S. While the risk of becoming a victim may be higher in some areas than others, the potential is always present. These crimes may consist of anything from burglary to assault. To protect oneself from becoming a victim, it is important that everyone put some thought into how they can live their daily lives as safely as possible. While living in perpetual fear isn’t necessary, being prepared and cognizant of the dangers that exist is a necessity. The average person must learn how to protect themselves wherever they are, whether that is at home, in the car, or walking in a public place.
Home is one of the places that most people give some consideration to when it comes to their personal safety. One way to keep safe is to invest in protection in the form of a burglar alarm, but that isn’t an option for everyone. In fact, even with an alarm, it is important for people to follow safety precautions and not become overly confident that they are protected. In general, people can increase their personal safety at home by locking every door and window so that no one can slip in undetected. This is important no matter how quiet the neighborhood is or how little crime it experiences. Anyone can travel to a neighborhood and test for unlocked points of entry. When there is a knock at the front door, people should be alert and wary of who is on the other side. If the home has a peephole, use it, and if it doesn’t have one, have one installed when first moving into the home. If installing a peephole, select one that has a wide angle for better viewing. Regardless of whether there is a peephole, ask who is there before opening the door. Opening doors to strangers is not recommended by safety experts. If alone, act as if there is someone else home. If the person seems suspicious or aggressive, contact the police.
During the night, keep window treatments such as curtains, drapes, or blinds pulled closed while there is light on inside. This will obstruct the view of anyone who is looking inside either at belongings or at the person who lives there. Outside, don’t let bushes grow so high that they can conceal the presence of a burglar. Keep them trimmed below the window. Another suggestion is to plant shrubbery that is thorny or that will otherwise cause a burglar some discomfort.
- According to the latest crime statistics released by the FBI, there were more than 11,000,000 arrests for crimes committed in 2013, which included crimes such as theft, property crimes, and violent crimes.
- Sixty-seven percent of all property crimes in 2013 were larcenies.
- Daytime is the most common time for home burglaries.
- Burglar alarm and “beware of dog” signs can serve as a deterrent to thieves.
Keeping vehicle doors locked is just as important as keeping the doors of one’s home locked. Locking doors should become second nature whether one is leaving the car or entering it for a drive. When driving, a locked door can protect the driver from criminals who might attempt a carjacking to take the car when it is stopped at a light, at a street sign, or in traffic. When the car is not in use, a locked door can serve as the first deterrent to car thieves. Stay alert to the actions of others, particularly when the vehicle is stopped and when walking to the car. If a driver is approached while in the car, speaking through the glass is advisable as opposed to opening the window or stepping out of the car. If someone suspicious is standing near one’s car, the driver should not attempt to enter the vehicle but rather walk away and return when the stranger has left. Additionally, drivers should always look into the back seat of their car before entering to confirm that no one has gotten inside.
Leaving things of value in plain sight makes one’s vehicle attractive to thieves. Drivers can protect their car and their belongings by storing purchases or any other items in the trunk where they are not readily seen. This should be done before arriving at one’s final destination, however, so that any potential thief does not witness it. Parking beneath lighting and arming one’s car with a security alarm offers further protection.
- Garage openers and house keys that are left in parked cars can be stolen and used to break into the driver’s home.
- Every 44 seconds, a vehicle in the U.S. is stolen.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error is the cause of as many as half of vehicle thefts.
- July and August are the two months that have the most car thefts.
When out on the street or in a shopping mall, a park, or any other location, the average person can best protect themselves by being alert to who and what is around them. It is also important that people project an air of confidence when out and about. A person who seems passive, shy, or afraid is a more attractive victim than one who is confident and unafraid to look others in the eye. While walking, avoid going to places that are isolated or dark. Staying alert means being able to hear what is going on as well. Avoid distractions such as getting into involved conversations on a cell phone or playing loud music while jogging. If someone seems suspicious, go someplace where there are other people present, such as a restaurant or store, and contact security or call a friend. In general, if a person instinctively feels as if something is a threat or dangerous, they should trust that feeling.
- Sixty-two percent of the violent crimes that were reported in 2013 were aggravated assault.
- Yell “Fire!” if attacked, as more people respond to this word than to cries for help.
- During an armed robbery, do not risk injury by resisting.
- Crime-Prevention Basics (PDF)
- Home Safety
- Personal Safety and Security (PDF)
- Car Prowl Prevention (PDF)
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings (PDF)
- Staying Safe: Personal Safety
- Safety Information: How to be Streetwise and Safe
- Be Safe: Do-It-Yourself Home Safety (PDF)
- Safety and Crime Prevention: Personal Safety
- Crime-Prevention Tips and FAQ
- Shopping Safety Tips (PDF)
- Jogger and Personal Safety Information (PDF)
- Personal Protection Tips
- Crime Prevention: Home Security
- Everyday Crime Prevention Tips
- Crime-Prevention Tips (PDF)
- Crime-Prevention and Home Security Tips (PDF)
- Crime-Prevention Safety Tips for Joggers (PDF)
- Preventing Thefts From Vehicles (PDF)
- Outdoor Safety
- Crime-Prevention Tips: Protecting Yourself
- Crime-Prevention Tips: Burglary (Video)
- Safety Tips When Walking
- Personal Safety – Three Basic Rules and Tips
- ATM Safety
- Crime Prevention and Safety Tips
- Home, Vehicle, and Public Place Crime Prevention
- Crime Prevention – Vehicle Security
- Home Security Checklist (PDF)
- Protect Yourself From Violent Crime
- Crime Statistics for 2013
- Vehicle Theft Prevention: What Consumers Should Know