Crime Prevention

These days, information is abundant. So much so, who could keep up with it all? The changes in technology alone keep us very busy and so distracted that we can often leave ourselves wide open as a target to criminals. Everything of value is subject to crime from human life to financial, intellectual, and property assets. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to add safety features like alarms and cameras or to train people on safe behaviors for prevention.

According to the FBI, crime has been declining. A preliminary report from on crime in the United States from January through June 2014 indicates law enforcement agencies throughout the nation are showing an overall decrease of 4.6 percent in the number of violent crimes that have been brought to their attention. The number of property crimes decreased 7.5 percent. So, where does that leave us? First of all, remember this is a preliminary report that is voluntarily offered by law enforcement agencies. This is not the final number or summary of information. And we are still left with the very real crimes that are being committed. In 2013, according to the FBI, there were an estimated 8,632,512 property crime offenses as well as an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes nationwide.

What Resources are Available?

It is essential to be aware of potential targets and there are many websites that can help you understand more about the hazards. The FBI's website that is listed above has statistical and preventative information. The National Crime Prevention Council website at offers resources such as free webinars and podcasts to help you learn about exposures including bullying, identity theft, and gang-related crime, among others. There are other resources that can give tips to help you become aware, take action when needed, and preventive measures. People who are practicing in the field of prevention or protection can also be a valuable source. Areas of Concern and Special Attention

What to Do Next?

  • When considering your protection, you should be sure to make it difficult for anyone to damage or steal the item. For example, have doors that are sturdy, place alarm systems in areas of vulnerability such as businesses or homes, and fences and locks can be used as barriers.
  • Avoid tempting a criminal by protecting items of interest or potntial victims. For example, don't leave your wallet on the seat of your car or the keys in the ignition of a vehicle. Don't leave a young child unattended anywhere including the playground or even your front yard.
  • Items of great value to you or others (such as jewelry or cash) should be locked away. A drop safe is a secure way of holding cash until it can be deposited.
  • Deter would-be thieves by making it difficult for them to go unnoticed.
    • Cut trees and shrubs back.
    • Clear the clutter away from buildings. This leaves less area for the thief to hide.
    • Fences are a deterrent and make the thief work harder to get to the property which makes the thief more visible.
    • Brightening an area with adequate equipment brings "light" to the things or people moving around the property. This also exposes the person for a better view on any camera footage being recorded.
    • Other deterrents include security staff, alarm systems, neighborhood watches, caretakers, and cameras.
  • Education is a wonderful tool for prevention. Education provides information to would-be criminals who may take the information and make better decisions for themselves. For example, programs in schools help children learn skills, develop the child's interest, and build self-confidence. Drug and alcohol awareness programs help people understand the negative impact that the substances can have. Youth groups help direct young people's energy toward things that interest them and encourages them to develop and work toward healthy goals.

All measures to prevent crime and to keep individuals safe should be practiced. If you are at home or just enjoying your day at the mall, swimming, exercising, visiting family members, or  taking a nice relaxing walk, consider scenarios that could be crime related. Develop an action plan.

Measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a crime taking place, but for those crimes that do take place, insurance is an option to reduce the impact of the loss. According to The Institutes, insurance is a risk management technique that transfers the potential financial consequences of certain specified loss exposures from the insured to the insurer. It provides the funds to cover the consequences of hazard risk. Hazard risk is defined as risk from accidental loss, including the possibility of loss or no loss.

What Does All This Mean?

According to the FBI, property crimes resulted in 16.6 billion dollars lost in 2013. A violent crime occurs every 27.1 seconds including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. A property crime occurs every 3.7 seconds including burglary, larcenytheft, and motor vehicle theft. Don't let your "awareness sensor" get lazy. Observe your surroundings. Educate yourself on your surroundings and crime prevention. With appropriate preventive measures, you are on your way to a safer life.