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Crime Prevention

No one expects to be assaulted. But in reality crimes exist every day. Protect yourself before you become a statistic. The statistics are alarming!

There were 94,635 reported rapes in 2004. The highest percentage of rape is in the Northeast. July is when the greatest number of rapes occur.

There were 401,326 robberies in 2004. The highest percentage of robberies (38%) were in the South. 42% of the robberies occurred on the streets, 14% occurred in homes.

There were 854,911 incidents of aggravated assault in 2004. Firearms were used for 19.3% of the assaults, knives or cutting instruments 18.6%, other weapons (clubs, blunt objects, etc.) 35.6% and personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) accounted for 26.6% of the assaults.

There are around 38,000 car jackings each year. 74% of the victims faced a weapon. About 63% of carjacking incidents occurred within 5 miles of the victim's home, including 17% that occurred at or near the home; sometimes in their own driveway. Only 4% occurred more than 50 miles from the victim's home.

Safety at Your Front Door

  1. Never automatically open your front door. Make sure you know your caller's identity before admitting him.

  2. If the person at your door is a stranger, ask for identification to be passed under the door. If he is unable to do this, do not admit him.

  3. It is advisable to have a wide angle viewer (peep-hole) in the door so that you can check a person's identity without unlocking your door.

Home Safety

  1. All doors in your home leading to the outside should have dead-bolt locks.

  2. When away at night, leave a light burning.

  3. Do not leave a key over a door or under a mat.

  4. The single lock on a garage door is inadequate to keep intruders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in. Use a padlock. But never leave it unlocked. This is an invitation to have the padlock removed so that a key can be made, and the lock returned to its position. Later, the burglar returns when no one is home and enters at his leisure, using "his" key.

  5. Mark your valuables and keep an accurate record of all your most valuable possessions.

  6. When leaving on a trip:

    • Stop all deliveries.

    • Connect a light to a timer.

    • Notify the police and have a neighbor check your home periodically.

    • Have someone maintain your lawn.

  7. Be a concerned neighbor. If you see a suspicious person, car or situation, contact the police.

Safety for the Apartment Dweller

  1. If you live in an apartment building with an intercom system to the front door, make sure the landlord keeps it in operating order.

  2. Never admit anyone unless you are expecting him or know him.

  3. Never admit anyone to the building who is there to see another tenant or to deliver something to another apartment.

  4. Anyone asking admission so that he can do some work for another tenant should not be admitted, but should be referred to the building's manager.

  5. If you see someone in your building who looks out of place or is acting suspiciously, contact the police.

Protect Yourself On City Streets

Street crime is on the increase in most large U.S. cities. It is also becoming more prevalent in small communities. The following list of "safeguards" will help protect you and may even save your life!

  1. When leaving home, make sure that all doors and windows are locked including the garage door.

  2. Watch for loiterers and do not carry large sums of money.

  3. If possible, travel with another person. This is especially true after dark.

  4. When carrying a purse, women should have only 3 or 4 one dollar bills placed inside. Credit cards, currency, driver's license, keys and jewelry should be carried in a coat or sweater pocket or concealed on your person to reduce the opportunity of large losses. If you do carry a purse, don't wrap the strap around your shoulder, neck or wrist. If your purse is grabbed, a strong strap will not yield easily and you may be injured. Some purse snatch victims have been thrown off balance & received concussions, broken hips, arms or legs. Don't carry anything more valuable than you can afford to lose. Always leave all unnecessary credit cards at home. When you shop and carry a purse, put it in your shopping bag.

  5. At night, travel only well-lighted and welltraveled streets.

  6. Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.

  7. Walk on the side of the street nearest to oncoming traffic. If accosted by someone in a car, run in the direction opposite the way the car is headed.

  8. Beware of people who approach asking directions; keep a polite but safe distance.

  9. A good suggestions for men is to carry a second wallet containing a few $1.00 bills and old expired credit cards, which are normally destroyed or discarded. If confronted at knife or gunpoint, give the suspect the second wallet and concentrate on a good physical description to help the police in making the arrest.

  10. Upon returning home, particularly after dark, do not linger at the entrance of your residence. Make a quick check for mail or newspapers, and enter immediately. If you feel something is strange, don't enter but go elsewhere and call for police assistance.

  11. If you feel someone is following you, go to the nearest occupied residence or building, and ask for assistance. If you are confronted with a dangerous situation, cry out for assistance. Yelling "FIRE! FIRE!" instead of "Help!" will generally bring faster attention.

Safeguard Against Rape

If you are a female, chances are 1 in 10 that you will be a victim of sexual assault. The attacker makes no distinction between age, race, appearance or any other characteristics.

Common sense is your best defense against attack. Because every rape is different, there's no one solution for thwarting an attack.

If you are attacked, evaluate the situation and look for ways to escape. Some women have avoided rape by talking their way out of it, acting crazy or fighting back. A kick in the groin isn't usually successful because men instinctively protect this area, and you may lose your balance. If you decide to respond physically, remember that your first priority is to get away. Act quickly and decisively to throw the attacker off guard while you escape.

After an attack:

A. Go to a safe place

B. Call the police.

C. Preserve evidence don't shower or douche; blood and semen are important evidence. And don't change your clothes or disturb the scene of the crime.

D. Get medical care.

Medical attention is vital! Many hospitals provide free care for rape victims and offer pregnancy prevention and venereal disease treatment. Remember, even if you do get treatment immediately, follow-up tests for V.D. are essential.

Never be embarrassed because of the incident. Though difficult to talk about, it is important to tell doctors what sex acts took place so they will know what medical attention is needed.

Try to remember in detail your exact experience, for police records. Give as accurate and complete description of your assailant as possible. This is extremely important! Your complete co-operation with local authorities may help in preventing similar attacks on other girls and women.

Protect Your Home While Away

Be sure to lock before you leave, and let a neighbor have a key. When leaving your home, practice the following advice it could pay big, big dividends.

Going to the Market or Out to Dinner? A residence which presents a "lived-in" appearance is a deterrent to burglars. Never leave notes that can inform a burglar that your house is unoccupied. Make certain all windows and doors are secured before departing. An empty garage advertises your absence, so close the doors.

When going out at night, leave one or more interior lights on and perhaps have a radio playing (TV sets should not be left unattended). Timers may be purchased that will turn lights on and off during your absence.

Do not leave door keys under flower pots or doormats, inside an unlocked mailbox, over the doorway, or in other obvious places.

When Planning Vacations or Prolonged Absences

Discontinue milk, newspaper, and other deliveries by phone or in person ahead of time. Do not leave notes.

Arrange for lawn care and have someone remove advertising circulars and other debris regularly. On the other hand, several toys scattered about will create an impression of occupancy.

Notify the post office to forward your mail or have a trustworthy person pick it up daily. Apartment house tenants should also heed this hint since stuffed mail receptacles are a give-away when no one is home.

Inform neighbors of your absence so they can be extra alert for suspicious persons. Leave a key with them so your place may be periodically inspected. Ask them to vary the positions of your shades and blinds.

When you leave, do not publicize your plans. Some burglars specialize in reading newspaper accounts of other people's vacation activities.

If you find a door or window has been forced or broken while you were away, DO NOT ENTER. The criminal may still be inside. Use a neighbor's phone immediately to summon police.

Do not touch anything or clean up if a crime has occurred. Preserve the scene until police inspect for evidence.

Always remember to:

1. Lock before you leave

2. Trust a neighbor with a key

3. Be a concerned neighbor yourself