Security Measures: How to Protect Yourself
==> The Length of the Average Criminal's Career
How long is the average criminal able to keep up their lifestyle before they are caught by police or killed? Though it's difficult to get criminals to 'fess up to the truth once they've been arrested, there are a few statistics that shed light on just how dangerous this “career” may be.
It appears that the lifespan of a criminal depends in large part on the type of crime they typically commit. Petty thieves, for example, may be able to continue their crimes for much longer than a rapist or murderer. In part this is due to increased police power to hunt for the worst criminals, and in part it's because those who use violence to commit crimes are more likely to be felled by violence themselves.
How many homes can a single criminal burglarize before being caught? According to recent data about home invasions – the type of burglary that most homeowners fear most – the average criminal is able to break into a handful of homes, perhaps five or six, before being caught. Though if you're a victim of such a crime you certainly hope the thief is caught immediately, the evidence shows that it may take a while. Still, the vast majority of such criminals are caught eventually, no matter how careful they are to only target homes with minimal security defenses.
Those who use violence – especially if it involves a gun or a knife – are more likely to be killed in the process of committing a crime. A victim might use the attacker's weapon against them, or be holding a weapon of their own. According to one statistic, the average life span for a violent criminal is just three years from the beginning of their career until their death. Some say that the longest living violent criminals last just five to seven years after beginning this lifestyle. Whether they're caught by police or felled by violence while committing a crime, these criminals will be off the streets very quickly.
With this knowledge, why would anyone get into this lifestyle? Though this point seems obvious, the preponderance of this lifestyle, as evidenced by rising crime rates across the nation, shows that it remains alluring despite the immense danger. The 'bad guys' might be glamorized by Hollywood, but in fact this is a risky lifestyle.
Much of the research into the lifespan of criminals has focused on gang members. These criminals typically start off with petty crimes, such as shoplifting, but quickly progress into more significant or violent crimes, increasing the danger. This is a violent and dangerous business, where guns are an everyday reality. Teens and, increasingly even younger children, become part of the gang lifestyle earlier, dramatically increasing the possibility that they will be killed by violence at a young age. The average gang member lives to be just 20 years and 5 months old. With the average US life expectancy at 78 years, gang members can expect to live just over a quarter of this.
==> Don't Become an Unsuspecting Victim
Perhaps you've heard about criminals who dress up as repair workers or delivery drivers as a ruse to get unsuspecting homeowners to open their door. Today's criminals are getting even more tricky, and have come up with a wide range of scenarios to entice you to let them inside. Here are 3 of the newest and most unusual tricks criminals are using for their robberies:
1) Egg in your face.
You're driving along a quiet and peaceful road when suddenly an egg hits your front windshield. After a moment of sitting there stunned, you flip on your windshield wipers, which just serve to spread the sticky mess across the glass. Especially if it's night, you'll be unable to see the road ahead of the car. You'll probably pull over to the side of the road to take a look and try to clean it off so that you can continue on your way.
That's what the criminal is waiting for. No sooner do you get out of a car than a criminal or a group surrounds you with a physical attack, stealing your belongings, or both. This new trick is an update on another method criminals have been using for years, that is, to use their car to cause a fender bender, forcing their target to pull to the side of the road.
2) Avoid shortcuts.
This is a surprising new mode of attack that has been happening worldwide over the past few years. The criminal group may put up detour signs, or bribe cab drivers to divert unwitting victims to a pre-determined location. The victims are diverted to a deserted area, where, like the scenario above, they are attacked. In one recent attack in Chennai, India, the criminals even forced one of the victims to the nearest ATM to withdraw money from the victims' accounts; it is only after this that they were freed.
The moral of this story is that you're always safest in areas that you know well, that are well-lit with lots of people around. Don't trust strangers to direct you to the right place; you never know what ulterior motives they may have.
3) Saving a child may risk your own life.
This ploy has taken several forms. In one, the criminals plant a baby's carseat near the side of the road with a doll in it, hoping that those driving by will notice it and stop to help, at which point they are attacked. In another version, a tape of a baby crying is played outside the front door of the victim's hoe. When they open the door to investigate the sound, the criminal forces their way inside the home. Both of these tactics have fooled many people, especially women, by tugging at their heartstrings. To avoid this attack, always remain cautious, especially if someone is trying to gain your sympathy.
What can you do to avoid such tricks? First, realize that criminal tactics are always evolving. Just because you haven't heard of a certain ploy doesn't mean that criminals won't try it on you. Always remain vigilant and suspicious of unusual situations, and carry pepper spray, a stun gun, or another self defense device to protect you in case you find yourself in the middle of one of these dangerous scenarios.
==> Layers of Security to Protect Your Home
Door alarms and security cameras are certainly valuable home security options, but they shouldn't be the only methods you use to defend your home. Instead, think of home security like an onion, with many layers working together.
Your first step is to keep criminals from viewing your home as a target, and this starts from the street. Does your home look well kept up, with plenty of exterior lighting? Or does it provide plenty of places for criminals to hide, like tall fences and overgrown shrubs, along with windows and doors that look weak, as if they haven't been replaced in decades? A well-kept home with few places for criminals to hide provides the best outer layer of security protection.
The second layer of defense comes as you approach the home. Are their surveillance cameras – or dummy cameras – tucked into the eaves of the home? What about visible deterrents like alarm company signs posted in the windows? Even if a criminal thinks your home might make a good target from the street, having such devices around your home – not just at the front door, but also in all the first-floor windows and side entrances – will do quite a bit to dissuade them.
What if a criminal is brazen enough to try to break in? This is where door and window alarms are essential. Such devices serve to prevent a burglar from coming any further into your home. In fact, as soon as they hear the blaring noise of an alarm, they are likely to turn and run, not wanting to be caught in the act of breaking and entering. Don't forget about locking your doors, too. Far too many still neglect to lock their doors, even though doing so is one of the most basic security measures you can take to protect your property, by creating the first physical barrier for a thief. If you leave the door unlocked, they don't even have to break in to breach your security defenses.
Inside your home, the final layer of security devices is intended to keep a burglar from stealing your most valuable possessions, as well as protecting your family from further harm. Add additional layers of security, such as surveillance cameras or motion detectors, around valuable possessions that can't be hidden, such as expensive electronics. Smaller items such as jewelry, cash, and passports can be hidden in diversion safes. Even if the thief makes it into your home, a safe disguised as an ordinary household object will keep your most valuable possessions safe.
Like peeling an onion, the more layers your home security includes, the longer it'll take the burglar to break through them. All security measures are more effective when used in conjunction with other types of barriers. The type and number of security devices you use will depend on the specific security needs of your home and family. With an array of these devices, would-be thieves become frustrated, improving your odds of not becoming a victim.
==> Protecting Yourself Against Multiple Attackers
All of us hope that we will never be in a situation in which we will have to use self defense to preserve our personal safety, the personal safety of others, or our material possessions. But in today’s ever changing world it seems more and more likely that we may be put into a situation in which we will have to defend ourselves.
What will you do if that happens to you? Although TV shows and movies seem to show action movie heroes executing fantastic moves that will disable entire armies, that may be a remote reality even for highly trained martial artists. Plus, in an emergency situation your adrenaline levels will spike and it may be difficult to perform some of the more nuanced movements that are taught in many self-defense classes.
There are a few basic strategies, including physical moves as well as the use of self defense devices, that you can utilize to defend yourself against multiple attackers. Keep in mind that your primary goal should be your safety. Utilize these basic skills to escape from attackers and get to a secure location.
1) Use Your Opponents' Numbers To Your Advantage
You may be outnumbered, but chances are that your attackers are not trained in working together to fight a single opponent. Use physics to your advantage. You can push one attacker into the others, for example, to buy yourself a few extra seconds of time.
2) Divide and Conquer
Use the age-old strategy of divide and conquer. If possible use natural terrain or impediments to separate your attackers, preventing them from working together against you. Fences, walls and doorways are great urban obstacles that you can use to separate your attackers. If you can’t separate them physically by using a barricade of some sort, you may be able to utilize one attacker against the others by knocking them off balance.
3) Know Your Pressure Points
If you do have to physically strike out at your attackers, try to aim for the sensitive areas of the face, throat and neck. You can also aim a kick or punch at the ankles or knees of your attackers. Demobilizing one or more of your attackers may give you the advantage that you need to escape from harms way. Self defense classes or DVDs may be able to provide you with additional physical strategies. However, in general being up against several attackers, especially when they may be armed, is not a situation you're likely to escape unharmed unless you have self defense training or are carrying a self defense device.
4) Use Pepper Spray
When it comes to confronting multiple attackers, this is perhaps the most valuable self defense product out there. The wide spray pattern of many pepper spray canisters will allow you to incapacitate several individuals at once. Other devices, such as a stun gun, must be used on each attacker individually, though they are quite effective as well. The key to escaping any attack unharmed – whether you're against one person or several – is to be as prepared as possible beforehand.
==> Security Myths and Misconceptions
No matter where you live, your home is a potential target for enterprising thieves. You don’t have to live in a bad neighborhood to be the victim of burglary, but far too many families do nothing to prepare themselves, and their property, to confront this threat. In fact, many common home security myths and misconceptions may be standing between your family and safety.
1. A False Sense of Security.
As mentioned above, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you live or how many people are usually around your home. Potential burglars will find a way around neighbors or high-traffic roads. Any home is a potential target, even those in quiet suburban neighborhoods. If you've ever watched the news, you've probably heard victims of crime exclaiming that they though it would never happen to them, or in their neighborhood, or even to anyone they knew.
2. Security Systems
There are a few myths that go along with security systems. Some people don’t want to purchase a security system because they assume that the cost is too high, or that the system won’t actually prevent thieves from breaking into their home. Actually, security alarms and related devices are a cost-effective and essential strategy to keeping burglars at bay. However, while security systems can deter criminals, those alarms are not necessarily a complete preventative. After all, banks certainly have powerful security systems, yet occasionally, even they get robbed. Security systems are a great first step, but these alarms shouldn't be your only step towards home security.
3. Relying on Guard Dogs
Animals can also be a great deterrent, but even well trained animals can be bribed with food and treats. Whatever animal you have, be it a burly Doberman or a Rottweiler, you can’t rely on your animal from preventing thieves from victimizing you. Be sure to install several electronic devices - whether a surveillance camera or a door alarm, or even an electronic 'dog bark alarm' – to protect you even when your guard dog is asleep or eating.
4. A Safe is Safe
Safes are a great tool to use as well, but there is no guarantee that a burglar won’t be able to crack a safe. Some safes are small enough that a burglar might just decide to take the whole unit with them. While safes can be a great investment, consult with professionals and make sure the safe is in a concealed location. Or, opt for a diversion safe – shaped like an ordinary household object – to reduce the possibility that a burglar will focus his attention on your safe.
5. The Good Neighbor
Even if you have vigilant or nosy neighbors, there is no guarantee that they will see or report any suspicious behavior. Professional thieves are savvy enough to keep an eye on your activities as well as the activities of your neighbors. Though forming a 'neighborhood watch' group can be an effective way of banding together to stop criminal activities or mischief in your community, it's also important to take responsibility for your own safety and security, rather than relying on others to see and stop the problem.
So what’s the moral of this story? If you want to keep your home safe you should be aware that you’ll need to take advantage of several different security precautions. As the adage goes: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Keep your belongings out of sight when not in use and make sure your valuables are insured. Install several different security devices to reduce the possibility of being targeted by a thief.
==> Tell Tale Signs That You May Have a Stalker
In today’s world, the danger that a stalker presents is serious business. Although there are various steps that you can take to help limit the possibility that you may acquire a stalker, it is sometimes inevitable. There are a number of tell-tale signs that you may have a stalker. If you think someone may be stalking or following you, can consult the authorities and take action to limit the amount of danger presented by your stalker.
1) Understand the potential for stalking. Stalking is a type of intimidation and harassment that usually stems from a stalker not understanding the nature of a relationship. For example, if you've recently turned someone down for a date and they don't seem to fully grasp the situation, you may be in danger. Stalking does not just include following you; often, these actions progress into much more, which is why it is so important to put an end to such behaviors quickly.
2) A potential stalker may appear at locations unannounced. These locations may include your place of work, your home, and places you stop by routinely. The appearance of such an individual may be benign. At first, you may think they're simply running into you because they frequent the same locations. In this case, simply telling them that you do not want their presence provides a simple solution. However, if an individual still shows up unannounced it is likely that they are a stalker.
3) Unwanted gifts may show up unexpectedly. The gifts may be intimate in nature, since, for the most part, stalkers seem to feel that they have a stronger connection to their victims then is actually true. Lingerie, flowers, jewelry, photographs, and letters, among other things, may appear at your home or business.
4) Harassing phone calls, emails or text messages may also be an indication of a potential stalker. These messages may vary in nature, but a common thread is that these messages will be frequent and intimate. Occasionally stalkers will proclaim their love for an individual, but they may also proclaim their dislike for someone.
5) Your stalker may also know various things about you that they would not necessarily know from a casual or everyday conversation. If a potential stalker seems to know personal information about you, it may be a result of their delusion that they are closer to you then they actually are. Some stalkers will go to great lengths to learn all they can about their target.
6) A stalker may also threaten your friends and family. Since some stalkers may be suffering from delusions of intimacy and a general disconnect with reality, they may be mentally unstable. Even as your stalker professes his or her love for you, they may also be threatening those closest to you.
Even stalkers who start out friendly and seem harmless may turn violent and angry for no apparent reason. If you do suspect that you are being stalked, change your routine, alert friends and families so that they can help to provide a buffer zone, and consult with the authorities.
==> How to Get Prepared For an Emergency Evacuation
If you live in an area that is known for hurricanes, typhoons, flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, or any other natural disaster – and that covers just about anywhere on the globe – you should be aware of the need for emergency evacuation plans. This is especially important in regions battered by yearly storm seasons. Preparing for an emergency evacuation can be essential to the survival of your family.
1) Know the Evacuation Routes.
Any area that is evacuated for emergency reasons on a regular or semi-regular basis will have a designated evacuation route. Many of these routes are marked with signs that will help direct traffic in the case of an evacuation. If you aren’t sure if there are evacuation routes in your area, contact your local police station or city hall for additional information. Take the time to drive the evacuation route once or twice, so that you know the roads to take, even if you are very familiar with your local area. Familiarity with the evacuation routes will help ease any confusion or frustration that may happen in an emergency situation.
2) Know The Season
Many areas have a season during which emergency evacuation may be necessary. Though the 'storm season' may be common knowledge to locals, it often comes as a surprise to newcomers. Know when this season is, and use it as a deadline to make sure that you are prepared for evacuation. Once you know what the storm season is, you can monitor news sources to keep yourself apprised of any pending evacuations.
3) Construct a Plan
Have a general plan that explains how each family member will get to safety in the event of an emergency. Consider the variables, since some family members may be at work, school or home in the event of an evacuation, and you should have a rough plan of what each person should do in the most common locations they might be when the evacuation begins.
4) Pack Essential Supplies
The last thing that you’re going to want to do in an emergency evacuation is try and round up all the essentials that you might need for the duration of the evacuation. Start by making a simple list of the things that you would need in most situations, including food, clothing, toiletries, and medications. Pack a small bag for each member of your family and keep the bags in an easily accessible location that everyone in the household knows. Remember, you want to be able to get to these supplies quickly in order to carry them out of the home or load them into your car. If you have pets, make sure that you have supplies for them as well.
5) Designate a Rally Point.
In any emergency, it may be difficult to contact all of the members of your family. Cell phone lines get jammed, internet connections fail and public phones may not be accessible. Make a plan for where your family will gather once everyone is evacuated, just in case family members take different routes to safety. You can also make arrangements to contact a friend or family member outside of the evacuation area. Arrange to have all family members get in touch with your emergency contact as soon as possible during an emergency situation.
==> How Do Thieves Gauge Whether Your House Makes a Good Target
The old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” may be true, but it isn’t necessarily something that applies to every situation. Just as we often judge individuals by the way that they look, thieves also judge homes based on the way that they look from the street. Many thieves go about “casing” homes in order to figure out: 1) if a home is worth breaking into, 2) how easy it would be to break into, 3) whether or not they can get away without being seen.
If you watch the nature channel, you’ve undoubtedly seen lions and tigers stalking through the jungle, eyeing their prey. Thieves aren’t much different. They stalk through neighborhoods and communities in search of prey. So what exactly are they looking for? Ideally, they’re looking for a property that tells them that there are things of value inside. In addition to that, they are also looking for a property that looks easy to break into. Thieves know that homes that look like they contain valuable possessions often mean that the owners have taken security precautions, which can present more of a challenge.
So, how do thieves gauge whether your house makes a good target, just from driving past it? One of the first things they look for is how well the home has been cared for. They use the “broken window theory”: if there is a broken window on a home or building, then the building must not be cared for. Likewise, if a home is in even a moderate state of disrepair, it announces to thieves that there is probably very little security in place. For that matter, the front door may not even be locked. Hence, it’s probably worth breaking into the home just in case there’s something of value inside, even if the thief doesn't think the homeowners are wealthy people.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, too much security may attract the wrong kind of attention as well. While it's certainly important to protect your home – even if you think you don't own anything worth stealing – is there such a thing as too much security? A multitude of high-tech cameras, plus burglar bars and a barking dog, combine to form an interesting picture of the home. Together, they work as a sort of announcement that there is something of value inside. Though all of these security measures are enough to deter an opportunistic thief, they may make your home more attractive to a professional thief looking for a big payout.
So what’s the best solution? Keep your home in repair, promptly replacing anything that breaks or becomes worn out. Tend to your yard and pay attention to how your home looks to the neighbors. A well lit home also prevents theft, because it increases the chances that the thief will be seen breaking in. Install appropriate security devices around the home, but don't make it seem as though you are trying to build a maximum-security prison.
==> 5 Tips About Identity Theft
When a thief breaks into your home, they're probably after your jewelry, cash, guns, and electronics, right? While these categories of items are certainly targeted by most burglars, there is another category of items you may not even have thought of: personal documents. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in burglars stealing personal documents, which are then sold on the black market to identity thieves. They may also obtain this information by going through your trash, hacking into your computer, or stealing it from a bank or other institution. These thieves locate your information via any number of resources.
With the rise of the internet has come a growing number of identity theft cases. By some estimates, up to ten million American fall victim to ID theft each year. So what exactly does identity theft mean? Simply speaking, identity theft occurs when someone, without your knowledge, gains access to your personal information and uses it to commit fraud. For example, they might use your name, birthdate, and Social Security number to sign up for credit cards, obtain medical care, or even buy a house.
What Do Identity Thieves Steal?
The name “identity theft” is a little misleading, since these thieves aren’t pretending to be their victims 24/7. For the most part, these thieves use a name, date of birth, social security number, address, or credit card numbers to make purchases in your name. The thief gets a bunch of free stuff and your credit rating suffers immensely. Victims of this type of crime often don’t know that they’re victims until it’s too late. In fact, there have been thousands of cases in which victims of identity theft didn't know they had been targeted until being turned down when applying for a loan of their own.
How does the theft work?
There are many different kinds of identity theft. As mentioned above, the thief may get your personal information from almost anywhere. A surprising amount of personal data is contained in job applications, discarded bills, and other paperwork you may leave around the house without a second thought. Once the thief has your data, your existing credit card or bank accounts may be taken over, or new accounts and loans opened in your name?
How can you protect yourself?
While you can't prevent a thief from stealing information from a bank or other organization – once you send these companies your personal information, there's virtually no way for you to know who has access to it – there are a few things you can do to reduce the possibility of becoming an identity theft victim.
1. Do not give out your social security number unless you trust the company requesting it.
2. Shred (rather than just throwing away) any document with sensitive information on it.
3. Keep your credit card in a safe place in your wallet. Do not write the PIN number on the card or keep the PIN number with the card, and do not tell anyone the number.
4. Use cash if you don't feel comfortable handing over your credit card
Scrutinize bank account statements for anything amiss
5. Check your credit score at least once per year.
==> Security Measures to Keep Documents Safe
No matter the size your business, you no doubt have a variety of sensitive documents that you want to keep safe. Whether your documents are employees records, financial statements, or proprietary information, there is a variety of ways that you can keep your documents safe. Whether these documents are kept inside a big office building, or in your home office, you must take steps to safeguard them. A theft could mean identity theft, financial losses for your company, and even legal action brought by those whose personal information you have.
First, reconsider how you get rid of documents once you're done with them. If you throw them in a trash, any enterprising identity thief could get ahold of the information. In fact, most of these thieves know that garbage cans are a great source of personal information. Instead, dispose of those documents using a paper or document shredder. If you have many documents to shred on a regular basis, you may want to hire one of many shredding services that will dispose of your documents in a safe way.
For documents that you want to keep on hand, consider digitizing the files. Although we often think of ourselves as a “paperless” society, we all know that there are a variety of documents that businesses generate, and those documents often contains sensitive information. Employee documents and HR files, for example, may include Social Security Numbers. Medical documents may include information about patient care, medications and treatments. These documents can be scanned (or, “digitized”) and encrypted to make the safe and accessible.
Once your documents are safely digitized and encrypted, you have the ability create backup files, in case of fire, theft or other damage. Although theft is certainly one of the things you're eager to protect your company against, you may also want to take into account the damage that may result from fire, pests, flooding or other natural disasters. By digitizing your information and keeping it off-site, you can increase the safety and security of your documents.
If it is necessary to keep your documents in a hard-copy form, or if you would like to maintain these original records, invest in a locking fireproof cabinet or safe. Naturally, the cabinet or safe you purchase will depend on the number of documents you need to store as well as how imperative the safety of those documents is to your business.
Go the extra step of increasing security and surveillance around the area where such documents are kept. For example, install door and window alarms on any access points leading to the records. Position a surveillance camera pointing towards the records. If there is ever a question of who has accessed the files, your camera records will be invaluable. Even a dummy camera can be quite effective at preventing theft.
Even if you think the files are safe in your home office, take these steps to prevent them. In fact, thieves are often aware of who has a home office, and where it is in the home. This room quite often contains expensive electronics as well as sensitive files, making it an attractive target for burglars.
Keeping a close eye on your documents is the first step towards protecting them from theft. Limiting the number of employees with access to specific files is one way to increase the level of security. Consider the importance of the document and how much you’d be willing to invest to protect them. Your overall decision should take into account whether or not other parties would be interested in the documents and what, if anything, they might be willing to do to access those documents.
==> Who to Avoid When Travelling
We’ve all heard the stories. A great vacation takes a sharp turn for the worse with a confrontation that ends in robbery or violence. Although you should be aware of any particular location-related dangers while traveling, you should also be aware of your surroundings. Criminals are predators, and, as such, are often looking for the easiest target. If you look like an outsider – a tourist or vacationer, for example – you may become a target. There are a few simple things that you can do to maintain your awareness of your surroundings and decrease the likelihood that you may become the victim of a crime.
1) Look for People Who Don’t Belong. Even if you find yourself in an unfamiliar country with an unfamiliar culture, it may still be possible for you to spot the people who look out of place, as if they're watching the crowd, looking for foreigners who might make unsuspecting targets.
2) Trust your gut. Humans are equipped with intuition as a way to keep us safe from danger. If you feel uncomfortable there may be a reason. Don’t dismiss your feeling as nerves out of hand, even though it's certainly possible that you may be going through culture shock and other adjustments as you navigate through a foreign area.
3) Watch the attitudes and activities of the locals. While traveling, whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, keep an eye on the attitude of the locals. If the locals don’t seem to be bothered by a potentially suspicious person, than it’s probably reasonable to not worry as much. Those who live there know which people look out of place in their environment. Locals may steer clear of, or avoid making eye contact with, suspicious people.
4) Watch the actions of those around you. Security personnel look for tell-tale tipoffs, like pacing or constantly searching. If someone is acting like they are nervous, it's probably for a specific reason. Those who are loitering, especially around parking lots or other areas that do not invite lingering, may also be suspicious.
5) Notice clothing. Especially in stores and shopping malls, hooded sweatshirts, baggy clothing, and large backpacks tip-off security guards that someone may be trying to hide stolen goods. The same methods can be used to conceal drugs or weapons. Hoods and hats also serve the purpose of making the wearer harder to identify after the fact.
Though traveling in unfamiliar locales can make you a target, luckily there is something you can do about it. Do your best to follow the local customs so that you blend in, and keep your eye out for anything or anyone that looks suspicious. If you do spot someone who looks out of place, it’s best not to look as though you are frightened of them, as that will only make you look more like easy prey. Keep your shoulders set back and your hands out of your pockets. If you walk with your head down and hands in your pockets, you are demonstrating a submissive posture that is often interpreted as weak. Keep your distance. If an individual seems to be getting too close to you try to escape or try to contact someone nearby. Consider carrying a personal alarm or pepper spray, if it's allowed at your destination.
==> How to Go About Reporting a Crime
What should you do if you see a crime in progress? What if you're the victim of a crime? Although those in the United States are not legally obligated to report a crime, you should consider it your duty to do so. After all, wouldn't you want someone else to do the same for you?
If you are witness to a crime, either violent or otherwise, you can and should report the crime to authorities. There are a variety of ways that you can report crimes, including via phone or in person. If you witness a violent crime in action you should call the police immediately and report the nature and location of the crime so that they can respond quickly. In most cases, it's wiser to call the police immediately rather than trying to get in the middle of a violent confrontation.
To report a crime by phone, you should call either 911 or the non-emergency hotline in your area, depending on the situation. Most cities have non-emergency hotlines set up in order to field minor crimes such as vandalism, or reporting a crime after the fact. Contact the police via the non-emergency number will not interfere with 911 operators who may be fielding more pressing calls.
If the crime is violent in nature, or still in progress, you should contact the police by dialing 911 for the emergency line. Do not be afraid to call them – after all, the emergency dispatchers are there to help you. Even if you think you have the situation under control, call them. Be prepared to provide as many details as possible, including your name, a contact number, and your location, as specifically as you can. The police will show up as quickly as possible, which can vary depending on the nature and severity of the emergency.
What if you want to report a crime or suspicious situation that's not an emergency? For example, you've recently spotted graffiti on a fence, you think one of the neighbors might be involved in selling drugs, or there's a car parked on your street that hasn't moved in weeks. For these types of situations, you may want to contact the local police department in order to talk to an officer on duty and/or a detective. You’ll want to use your discretion when deciding what method to use in order to report to the authorities. It’s a good idea to have both the emergency and non-emergency numbers posted in your home and programmed into your cell phone, so that you don't have to look them up in a time of need.
If you decide that you would like to report a crime anonymously, there may be a crime hotline in your area. Companies like Crime Stoppers and other independent groups may offer their services so that your report can remain reasonably anonymous, if this is a concern to you.
Regardless of how you contact the authorities, you should expect the process to include:
1) Stating the nature of the crime.
2) Providing the location of the crime.
3) Providing a description of suspects
4) Explaining where you were located when you witnessed the crime.
If police decide to investigate the crime further, or need a witness to verify the nature of the crime, you may be asked to provide an official statement or testify in court. Again, the nature of the crime will influence the amount of interaction you will need to have with the police following the report.
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