Most of us do not want to be a target for crime. We avoid or try to prevent it like the plague. However, some of us like being in the midst of bad company. For those of you who are daring and feel “dangerous”, there are quite a few simple things you can do to help the everyday street criminal make you a target, whether for violent or property crime. Of course, we have solutions for dealing with such issues as well (for our safer folk).
For Violent Crime:
1. Be unaware of your surroundings
This includes texting, talking on your cell phone and jogging with headphones on (especially in isolated areas with few or no people). Just stay stuck in your own world and be oblivious to everything going on around you.
Situational awareness is everything.
ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Most attacks come up from behind. It’s easy to get assaulted when your head is in the clouds. Criminals look for the easiest targets and a distracted person is one of their favorites.
2. Don’t follow your gut instincts.
Always second or third-guess yourself about whether a situation feels “wrong” or not. Just treat your feelings as part of your imagination. Ignore them.
If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.
Follow your gut instincts. If you get a bad vibe around certain people or in being in a particular environment, run away! Don’t stay around those people or be in that area. Your survival instincts are genetic; they are there for a reason, to keep you safe!
3. Have no sense of direction and a lack of confidence.
Just wander wherever you feel. Everyone gets lost, right? Just go ask someone for help. You can express yourself in whatever way you want. Why be confident?
Lack of direction and poor self-esteem equal easy target.
Along with being situationally aware, it is important to have a sense of direction and know where you are going. If you are wandering around and unsure of where your destination lies, predators will take advantage of that. People who walk confidently, women especially, with their head held high are less likely to be vulnerable to attack. Criminals want to prey on people who seem weak and are less likely to resist. They don't want to go through the trouble of dealing with someone that is going to yell, scream or fight back.
4. Always think that crime “could never happen to me.”
You live in a safe neighborhood, have adequate protection and are surrounded by helpful people. Of course it could never happen!
Understand that crime does not discriminate.
Anyone can be a target for crime, regardless of age, gender, race or social status. Some people are targeted more because of some of these variables than others, but the reality is that crime can happen to anyone. You could just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
5. Feel free to walk alone at night or go through a dark alley.
No one is going to bother you or stop you. You should be fine, right?
Avoid walking home alone at night.
This is especially true if you go through an isolated area or dangerous neighborhood. If you must walk at 2am or 3am, do so with a group of people; preferably sober. Criminals are a lot less likely to attack groups compared to lone individuals.
6. Walk around with lots of cash or flaunt expensive jewelry.
Feel free to wear whatever you want on your person. It’s a free country. Don’t like credit cards? Carry a wad of cash instead.
Criminals both love and loathe ostentatious people.
It comes down to desire and psychology with the thief. Seeing someone with expensive-looking jewelry or fancy clothes on gives the impression that that individual probably has a lot of cash on them too. People that flaunt what they have or seem arrogant are also of little regard for thieves.
Some criminals, by the very fact that they have nothing and their target has social status and money, look at theft towards these persons as a vouch for power. It comes down to punishment on socioeconomic lines, rather than property.
7. Wear high heels, tight clothes and anything else that restricts movement.
High heels are fashionable and all the rage. Why not wear them?
Reality Check: Criminals target people who might have difficulty getting away.
You might want to rethink wearing restrictive clothing or shoes, as it would help from making you a potential target. Also avoid wearing clothes that could be easily pulled or grabbed, as they make it easier for an attacker to get you.
For Property Crime:
1. Leave your doors or windows unlocked/open.
You’re in the comfort of your own home, might have left your apartment briefly to meet with a friend downstairs or have your garage doors open because you’re working in the garden. There’s no need to bother locking everything down, right?
Burglars search for easy access.
Leaving your doors, windows or other access points to your home unlocked is a surefire way to get your personal property stolen or to even get robbed at gunpoint. You should always keep your property secure. You can’t take any chances, open or unlocked access points will be the first thing a burglar looks for.
2. Don’t trim your plants, add lighting or conduct a security assessment.
Criminals use the environment to their advantage.
This includes large shrubs, unlit areas, and any other sections around your home that burglars could use to sneak around your property. It is important that there is high visibility of your residence, both to your neighbors and yourself.
Removing overgrown plants and adding lights would greatly decrease the opportunity for a burglar and help you deter crime. Be sure to assess the outer perimeter of your home for potential security breaches or openings that criminals could utilize.
3. Leave valuables in your vehicle.
Just leave your cell phone, laptop, wallet, and other personal belongings out in your car in plain view, even if only temporarily.
Visible valuables in a car screams “take me!” to a thief.
Always remove your belongings from your vehicle. Criminals will readily break into a car or check for unlocked doors if they notice something that could be sold for a quick buck. Don’t chance losing your valuables and your car window(s); take everything inside.
4. Don’t add lighting or have an automatic timer to deter burglars.
You don’t really need to waste money on lighting and you can just rely on your neighbors to look over your home.
Lighting makes a property more difficult to break into.
Automatic timers are great, especially when you are on vacation, because it gives criminals the impression that someone is home. Seeing lamps or the TV on inside a home will make a burglar turn their head and move on to a more vulnerable property, as the perceived risk of getting caught is too high. Having a motion sensor light on the side of your house (normally at the front, back or garage) is a great way to scare people off, as they don’t want to blow their cover.
5. Don’t have a loud dog or an alarm system.
Why deal with the noise, complaints from neighbors or expensive monthly contracts?
Reality Check: A solid deterrence system is a great investment. Dogs, especially small “yappers”, make create obstacles for the would-be burglar. They do not want to be noticed and a dog is something that will put them in that position. Most people that come across a noisy dog will avoid that home and move on to a more vulnerable target. Although a security system won’t stop an intruder from breaking into your home, it does serve as an additional security layer for helping to deter criminals.