Crime Prevention Tips to Avoid Being an Easy Target

This guide will go over safety practices and crime prevention tips to lower or eliminate the chances of being targeted as victims

Recent studies on property and violent crime have shown that safety and security remain to be a large issue in many parts of the US. 

According to SafeHome.org, violent crime in major US cities has increased by as much as 12 percent on average since 2010. 

Aggravated assault, murder, and rape have all climbed by 25 percent within the same time period. More specifically, there was a 6% increase in murders across the nation in 2021, compared to 2020.

Meanwhile, property crimes have generally declined by as much as 33 percent since 2010, while robbery also went down by 23 percent. Motor vehicle thefts, however, rose to a whopping 48 percent over the last decade. 

There is no one, exact reason why crimes happen, but what is certain is that it’s ultimately up to the individual to keep themselves safe and secure for as much as they can. 

Sure, there are law enforcements in place, and the legal system is there to carry out justice. But when it comes to crimes, prevention will always be better than the cure. 

That’s why in this article, we will take a look at some helpful crime prevention tips and practices you can implement in your daily life to avoid becoming a victim. 

Let’s dive right in.

how to prevent theft

Pickpocketing

According to NYPD, there were as many as 219 felonies reported in the month of May alone, a majority of which involved cases in the subway. 

Purses, mobile phones, neck chains, and other handheld devices and valuables were all hot ticket items for the pickpocketing offenders. There were also dozens of cases of assaults and robberies. 

In particular, the “overnight hours” of the subway service, when riders are more prone to falling asleep while in transit, saw a huge jump in the number of larceny incidents. By “a huge jump,” they  meant by 200 percent. 

However, it’s not just a nighttime crime. Even during rush hour in the mornings, when people are all obviously awake and bustling about, the probability of getting pickpocketed is still high. 

Keep in mind that pickpockets are very crafty, discreet, mostly anonymous, and very concise and efficient. They can work alone or in groups. 

They can use a spectacular distraction method, or they can quietly stand behind you as  you enter the turnstiles, and you wouldn’t notice them. 

How do you deter them from going after your valuables? Well, you can make sure to always put your bag in front of you, for one. This improves your awareness of anything that might come in contact with your bag. 

Make sure that all the compartments are secured. That said, avoid putting your wallet in the front pocket of your backpack. This is a very vulnerable location, and is most likely to be targeted.

Also, avoid taking out your items in public. This is practically announcing what else you have on you that they can steal. Keep your valuables hidden from view, unless absolutely necessary.

Car Theft

Car owners are just as vulnerable to property crime. So far, national data is already seeing a significant uptick in car theft in various states, based on reports from their own law enforcement agencies. 

Washington, for example, reportedly has an 88 percent increase from last year in car thefts. Meanwhile, New Jersey is at 31 percent.

One way to avoid being part of these gnarly statistics is to keep your car well-maintained. Always make sure that you’ll have enough gas to take you to your destination and back, to avoid being stalled and vulnerable on the road.

Always turn off the ignition and take your car keys with you when leaving your car, even if you’ll only be gone a minute. Keep your car doors locked at all times. 

Before jumping back in, check the backseat first to see that there’s nobody who’s not supposed to be there lurking about. 

Avoid parking in isolated areas and make sure nothing expensive or valuable is visible through the windows of your vehicle. You can either put them under the seat, in the compartments, or at least cover it up with a jacket discreetly.

Also, keep in mind that car theft does not only happen when you’re parked. There are those who will actively pursue you on the road, and then corner you to the curb to forcibly take the vehicle from you.

If you believe you are being followed for this purpose, go to the nearest gas station, open shop, or other well-lit, populated place. Do not return home immediately, in case they follow you. 

Finally, refrain from picking up hitchhikers, who could be carjackers.

Burglary

home security system

You’ll want to make sure your front door is brightly illuminated in your house or apartment. Invest in security lights that you can install in areas where visibility is typically low, and so would be great for hiding. 

Avoid sharing your complete name indiscriminately. This can be used to further compromise your safety, not only in your physical home but also online. 

For phone directories or mailboxes, you can simply put the initial of your first name, and then your surname. Shred any personal identifying envelopes or papers, like credit card statements or utilities bills with a paper shredder.

If your windows are easily accessible from the outside, shut them close before you go to sleep. Install window gates or bars if you live in the lower floors, or if  you have windows easily accessible from the fire escapes.

Having blinds or curtains are also great for privacy. You don’t want people outside to have a clear view of what’s going on in your home, after all.

Just make sure that while it will keep you secured inside, you’ll still be able to get out safely in case you need to use the fire escape.

Keep your doors locked at all times. Install peepholes in them so you can screen who’s on the other side. If it’s nobody you know or expect, don’t open it for anything else. 

Note that it’s pretty common for burglars to pose as utility or servicemen. Sometimes, they will time it just right so you think that they are the person you’re waiting for. Always ask for their ID to verify. 

If they can’t present one but are insisting access to your home, call the service company to confirm that the person at your door is the one they sent over to do the service you requested.

Of course, always make sure to have 911 on speed dial. It’s also ideal to invest in a reliable security system that can patch you directly to your local police for faster assistance. 

Here are more home security tips to keep you safe.

Assault / Murder

If you believe you are being followed, travel to a well-lit area where other people are present. Call the cops. Never hitchhike or accept a ride from someone you don’t know. 

If you’re going out late at night, go with a pal or a group of friends. Make a schedule for your outings. Always let a friend or family member know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. 

Keep an eye on your surroundings at all times and stay aware—this means paying attention to where you’re going instead of your cellphone. 

If you’d want to keep wearing your audio device, at least keep one ear open if you’re wearing earphones. Try the same with headphones too, and ideally, don’t turn on the noise cancellation feature. 

Don’t risk it if the area appears to be desolate or badly lit. Walk confidently and at a steady pace, but also brace yourself to run, in case it becomes necessary.  

You can also use self-defense devices, like pepper spray, stun gun, taser, or those personal alarms that emit a high-pitched sound to draw attention or help. 

Self-defense lessons can also help you gain confidence in your skills to avoid physical attacks. 

Here are some additional self-defense tips.

Rape

According to the US Department of Justice, 73 percent of sexual assaults are carried out by someone familiar to the victim. 28 percent of the cases are complaints against intimate partners, while seven percent involve a relative.

Another staggering but crucial information is that 50 percent of rape or sexual assault occur within a mere mile of  the victim’s home. Of this percentage, four in every 10 cases are known to have transpired inside the victim’s home itself.

What these numbers are saying is that women should always be on guard, even from people they supposedly know. 

ladies drinks

It would help to know if your neighbors truly are friendly, or if they are listed as a sexual predator. Of course, not all predators are going to be officially listed, but having an idea of who to watch out for could help too.

Date rape drugs are still unfortunately very much a thing, so when at a bar, make sure to always keep an eye on your drinks. 

Don’t let anyone else touch it. If possible, buy one of those covers that fit over your glass, so no one can drop anything in it. 

If there’s anyone making you feel uncomfortable, or persistently making unwelcome advances, speak up loud enough for the people nearby to hear, assuming that there are any. 

Don’t hesitate to ask help from security if you need someone to walk you to your car. 

Always have a reliable point of contact among your family or friends, one that you can call to pick you up or stay on the phone with you to make sure that you get out of the situation safely. 

Use your self-defense skills or devices as needed.

Cyber-Attack

It’s easy to fall into a false sense of security on the internet—don’t. The risks of falling victim to a crime is just as potent online as it is in real life. 

Sure, the assault may not be physical per se, but make no mistake about it, it can also be life-threatening. 

To mitigate the risks of cyber-attack, you should limit the amount of personal data you share on the internet. Change your privacy settings and avoid using location services. 

It’s also important to keep your software and operating systems up to date, especially since cyber attackers are equally updated with their systems and harmful software. 

Block dangers with antivirus software, malware, and firewalls. Back up your files on a regular basis in an encrypted file or encrypted file storage device.

Keep an eye out for suspicious activity that requires you to act quickly, offers something that seems too good to be true, or requests your personal information.

Think before you click, and if you’re not sure, don’t. Use secure (encrypted) internet communication with encrypted emails, encrypted browsers, encrypted WIFI, and more. 

PIN, passwords with two-factor authentication, and biometric scanners (e.g., fingerprint scanner or facial recognition) are also available technologies to provide a more secure authentication method.

Regularly review your account statements and credit reports. Personal information should only be shared on secure sites (e.g., “HTTPS://”). Use caution when visiting sites that have expired certifications.

Here are some additional cybersecurity tips.

Conclusion

These tips for crime prevention are but a few suggestions that you can apply for your own situation. May you never have need to use them, but in case the situation calls for it, we hope these will prove helpful in keeping you safe. 

2 thoughts on “Crime Prevention Tips to Avoid Being an Easy Target”

  1. A great resource for anyone who wants to know about crime prevention! It has practical advice and is also simple to read. Thank you very much for this post!

    Reply

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