How to Recognize National Crime Prevention Month [Infographic]
October 1, 2019 | by BMI Staff
October is National Crime Prevention Month, and we want to equip you with some tools for crime prevention and safety. In the state of Missouri, the violent crime rate is 40.3% higher than the national average, and the property crime rate is 8% higher.
How to Protect Yourself
- Trust your instincts.
All of us are born with the evolutionary trait known as “fight or flight.” If you find yourself in a situation that evokes fear, regardless of the apparent rationale behind the feeling, trust your natural instincts. Move yourself out of that fear-inducing situation by finding a populated area or business to enter.
- Stay in well-lit, populated areas.
Walk smart by avoiding alleyways and stranded locations. If you are alone at night, make sure your surroundings are safe by staying in a well-lit and populated area.
- Travel in groups.
Whether you are exploring a foreign country or simply walking home from work, there is always more safety in numbers. Consider organizing a carpool and making sure your children have buddies to walk them home from school.
- Make eye contact with strangers.
Thieves and attackers understand their success is based on the element of surprise. When in public, make sure to keep your attention on your surroundings. Avoid texting when in a vulnerable, public setting, and instead aim to make eye contact with those around you.
- Have keys ready outside of your house and car.
Especially if you live or park in a dangerous area, the last thing you want is to make yourself vulnerable to attack while fumbling for keys. Prepare your keys as you are approaching a locked door. For an added safeguard, slide your keys in between your fingers and close your fist. This will provide an emergency weapon in case of attack.
- Keep your phone out of view.
In addition to the aforementioned warning about staying aware of your surroundings, smart phone thefts are on the rise. When not in use, keep your phone out of sight to avoid being pickpocketed. Consider also changing the color of your headphones from white, as that color is commonly associated with high-end Apple products.
- If you are robbed, give up your property and not your life.
Regardless of what you have on you, nothing is more important than your life. There is no way to truly gauge the desperation level of someone willing to risk their freedom for whatever is in your bag. The best way to exit a robbery safely is to hand over whatever is asked of you. As soon as is safely possible, call the police and report everything that happened. Try to maintain a clear and steady speaking voice when making your report.
How to Protect Your Home
- Build a fence and keep it locked.
Keeping unwanted visitors out begins in your yard. In addition to building a privacy fence, make your yard (and in-turn, your home) less desirable to thieves by keeping kids’ toys and lawn equipment out of view. Expensive-looking gadgets in a yard might spark the unwanted idea that your home is also full of high-priced items.
- Install motion-sensored lighting outside of your home.
Thieves and lurkers operate best in the shield of darkness. Throwing them off with bright lights any time they come too close will help protect your home.
- Form a neighborhood watch.
If crime is particularly high in your neighborhood, or if starting a watch program has just been on your to-do list for awhile, there are a few steps required for getting the program up and running. Visit the National Neighborhood Watch website for more information on getting started.
- Make your address visible to police by installing large house numbers.
The last thing you want in the event of an emergency is for first responders to be unable to locate you. Put up large, light-reflective house numbers on either your home or your mailbox to make sure your house isn’t missed. When marking your mailbox, another safety tip is to avoid your first name, instead opting for your family name only. An example of this would be “The Browns.”
- Secure valuables in a home safe.
If someone is able to get inside of your home, make their job even harder by locking your valuables in a safe. Bolt your safe to the floor so thieves won’t be able to grab it and run.
- Don’t hide spare keys outside.
Despite the seemingly discrete design of the fake rocks used to hide spare keys, thieves are onto us. This trick is in countless movies and has the potential to lead unwanted guests right through your front door. Never leave spare keys anywhere outside.
- Buy a home security system (and save money on your BMI policy!).
How to Protect Your Car
- Keep it locked.
No matter where you are or how long you plan on being there, make sure to keep your car locked. While a desperate thief may resort to breaking in through a window, it is more likely that strangers will leave your car alone once they see the work they’d have to do to get in.
- Use a steering wheel lock.
Another way to keep strangers out of your car is to deter them with a steering wheel lock. You can buy these from most automotive stores. These devices will lock onto your steering wheel, rendering the wheel immovable. Should anyone attempt to steal the vehicle, it won’t be able to make any turns. These tend to deter thieves from breaking in at all.
- Park in well-lit areas.
Similar to the way a porch light on at night will deter thieves from breaking into homes, parking under a streetlight or near the building you are heading to will make your vehicle less of a target.
Keep Valuables Out of Your Car
Leaving valuables visible to the outside in a vehicle makes it a large target to thieves. If you must leave something of value in your car, hide it in the trunk. Keep your car clear of clutter so thieves won’t be tempted by what they can’t see under the mess.