Is Your Behavior Making You a Criminal Target?

April 04, 2009 07:30 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
Warmer temperatures often bring an increase in crime, but experts contend that the right precautions and demeanor can help keep you safe.

To Avoid Crime, Look Alert and Be Prepared

As people spend more time outside relaxing and enjoying springtime, there are increased opportunities for criminal behavior, especially toward unprepared victims. By taking some simple steps, though, people can feel more in control and even ward off criminals, according to experts who spoke with the Chicago Tribune.

If someone appears "distracted," is "traveling alone in dark or desolate areas," or ignores a gut instinct that "something is not right," it can increase their risk of being victimized. Arthur Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University in Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune that it is "rare" for people to be "chosen randomly to be victims of crime." Criminals may be opportunistic, but "they also want to be successful," Lurigio explained.

Background: U.S. crime rates

Other factors, including the recession, could also put Americans at greater risk of becoming a victim of a crime.

According to Reuters, U.S. police chiefs have warned that law enforcement budget cuts are contributing to a rise in crime. The news service reported on a survey of 233 police agencies conducted in December and January. The survey found that 44 percent of the agencies attributed increased crime to the ongoing financial crisis.
However, the Los Angeles Times reported a drop in crime in Los Angeles County and other areas of Southern California thus far in 2009. New York City, Chicago and Houston have also seen the number of serious crimes decline this year. The statistics defy the arguments of "prominent criminologists ... that police cannot counter larger societal forces—such as the economy and drug epidemics." But elsewhere in the U.S., crime numbers "are far more uneven."

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Reference: Teaching women to protect themselves

The Women's Self Defense Institute, led by Angie M. Tarighi, has an award-winning blog that offers information on "crime and defense," including insight into how crime happens and how to recognize signals and warning signs. The Web site also offers online self-defense training via an e-mail newsletter, and offers a variety of self-defense classes for women, including private lessons, and classes for seniors, businesses and colleges.

Wall Street Journal reporter Shelly Banjo went inside a women's self-defense class entitled "Angels with Attitude." Watch the video to see how students are taught physical self-defense moves and instructed on how to avoid being a victim.

Related Topic: Crime prevention at home

FindingDulcinea's Home Protection Web Guide has a section on Intruder Protection with advice for protecting your home from intruders and other types of damage, as well as advice on homeowners insurance.

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