How likely am I to be a victim of violent crime?
Well, statistically, a violent crime occurs every 35 seconds in the United States, so if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, or your behavior is wrong for the setting, it's very likely you could become a victim of a crime. A lot of it depends on your lifestyle, where you live. If you live in a high crime area, your odds are greater; a low crime area, your odds are less. Most crime occurs at night, after 8pm at night. So if you're a night owl, you're out a lot, you're going to clubs, you're going to school, you're coming and going at night, your odds are greater. If you're a homebody, locked in your home, you're safer.
What types of violent crime are the most common?
The most common violent crimes are domestic violence issues, where you know your attacker, spouse, ex, boyfriend, girlfriend, someone you see on a regular basis, sometimes in a work place, but it's someone you know. The most common type of crime is basic assault and simple batteries: pushing, shoving, slapping, punching, those kinds of things, and those happen everyday. Again statistically, one happens every 30 seconds in the United States. As the crime becomes more violent, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, murder, those are less frequent. Again, most violent crimes occur from people that you know or have some relationship with, or you are sharing a common space with.
What types of violent crime are most preventable?
The most preventable violent crimes are the ones that you have most control over. If you can control your environment and your conduct within that environment then many violent crimes will never occur. Your home is another example where simple preparations, based around control, can easily prevent a violent incident from development. The choices we make and the places we go will determine whether you're going to be a victim of a violent crime or not.
What characterizes the typical victim of violent crime?
Outside the home, the typical victim of violent crime is someone who presents themselves as a perfect target, someone who is weak, someone who is not likely to fight back, or someone who just presents themselves as being flashy: carrying a lot of money, wearing an expensive Rolex watch, expensive jewellery, driving a very expensive looking car, might draw unnecessary attention to themselves. Those are the typical victims of violent crime.
What is the most important thing I can do to protect myself from violent crime?
The secret to reducing the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime is to reduce the chance of it occurring. Once you leave the sanctuary of your home and go out in the world, you need to be safe with regard to all aspects of your journey. For example, going to an ATM machine at 3 o'clock in the morning would not be a good choice, especially if that ATM is in an urban area. Going to a night club, 24-hour convenience store or parking in a badly lit car park late at night would also not be safe behavior. Making good choices, being aware of your surroundings and planning ahead are all key to protecting yourself.
How does a family plan work when the family is not together?
The key to safety is to tailor a family plan to each individual member. For example, if you have a teenage son, you should talk to him and discuss the various aspects of his day, working out what circumstances that could arise. If your family is aware of what they are supposed to do, on an individual basis, then they are more likely to be comfortable and calm if an emergency does arise.