According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were over 24 million crimes reported in the U.S. during 2003. Of those, almost 5.6 million were personal crimes, while 18.6 million were property crimes. Twenty-two out of every 1,000 American households were affected by crimes of violence and 163 out of every 1,000 households were affected by property crimes. With these kinds of statistics, it’s understandable that Americans are concerned with personal safety and the safety of their homes and businesses.
The Michigan State Police offer these tips for personal safety:
1. Stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings, as well as who is in front of you and who is behind you.
2. Walk purposefully, stand tall, and make eye contact with people around you.
3. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave.
4. While driving, keep your car in good repair with the gas tank at least half full.
5. Park in well-lit areas and always lock your doors.
6. Put valuables out of sight or in the trunk.
7. Drive with the doors locked and the windows up.
8. Check the floorboards and front and rear seats before getting in your car.
9. In an elevator, stand near the controls. If someone suspicious enters, get off the elevator.
10. At home, don’t give personal information over the telephone to people you don’t know.
11. Install a peephole in your front door, and don’t open the door to anyone you don’t know. Verify the identity of service people before allowing them in.
The Michigan State Police offer these tips for protecting your property:
1. Do not hide house keys in mailboxes, planters, or under doormats.
2. Do not include personal identification on key rings.
3. Have a separate ignition key to leave with mechanics or parking attendants.
4. If you lose your house keys or move into a new house, have the locks re-keyed.
5. When going away, make sure your home looks occupied. Put interior lights on timers, arrange to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped, and close and lock your garage door.
6. Install and use good deadbolt locks on your doors; lock sliding glass doors or use a dowel in the door track.
7. Trim shrubbery hiding doors or windows and cut tree branches that could help a thief climb to second-story windows.
8. Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lit.
When it comes to personal safety, many Americans are going a step further to ensure their own personal safety and the safety of their homes and offices. Car alarms, business alarms, and home alarms are important components of personal safety. Many people carry whistles on their key rings or in their pockets; when personal safety is at risk, blowing whistles can attract the attention of passersby, who can then call for help. Some people carry mace or pepper spray in their pockets, briefcases, or purses, while others carry concealed stun guns to the extent that the law allows. Those who leave their children in the care of others often use baby cams or other video recorders to ensure that the caregivers are acting appropriately.