Since the pandemic began, crime has risen to unprecedented levels in most major cities. FBI statistics show a 45% increase in national violent crime from late 2019 through 2021. The state of Alabama and Birmingham is ranked among the highest in the nation for violent and non-violent crimes. Though it is now decreasing in some areas of the state, the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in the city are still one in 60. The odds of being a victim of property theft are one in 20. Additionally, Birmingham has the highest motor vehicle theft rates in the nation.
Following the 2021 deadly crime wave of 132 homicides, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Crime Stoppers, and local officials enacted several steps and programs to curb the violent crime problem. While programs and enhanced policing efforts help, organizations like the Council on Criminal Justice call for violence prevention strategies that can be enacted in cities and surrounding local communities to help citizens protect themselves from becoming victims.
Keep Yourself from Being Targeted by Criminals
The first step to preventing yourself from becoming a crime victim is being aware of your surroundings, other people, your instincts, and how you present yourself to a would-be criminal. Preventing crime from happening requires being on alert both mentally and physically. Whenever you’re out in public, always think of safety first. Just like a home security alarm. It cannot alert you to danger if it's not turned on. The same is true for you. Studies show that it only takes seven seconds for a criminal to size up a potential victim. Don’t ever allow them to target you.
5 Ways To Avoid Becoming A Crime Victim
Keep your eyes and ears open, especially if you’re unfamiliar. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Always err on the side of caution and trust your instincts. Remember if you're injured because of a violent crime, you have a right to compensation. If you need a personal injury lawyer call (205) 654-8139.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings At All Times
Watch what’s going on around you. No matter how safe you think a neighborhood or place might be, think about safety at all times.
Don’t leave any door or window in your house open and unlocked, especially if you're not home.
When getting in your car, lock the doors immediately.
Be cautious of sitting in your car to talk on the phone or text. You become an easy target for carjackers.
Make sure the doors are locked as soon as you exit your car.
Never leave your car running unattended, even if you have to make a quick trip inside. Turn it off and lock the doors. Never leave a child unattended in the car.
When filling your tank, ensure the doors are locked on all sides to keep someone from trying to get in on the passenger side.
Keep packages out of view in your car and keep it locked at all times.
Never leave anything of value in the car.
Don’t leave your purse, wallet, or phone unattended anywhere.
Walk confidently, observing your surroundings and keeping your purse, wallet, or phone close and protected.
When walking at night, stay in well-lit, crowded areas. Know your surroundings and avoid dark or isolated streets, lots, or fields.
Walk or travel with a friend or a group of people.
Carry deterrents, such as pepper spray, for emergency situations.
Keep your head up and your eyes alert while walking. Don’t walk and text or look at your phone. You won’t be able to keep an eye on your surroundings and may become a target for cell phone, purse, or wallet thieves.
If you walk or jog regularly, change your path to keep anyone from knowing your route.
Always have your keys ready and look around before getting to your house door.
As you approach your car, have keys ready and in your hands, then look inside, outside, and underneath before unlocking the doors. Lock doors immediately once inside.
Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there’s enough gas to get where you’re going and back.
If you're going to be alone, especially at night, let a friend or relative know.
If you think you’re being followed, change course and walk or drive to a different crowded public location for help.
Call 911 for help if you ever feel threatened in any way.
If using a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft, wait indoors, confirm the car's make, model, and year and look at the driver to make sure he or she matches the picture on the profile. Make sure they give you your name before entering the car. Use the share status feature in the app to have status texts of your ride automatically sent to a friend or relative. Follow the route on your phone, and don’t give out personal info.
Pay Attention To The People Around You
Make eye contact with people, especially anyone approaching you.
If you feel someone is following you or possibly targeting you, get to a crowded place immediately for help or call 911. If necessary, yell to draw immediate attention to yourself.
Act Confident and Focused
Predators look for people who appear to be weak, unfocused, and distracted. Jean O’Neil, director of research and evaluation for the National Crime Prevention Council states, ”Criminals are looking for easy pickings. They're looking for someone they can take by surprise and will likely not resist.”
Present yourself in an assertive manner. Walk confidently. Stay focused on your surroundings.
Make eye contact with people who look at you. That signals the would-be offender that you are in charge and know they are there.
If you ever feel threatened in any way, let someone know. Yell or call for help or get to a well-lit, crowded public area.
Alcohol and Drugs Can Cloud Judgment
Certain substances, like drugs or alcohol, can dull your senses and slow your reaction time to danger. Be aware when you’re out. Watch for any tampering with your drinks. If you have too much to drink, have a close friend or relative drive you home or pick you up.
Call Mezrano Law Firm Today
If you have been a victim of a violent crime, you deserve compensation. To call a personal injury lawyer call (205) 654-8139. Our team is here to help you in this difficult time.