We talk a lot about normalcy bias, awareness and using common sense. But when it comes to really having a grasp on protecting yourself and others, how aware are you of the crime in your area? I mean really aware.

No More Garden-Variety Crime

Crime has become so pervasive in our communities, stealing bubblegum from the supermarket rarely even gets a response from the police anymore. Sadly, we have gotten to the point where it’s considered a crazy news day when we don’t hear about murder, arson, rape or assault. Watch any of the acronym crime shows on TV and you see one-upmanship of desensitizing perversions taken to almost contest-like proportions.

Until we are all ready to join together and take our streets back to once again be safe, it is imperative that you keep on top of what bad things are taking place where you live, travel and work.

So, it begs the question…

Where is the Crime in Your Area?

There are several ways to find out exactly what is going on in your community:

  • First — and certainly the most important — talk to your neighbors! Don’t be a shut-in; introduce yourself and get to know who you live near. You can’t be home 24/7, but quite often your neighbors may be around when you aren’t. As great as security cameras and rose bushes are to protect your home, there is nothing better than having extra eyes keeping watch of the neighborhood.
  • Talk to your local police force. Ask them what has been going on and if there is any recent activity that has caused alarm or that you should be mindful of. That doesn’t mean you should become your town’s vigilante, but if there is something happening that you should be keeping an eye out for, make sure you are informed.
  • Join (or start) a Neighborhood Watch.
  • If you absolutely insist on being one of those Internet type folks, consider the following websites:

There are others, so do your own research. (Hey, if you find one that really works well, comment on this article and share the wealth!) Here is an example of what mylocalcrime.com just brought up for one NJ town (click for larger view):

myLocalCrime

It may not seem like much, but four shootings certainly gives me pause, not to mention the assaults and arson. Also keep in mind that these are only the crimes that were reported that this website got information about to report on the site. Think of how many unreported and unlisted crimes (including domestic violence and child abuse) that goes on!

Don’t Be a Victim

While we certainly can’t avoid all crime or dangerous situations, the simple act of being informed about what is going on around you can be the factor between being a victim or being a protector.