How to Protect Yourself from Violent Crime Committed by Strangers
While we shouldn’t sit around worrying about being the potential victim of violent crime committed by strangers, it’s also a good idea to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Here are some examples of violence committed by strangers:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual violence / rape
- Armed robbery
- School shootings, workplace shootings, and other mass shootings
Violent crime statistics
According to data from the FBI on violent crime:
- In 2019, an estimated 1,203,808 violent crimes occurred across the United States. This was a decrease of 0.5 percent from the 2018 estimate.
- There were an estimated 366.7 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019, a one percent decrease from the 2018 estimated violent crime rate.
- Of the violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2019:
- 2 percent were aggravated assaults,
- 3 percent were robbery,
- 2 percent were rape, and
- 4 percent were murder.
If you are ever the victim of or witness to a violent attack, call 9-1-1 immediately.
How to protect yourself from violent crime committed by strangers
- Avoid risky situations
The best thing we can do to help protect ourselves is to avoid being in places or situations that are potentially dangerous. For example, avoid walking alone at night, getting black out drunk at a party where we don’t have trusted friends, taking a shortcut through an unsafe part of town, walking through unlit areas, etc.
- Be aware of your surroundings
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to put our headphones in or stare at our phones while ignoring the sights and sounds around us. For the sake of your safety, you want to know right away if someone is following you or if someone pulls out a gun and the best way to do that is to be aware of your surroundings. For example, check the backseat before getting in your car and be aware of the nearest exit.
- Be prepared
One of the best things we can do is to take some self-defense courses to help us be prepared in case we are ever attacked. Knowing that you have some skills to defend yourself is a great way to increase your confidence. When we walk with confidence, criminals are less likely to target us because they figure we may give them a hard time.
- Take control
If you are able, make a move to take control of a situation. Be loud to draw attention to yourself. According to defendyourself.org, here are some suggestions for things to yell out if you are being attacked:
“I’m being attacked — get help!”
“This man is bothering me!”
Forget being polite, you are entitled to call for help to defend yourself.
- Leave the situation
If you are able to escape an attacker, do so. Run away as quickly as you can and call for help. For the sake of your safety, it is vital to avoid being taken somewhere by a perpetrator.
If you see something, say something
If you see someone being victimized, it is your duty to call the police for help.
Can I file a lawsuit if I am the victim of a crime?
Yes, Washington State law allows victims of crimes more than one way to seek justice. One potential option is for the victim – or in wrongful death cases, immediate family members – to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator to recover money damages for your losses.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a violent crime, seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence or willful act of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!