Violent crimes such as rape, robbery, murder and assaults are things that can have a dramatic effect on several people. Even though a citizen may not be the direct victim of one of these crimes, when they hear about this type of crime occurring it can strike fear into the citizens. In many instances of violent crime, the victim and the offender have some type of relationship with each other. This relationship can either be a family relationship or it could be that they are acquaintances of each other.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, violent crime was down from a high of 52.3 incidents per 1,000 people in 1981 to just 21.1 incidents per 1,000 in 2004, according to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice. Aggravated assault - which involves attack with a weapon or attack without a weapon that results in serious injury - was down even more sharply, from 12.4 incidents per 1,000 people in 1977 to just 4.3 incidents per 1,000 in 2004.
Everyone needs to be careful, but these lower rates of crime are evidence that if people are vigilant and take common-sense precautions, crime can be prevented.
The Joplin Police Department would like to offer the following tips to help prevent this crime:
• When out at night, try to have a friend walk with you.
• Carry only the money you’ll need on a particular day.
• If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. If the person continues to follow you, move quickly toward an open store or restaurant or a lighted house. Don’t be afraid to yell for help.
• Try to park in well-lighted areas with good visibility and close to walkways, stores, and people.
• Make sure you have your key out as you approach your door.
• Always lock your car, even if it’s in your own driveway; never leave your motor running.
• Do everything you can to keep a stranger from getting into your car or to keep a stranger from forcing you into his or her car.
• If a dating partner has abused you, do not meet him or her alone. Do not let him or her in your home or car when you are alone.
• If you are a battered spouse, call the police or sheriff immediately. Assault is a crime, whether committed by a stranger or your spouse or any other family member. If you believe that you and your children are in danger, call a crisis hotline or a health center (the police can also make a referral) and leave immediately.
• If someone tries to rob you, give up your property—don’t give up your life.
• If you are robbed or assaulted, report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent someone else from becoming a victim.
For further information contact Lt. Matt Stewart or Sgt. Rusty Rives at 417-627-8880.