The first line of defense against being the victim of a crime in every scenario is awareness. Awareness is the accumulation of every lesson you have learned throughout your life that helps you recognize when things are amiss. These lessons can be life lessons, self-defense classes, demographic prejudices, or educational endeavors. When your instincts tells you that something is out of place, listen and act on that instinct! The more conditioned you become in detecting possible danger through awareness, the more effective you will become in moving to safety when you feel threatened.
Awareness is a way of life; however, not every possible scenario can be played out. Unfortunately, criminals will always be looking for ways to improve their methods, but there are four main strategies that can be taken to help deter criminal behavior:
- Remove incentive – Criminals generally do not commit a crime when there is no reason to do so. For instance, there is little incentive to break into a car to steal something and risk being seen if there is nothing in the car that looks to be worth taking.
- Eliminate room for deception – Criminals thrive off of situational opportunity. If a criminal believes that they can furnish a reasonable excuse to approach you, your family, or your property then that opens the door for criminal activity.
- Increase the effort required to commit a crime – Let’s face it, criminals are resourceful, deceptive, and intelligent. However, even criminals know when their time and energy is better spent elsewhere. For instance, if you have a vehicle “club” on your car’s steering wheel, then the criminal not only has to break into your car and get your car to start to steal it, but now they also have to pick the lock of a car club. Why bother with a vehicle that has a club when there are a number of other cars that probably do not have one?
- Increase the risk that the criminal will get harmed or apprehended – There is a reason that prisons are lined with solid walls and razor wire. Contrary to popular belief, criminals do not spend their days contemplating myriads of ways to be sent to/kept in jail/prison. Again, criminals are smart and they know when the risk is not worth taking.
The following are some recommended tips that may help keep you, your family, and your property safe:
- Do not leave valuables unattended in plain sight in your cars, or in any public place.
- Keep your car locked, and do not loan out keys to those you do not trust.
- Lock your bikes with quality bike locks. Don’t forget to lock up the tire too!
- Document descriptions, serial numbers, and pictures of expensive possessions and keep them in a safe place.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Walk with confidence, at a good steady pace, keeping your head up and ears free from headphones. Criminals thrive off of naïve victims.
- Trust your instincts. If you think that you are in an area that you should not be in, you probably are.
- Avoid isolated areas. Travel with friends if you absolutely need to go somewhere that you feel is unsafe.
- Be discerning. Take note of people, vehicles, or possessions that do not belong. If something feels amiss, it typically is.
- Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or lugging around an unnecessary amount of bags.
- Keep your dorm/apartment windows shut and locked when you are gone or asleep. Especially if you live on the first floor!
- Never prop open locked doors! Please report these instances to Campus Safety if you see it happen.
- Do not announce vacation plans on social media.
- Change up your daily routine frequently (but don’t skip class!).
- Report all criminal or medical incidents and suspicious behavior to Campus Safety.
- If you see an abandoned backpack or bag, call Campus Safety.
For more information, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/police/29869