Violent crimes in California increased 2.92% last year, according to the FBI’s newly released Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, January-December, 2012. These surprising statistics indicate a reversal in the declining trend the state has seen in past years and compel me to remind everyone to stay alert and practice safe behaviors.
It was disturbing to learn that 60% of our communities are experiencing an increase in violence. Unfortunately, we cannot always prevent crime, but there are things each of us can do to minimize our risk of becoming a victim. I encourage everyone to practice these safe behaviors:
- Be diligent in locking your home and car doors
- Install surveillance and/or alarm systems
- Stay alert of your surroundings
- Take a self-defense course
- Use safe and secure practices while online
- Tell trusted family or friends where you are going and with whom
- Practice safe boundaries
- Get your neighbors involved through a neighborhood watch or neighborhood policing program
- Trust your gut-level feelings; if a situation feels bad, try to find safety immediately
To manage the continued demand for victim services, CalVCP regularly communicates with law enforcement and other first responders across the state to provide current program information and materials to ensure victims are readily informed of available assistance following an incident. We have increased our outreach efforts to underserved and vulnerable populations, including those in rural locations, or those with physical or cultural barriers. We also provide relevant program and victim resource information through this blog, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube.
I would like to hear how you are practicing safe behaviors. Will you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your suggestions with us on social media? I look forward to your comments and suggestions; let’s practice safety together!
If you are a victim of a crime, we encourage you to find help. There are a number of resources available to assist victims of crime. Victims can reach out to their local victim witness assistance center to learn of available services, including CalVCP.
Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.