Avoiding Violent Crime

Preventing violent crime involves several easy every day practices:

Keep your house number highly visible from the street to help police, paramedics and firefighters to quickly find your address. If you live on a corner, consider displaying your house number on the two sides of the house that face the street.

Know your neighbors. Be aware of what cars they drive. Call 911 for suspicious people or vehicles.

Keep doors (including storm doors) and windows locked.

Lock doors when you go out — even for only a short time and especially if your door is out of your sight. Someone can sneak inside your home while you are preoccupied — even just around the corner in the garden.

Never let strangers into your home.

Consider a home security system.

Do not open the door for any suspicious person or stranger. Look out your window or a peephole anytime there is a knock at the door or if the doorbell rings.

If you think you are being followed, do not go home. If you are driving, go to a public location or even the police station. Call 911. If you are walking, stay with a neighbor and call 911.

If an unmarked police car attempts to stop you or comes to your house, call 911 and demand that a marked police car responds to your location. If you are driving, discuss a public location with the 911 dispatcher to meet a marked police car.

If a person arrives and says they are from a utility company when you have not called a utility company for help, and you didn’t see the employee come from an official truck, or they cannot provide official identification, consider this suspicious and call 911.

In case of travel, it is good to know the direct telephone line to your hometown city’s police department. For example, if something happens to your family at home while you are in New York, it is not optimal to call 911, because New York’s 911 center would answer and there would be a delay as they would have to determine how to contact your hometown police department.


Stay calm. Try not to panic or show signs of confusion.

Don’t resist or refuse to give up property. Focus on escape and calling 911. Fighting back is risky, but if you decide to fight back, use all your speed, strength and power. Focus on incapacitating the attacker so that you can escape without chance of recapture and call 911. If you are losing the battle or you decide not to fight in the first place, you may need to minimize injury by lying on the ground with your knees tucked up to protect your abdomen and chest and with your arms over your head to protect your head.

Try to keep your awareness up so that you can give an accurate description to the police—including the attacker’s sex, age, race, height, weight, race, hair, eye color, glasses, tattoos, scars, or marks, and complexion. Also note the color fabric and condition of the attackers clothing as well as distinguishing shoes, hats, or other items. Take note of details of a weapon if a weapon was displayed. If a vehicle is associated with the attacker, attempt to obtain details of the vehicle, including license number and direction of departure, but do not pursue the attacker.

When you call 911, be prepared to give the address of the location of the crime. Your call from a landline may display your telephone number and address at the 911 center. If you call from a cell phone, the dispatcher may have your geographic location (lattitude, longitude with approximate address) displayed on their telecommunications equipment, but it is always better if the 911 dispatcher can get a good street address from the caller. If you are in a commercial location, you should still try to find a street address. Don’t let the lack of a street address delay your call to 911, but try to find it in the process of calling the 911 center for help. If you just say the name of a fast food restaurant, for example, there might be a delay because the dispatcher would have to confirm which restaurant it is, in case there are more than one of those brands of restaurants in a city.