Summer is “high crime” season, according to law enforcement experts, and Americans who take that issue lightly may find themselves in danger when they’re out on the town until Labor Day. What mistakes cost Americans the most, and how can they address them?
First let’s look at the summer months and why they tend to be riskier than others.
The answer is obvious and highly supported by social sciences: Hot weather literally brings people out of their homes and into close contact.
San Diego-based GreatCal, Inc. – a wireless services provider that markets a mobile personal emergency response system – offers a new study called the “5 Star Safety” survey that says Americans are “slacking” on summer safety.
“Summer is an ideal setting for spending quality time with family and friends, but you still need to be thinking about safety,” notes Patrick Adams, director of Safety and Products at GreatCall. “We just want to remind people, as the survey has proven, that it’s always smart to plan ahead and be prepared.”
The company’s data say that Americans are of two minds when it comes to dealing with potentially dangerous situations during the summer months. They fear getting hurt, but feel their best option is to hope the danger goes away on its own. GreatCall says that 83% of survey respondents are anxious about being approached by a stranger outside after dark, but 42% say they would ignore the stranger in hopes that he would walk away.
Another 76% say that they have no plan of action if they were in an accident or were the victim of a crime.
Other key data from the study include:
- 60% of respondents say they are worried about walking around an “unfamiliar” area of town during the summer months, especially at night.
- 38% fear losing their cell phone – their primary mode of communications with family, friends and law enforcement while traveling.
- 37% say their greatest fear is running out of gas after the sun goes down.
GreatCall provides some advice on how to deal with summertime safety issues that should be a big component to any trip into town or vacation:
- Let a family member or friend know where you’re going and when. Make it easy by printing out an itinerary and giving it to a trusted contact.
- Never travel with your gas tank less than half-full, and get it checked by a mechanic before taking any long trips. When you’re driving in areas you deem unsafe, lock your doors.
- When traveling, know beforehand where the closest medical facility is, and if possible, where the closest police station is.
- Don’t flaunt expensive jewelry, or better yet, don’t wear any at all. Practice good fashion (and common sense) by forgoing souvenir T-shirts.
Law enforcement officials have long said that the hot summer months are the apex of the crime year, but with good planning and a healthy dose of common sense, you can keep any encounters with the law friendly ones, and encounters with criminals non-existent.