Protect Yourself from Crime
SOME major causes of crime are outside our control. For instance, we individually cannot change this whole lawless system of things and make it right. Nor can we get at the Devil.
Nevertheless, we ourselves can avoid a criminal life. Further, there are steps we can take to reduce the possibility of our being harmed by crime. Here a principle in the Bible proves valuable. It says:
“A sensible man foresees danger, and hides from it;
But the simple pass on, and are punished.”
—Prov. 22:3, An American Translation.
Notice, first of all, that it says the sensible one “foresees danger.” He is alert wherever he is to what is going on around him.
Do you see the “danger” from crime facing you? The type of threat varies from place to place. Thus criminal acts on the streets of a large city ghetto are different from those at a suburban market employing dishonest clerks.
Your home may be in an area relatively free from burglars, but the persons you let into it for appliance repairs or as domestic help may bring crime, ranging from shoddy workmanship and petty thievery to rape. ‘Foreseeing danger,’ being alert, is the first step toward averting its adverse effects.
Having once spotted danger, however, the sensible person is not hesitant to ‘hide’ from it. He does not foolishly pretend to be afraid of nothing. It is not cowardice to avert danger, even fleeing if necessary; the Bible calls this course “sensible.”
Protecting Your Home
Are you “sensible” as regards your home? To believe that the police will always be able to ward off disaster is unwise. A former burglar writes:
“There are many ways to protect your home, but one notion has consistently proven wrong:
“As long as you rely on the conviction that the arm of the law is mightier than the crowbars of thieves, you cannot stop a burglar.”
Why is it that the police cannot always protect your property? One patrolman admits:
“Let’s be honest. There are just so many [burglaries] being committed these days and there are so many other more important things to watch for that burglaries are now handled on the same level of priority that we used to assign to noise complaints.”
Protection, therefore, largely lies in prevention, ‘foreseeing danger.’ Can your home be made safer? Here are a few suggestions that some have found valuable.
Use good locks. In many suburban and rural areas life is more carefree and not so defensive as in the cities. Almost inadvertently owners leave doors and windows unlocked. Valuable jewelry, tools, televisions, stereos and small appliances are unprotected. Further, only good locks are likely to thwart an intent thief. One manufacturer asserts that the average skilled burglar can pick more than 98 percent of the 500,000,000 locks in Manhattan alone.
If you leave home, keep a few lights burning. Some persons install an automatic timer to turn lights, radio and television on and off automatically, giving strangers the impression the house is occupied. Shine strong lights into your yard, since criminals prefer darkness. Burglar alarms and loud-mouthed dogs may frighten intruders away in your absence. If you will be away for long, perhaps the best protection is to tell a trusted neighbor or friend. He can watch your home and avoid letting papers and mail accumulate—a sure sign that the occupants are gone.
‘Foresee Danger’ on the Street
Be sensible, too, when you are away from home. Many victims actually contribute to crime against themselves. How?
By where they go, for one thing. If a person is mugged on a dark city street, why was he there? Was it to engage in illegal gambling, to look for drugs or a prostitute? A policeman in Washington points to this often overlooked aspect of the crime problem: “We feel most of the people who get robbed are guys from the suburbs looking for a little action.” Pure motives can be a protection!
How you dress can also get you into trouble. Why wear your finest, most expensive clothing if you will be in an area where crime occurs? Why deck yourself publicly in beautiful jewelry? If you wish to wear jewelry, why not at least wait until you get to your destination to put it on? While coming and going, it is wise to conceal jewelry on your person, not in a purse or wallet.
Style of dress can also contribute to rape. As to women being raped in a large city, one detective says: “If you ask me, they invite it. They wear those see-through blouses and skimpy skirts.” An airline stewardess who keeps an apartment in New York city implied that clothing contributes to assault when she said: ‘“You can’t even wear hot pants here, because men try to rape you.” Modest apparel is becoming to a lady; in today’s sex-mad world it is also “sensible.”
If circumstances compel you to be in an unsafe area, stay alert, ‘foreseeing danger.’ Walk and act with purpose, as if someone is waiting for you. Avoid walking alone, especially at night. Stay in well-lighted areas if possible. Do not walk near buildings, but next to the curb. If you see someone suspicious ahead or apparently following you, cross to the other side of the street. If he follows, step out into the street. If ever danger is imminent, call for help.
It is best for a woman not to carry a purse; if she must, do not let it dangle at arm’s length. Some men carry two wallets, one with their valuables, the other with “mugger money,” a few dollars for a possible assailant. It is wise always to have money with you should you be threatened. Addicts have been known to kill in anger when persons did not have money.
Protecting Yourself When Attacked
If, despite your alertness, you should be attacked and your money demanded, what will you do? Are money and jewelry worth more than your life? Many believe that it is the wisest thing to give the thief what he demands. Carrying a weapon will only enrage an assailant and possibly bring harm to you. Operation On Guard, published by the Los Angeles, California, district attorney’s office, advises:
“Every law enforcement agency is in agreement that it is best not to carry any weapon. The carrying of many types of weapons on your person or in your car could make you criminally liable under the deadly weapons control law. A weapon in the hands of a victim can too easily be taken away and used to render severe injury or death upon the victim. The criminal is usually only interested in escape. If you attack with a weapon you put him on the defensive and he may feel he must kill to escape. It is strongly urged that you carry no type of weapon, tear gas, gun, vegetable knife, hat pin, etc.”
This does not mean that a woman should give in to a sexual assault. In that case, her virginity or virtue and bodily cleanness are involved. What is the best thing she can do if attacked?
“If a woman is attacked while she walks along the street,” a Toronto Star article quotes Deputy Police Chief Bernard Simmonds as saying, “the best thing she can do is cry out loudly for help.”
Yes, scream! This is wise advice and stands in contrast with the growing number who encourage women passively to allow themselves to be raped, or to bargain with the rapist for their lives. But, if a woman allows a man to rape her, how does she know that he will not kill her afterward?
Interestingly, in God’s law to Israel the primary distinction between rape and consent was whether a woman screamed for help. In modern cities onlookers have been known to watch as a woman was raped, assuming she was consenting to an act of exhibitionism since she did not scream or otherwise resist her attacker.—Read the Biblical law at Deuteronomy 22:23-29
So there is protection in following the Bible’s proverb of ‘foreseeing danger.’ Stay alert. Sensibly ‘hide,’ that is, act to avert possible financial or bodily harm to yourself and family.
At the same time, however, realize that crime will no doubt continue to rise. While precaution is in order, do not be so paralyzed with fear that you fail to carry out the necessary activities of life. Know, too, that the final, sure answer to the crime problem is rapidly approaching!
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The way you dress can actually contribute to criminal assault!
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Is a few dollars worth more than your life? You show how you feel by what you do when threatened with robbery
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If a woman is sexually attacked, the best thing she can do is SCREAM!