Crime prevention is the least a state can do for its citizens; it is a logical and legitimately justified process, which calls for considerable resources committed to risk assessment and management, as well as for a unified societal effort. Victimization prevention, on the other hand, is largely in the hands of every individual. When the situation turns into hazard, no governmental efforts are capable of protecting an individual person’s property, health, or life. The purpose of this brochure, therefore, is to provide the reader with some information on how they can protect themselves. This brochure will outline some basic notions of risk management and assessment and crime and victimization prevention; additionally, it will provide the reader with some basic strategies of daily risk management and include sources for making individual research.
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The role of risk management and risk reduction strategies in everyday life
As some interdisciplinary risk management research illustrates, there is some contradiction in daily risk management strategies; these are subdivided into rational and irrational ones as follows:
|Managing||rational strategies, e.g…||irrational strategies, e.g…|
|risk by…||Weighing of advantages and disadvantages; calculating, etc.||Hope and faith.|
|negative outcomes by…||Precautionary measures, insurance.||Avoidance.|
Within the irrational dimension of risk management, emotions such as fear and anxiety exist. En masse, the fear can put its grip on the whole societies – something that is known as “social fear” of crime (Hope & Sparks, 2012). At the baseline, social, as well as personal fear (an irrational strategy) is a phenomenon that necessitates risk management and reduction.
The overarching goal of risk management is to reduce and prevent any type of hazard a person can encounter. The role of risk management and risk reduction in daily living is significant: it helps prevent and mitigate possible damage to your property, dignity, health, well-being, or life. Everyday risk assessment and management include making plans for investment, nurture non-toxic relationships, eat healthily, etc.
In contrast to solely personal risk, crime management and prevention can apply to both personal and social well-being. In an attempt to reduce delinquency, criminologists use large amounts of data to define priorities, develop action plans, and manage risks. Although crime prevention and victimization prevention seem to denote similar notions, some difference exists.
Crime and victimization prevention
Preventing crime – just as any governmental goal such as eliminating poverty, creating jobs, and providing citizens with shelter and food – require a social effort. In other words, the reduction of crime rates in general calls for collective action on all levels of society – and funding from the government. Victimization prevention is concerned with the personal aspect of the issue. For an individual – or a small group of individuals – not to become victims of a crime, individual measures are taken. These involve, namely:
- risk assessment;
- security audits to identify weaknesses;
- “target hardening” or increasing the potential victim’s protection to complexify the offender’s task;
- other strategies to make the potential victimless attractive to criminals (Hope & Sparks, 2012).
Individual victimization prevention involves common strategies that are applicable in a variety of cases. For example, although the global rates of household crimes and domestic violence have dropped in recent years, new ways of abuse emerge, such as forceful tattooing and branding the partners and coercing them into pregnancy (Hope & Sparks, 2012). Home abuse victimization prevention, therefore, is undertaken by each individual alone.
Individual risk management and victimization prevention is a point of concern in the present brochure. Specifically, it is going to focus on murder risk management and prevention in the context of Hughesville, MD.
Signature crimes in Maryland, 2015
|#||Location||Victim||Offender||Victim-offender relationships||Weapons||Additional circumstances|
|1||Acquasco||Police officers||Gene Thomas Brandon Jr., 31||The offender stated officers had killed his relative||Dump truck||No fatalities; offender charged with attempted murder|
|2||Silver Spring||95-year-old nursing home resident, retired Navy officer||Eric S. Dyson, 60||They were fellow residents. Dyson was later recorded to use the victim’s credit card||Sharp objects||The victim received multiple sharp force injuries|
|3||Montgomery County||Pastor||A 38-year old male||Pastor was asked to pray over the offender who reported to hear voices||N/A||The victim was suffocated|
|4||Charles County||The offender’s former friend||Trevon Deshawn Chisley, 19||The friend was stabbed in a parking lot||Knife||The offender allegedly committed the stabbing in November 2014; in 2015, he stole two guns from his relative|
|5||Montgomery County||A Georgetown law student||Rahul Gupta, 25||The victim was stabbed 11 times||Knife||Gupta tried to put the blame on his girlfriend|
|6||Prince George’s County||Police officers||Anthony Ernest Skinner, 33||The offender sped his car towards an officer who was out of his||Car||The offender was charged with an attempted homicide|
|7||Lanham||A 23-month-old toddler||Joshua Riley, 29||Riley was in a relationship with the toddler’s mother and was left at their apartment with the child||Blunt object||The child was found unresponsive by his mother and reported to have died from applied blunt force|
No homicide instances were reported to occur in Hughesville in 2015, as newspaper archive research revealed. This figure was supported by the information found elsewhere online; the figure for 2014 is 0 murders as well, with property crimes and larceny as the most popular crimes taking place (Crime Statistics For 20637, 2016). Overall, Hughesville appears to be a peaceful place but that does not mean its citizens should not be aware of the danger. Quite on the contrary: the number and the circumstances of some murders and murder attempts occurring in Maryland in 2015 demonstrate the threat is tangible.
As one can see from the chart, the demographic profiles and the circumstances of murder may vary. Of all the people either murdered or having escaped homicide in Maryland, police officers fall under threat. The circumstances coincide remarkably – in both instances, we have managed to find, the offenders attempted to use their vehicles as weapons. Another category of potential or actual victims is the elderly and children – those who cannot protect themselves in the face of danger. Other victims cannot be categorized as easily since their age, gender, and circumstances of death demonstrate some variance.
The murderers, on the other hand, are more easily classifiable. Among those enlisted in local newspapers, none were from Hughesville and none were women. The criminals are, therefore, mostly male; they fall within the age category of 19-38 years, with one occasion when the offender was an elderly person. None of the cases that we found feature hate crimes or any other instances of extremism. Rather, the majority of the crimes were committed on a domestic basis. The murderers tend to use knives and other sharp objects as their weapons of choice; another popular weapon category is vehicles (SoMDNews: Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, 2016).
Thus, the most probable victim of murder in Maryland is a police officer. Another vulnerable category is likely to be elderly persons and infants – those who cannot stand up to the offender. It is possible that the offender will be a male person aged between 19 and 38. Because the said murders were largely casual, it is hard to predict any causal circumstances. But although an unpredictable danger is all the more feasible, there is an alarming tendency in the offenders’ and victims’ relationships. In the majority of reported cases, over Maryland, the murderer and the victim were acquainted or in a close relationship (except the cases where police officers were involved). The murder, therefore, can rather happen on personal motives than on any other.
The hazard coming from one of the friends or acquaintances appears quite inconceivable, but in such cases, in fact, occur more often than one might think. Still, there are some ways to reduce the risks and sources to refer to.
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What you can do to reduce risks
The most obvious solution would be to eliminate toxic relationships whatsoever. Despite the anguish of it, in case an acquaintance is involved, the breach of contract can be the only way out. However, and more often than not, an immediate breach is impossible. If you think one of your close friends or loved ones might be a criminal, try talking to them first. If you feel such a conversation is impossible, find another friend, refer to your parents, or anyone else you can confide in. If this does not apply in your case, you can refer to Maryland Crime Prevention Association (Maryland Crime Prevention Association, Inc., 2016). Remember, if you feel the situation is getting out of control, it is best for your friend or loved one if you report. This is specifically relevant in case you are being harassed and are subjected to any forms of psychological or physical violence. If such is the case, you should report immediately.
Apart from one’s friends, crimes committed on a casual basis are frequent. One cannot judge people by their appearance but following your intuition can save your life at some point. If you feel you are being followed, you might be the target of a stalker. As with the crimes listed above, stalkers are usually your acquaintances who only crave your attention. Nevertheless, it is hard to predict the motives of a person stalking you; robbery, violence, and homicide can be among them. To find out more about stalking and what to do if you feel you are being stalked, you can look through some brochures (Stalking is a Crime, n.d.).
As the statistics demonstrate, Hughesville has been a murder-free community for the last couple of years. Still, one should always remember to take precautionary measures to ensure the peace lasts as long as it is possible. Assessing and managing your risks rationally can be hard at times, especially when your friends, loved ones, and relatives are concerned. However, when you are aware of your risks and are capable of timely and adequate risk-management, you can be sure you have done everything you can for personal safety.
Crime Statistics For 20637. (2016). Web.
Hope, T., & Sparks, R. (2012). Crime, Risk, and Insecurity: Law and Order in Everyday Life and Political Discourse. New York, NY: Routledge.
Maryland Crime Prevention Association, Inc. (2016). Web.
SoMDNews: Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. (2016). Web.
Stalking is a Crime. (n.d.). Web.
Zinn, J. O. (2008). Heading into the unknown: Everyday strategies for managing risk and uncertainty. Health Risk & Society, 5, 439-450.