Some Violent Crimes Increase Around the Holidays
Crime seems to be everywhere these days. One cannot turn on the nightly news without seeing a story about a robbery, burglary, murder, or some other violent crime. But just how prevalent is crime in our community? Many fear the worst and anticipate crime sprees increasing, especially with the holiday season quickly approaching. Every year we seem to hear a story around this time of someone shopping for the holidays and all of their purchases being stolen. Are we really putting ourselves in danger, just by going shopping?
Overall, Las Vegas Crime is on the Decline
According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Uniform Crime Reporting 2013 Report, overall crime in Nevada might be on the decline. The Department reports that the Nevada Crime Rate for 2013 was 30.46 per 1,000 residents in Nevada. This is a slight decrease from 34.18 per 1,000 residents in 2012 and a significant decrease from 44.98 per 1,000 people nearly ten years ago, in 2004. This is great news overall, but what about how crime is affecting our citizens on a daily basis? Are we safer today than we were yesterday or last month? Does the time of year affect our safety? Many reports have indicated seasonal patterns do exist and we should be aware of what the coming winter months mean for Nevadans.
Burglaries, Robberies and Rapes Increase Around the Holidays
Most research suggests crime increases in summer months. It is during this time of year that people are outside the most often, leaving their homes unoccupied. Additionally, people are hot, sweaty, and generally grumpy because of the extreme temperatures. However, what about the winter months? When it is cold and everyone stays inside as much as possible. Most studies suggest a drop in overall crime rates due to this fact, but interestingly, there seems to be an increase in specific, more personal crimes. For instance, in 2013, the number of burglaries, on average, was higher between September and January. Similarly, between September and January 2013, the number of robberies and rapes, on average, were higher than between February and August. On the other hand, in 2013, murders, motor vehicle thefts, and arson occurred less frequently during the winter months, on average. This suggests that as it gets colder out, the number of random crimes, outdoor crimes, and crimes of opportunity seem to decrease, but the number of crimes committed against individuals, that are typically more deliberate, seem to increase.
What does all this mean for the average Nevadan? Know that crime can occur at any time and in any place. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is be crime smart. The National Crime Prevention Counsel suggests people not go out late at night or early in the morning when many places are empty or, if you do go out, try to take someone with you. Additionally, park in well-lit areas, do not display your money, and only take the money you need with you as you go out. Most importantly, always stay aware of your surroundings no matter what time of year it may be. For more information on how to protect yourself from crimes, you can visit the National Crime Prevention Counsel’s website at: http://www.ncpc.org/topics/violent-crime-and-personal-safety; or visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website at: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety.