It’s Saturday, you’re waiting in line at the checkout in a busy store just looking around and odds are that any one of the people waiting in line with you, have been a crime victim at least once. This is one crime statistic it would be all too easy to ignore.
Recent data indicates that for every twelve Americans, eight will be a victim of a crime at least one time, possibly more, in their lives. “Nah, no way.” You say to yourself, eying the Hershey bars, “Everyone looks so … well… normal.” Well, exactly! Just what should a crime victim look like?
When we see the words “crime victim,” most of us are thinking this means victims of violent crimes like assault, armed robbery, rape, even abduction. Obviously, this type of experience will leave visible scars, right? Well, yes, and no, and not necessarily; but that’s another discussion for another day.
Not Just Violent Crime
The violent crimes that grab the headlines are in-your-face stuff, the visible chunk of the iceberg – out there for all to see. But many of the crimes that affect millions of Americans each year are the submerged portion of the iceberg. The Office for Victims of Crime reports that millions are victimized each year by financial schemes, frauds and identity theft.
Every day, consumers become the targets of get-rich-quick scams, fake investment rip-offs, foreign lottery cons, telemarketing fraud, Internet swindles and identity theft. These criminals are amazingly successful, pocketing millions of hard-earned dollars, leaving destroyed lives and devastated crime victims in their wake.
Here at Safe Residence, having been crime victims ourselves, we think everyone should have the tools and information to be proactive, not paranoid. One crime that crosses the spectrum of criminality is identity theft; as more crooks recognize that identity information is becoming a sale-able commodity, it’s increasingly connected to burglaries, home invasions and armed robbery.
According to the Better Business Bureau, over ten million Americans were the victims of identity theft in 2012 with losses in excess of fifty billion dollars. As a developing statistic, it’s concerning because it’s increasingly linked to residential crime and particularly home break-ins.
Victim’s Bill of Rights
A significant emotional response victims report in the aftershock of a crime is a powerful feeling of helplessness. Isolated by the crime, many are financially shattered and feel that they are somehow to blame. If you’ve been a victim of financial crime, identity theft or another crime, you don’t have to cope with the consequences alone. Numerous professionals and counselors are available offering care and guidance to help victims better understand their options.
Many aren’t aware that there are laws in place designed to protect victims and aid them in the recovery process. The criminal justice system provides a platform for the victims of crimes as laid out in the Federal Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights was created to ensure crime victims have the opportunity to be heard and be given access to assistance. Most states echo this Bill of Rights with victims’ rights laws for cases falling under the jurisdiction of local criminal justice systems.
All crimes have a devastating impact on the victims. If your home has been broken into, even if you’re not there when it happens, your personal haven has been invaded. If your identity has been compromised, the fallout can last longer because, in a sense, you lose yourself. Months or even years later, you may have to deal with some action “you” took or expense “you” incurred as a consequence of the crime.
Beef Up Your Security
After the “standard” procedures such as reporting stolen items to the police, insurance company, etc. take steps towards feeling secure again. Work to improve your home security; get all the information you can, read the blogs on SafeResidence and other leading security websites and take note of any recommendations you can action.
Whatever security weaknesses were highlighted by the crime, lose them. Jack up your security and bring attention to the changes.