Aaaahhh! I woke up this morning to chirping birds, blue sunny skies, and warm temperatures. I jumped into my shorts and tank top and pulled my flip-flops from the closet. Spring means renewal for me; my mood brightens and my energy comes back. The bear is out of the cave!
The change of weather means something to criminals, too, and sometimes we forget that. Oh, happy day, for the serial killer on the bike path, the scantily clothed female joggers are out. Spring break? Woo hoo! Young college girls, high and happy, fueled by youthful optimism and fearlessness, out and about in bulk. More people are out on the streets, in bars, in parks, on beaches, running, walking, driving, hiking.....victims, victims everywhere. Trolling is easier for the rapist, serial killer, or robber because he isn't being made miserable standing in the freezing cold waiting and waiting for some hapless victim to come by.
In a fascinating study done years ago in 1912, Cesare Lombroso found that crimes against people occurred more in the summer months. Even rebellions broke out far more often in hot weather than in, and if you traveled to South America in January when it is summer for them, you might want to check for rumbles of civil unrest before you go. Gangbangers and thugs love the summer months, too, raising the rate of drive-bys, robberies, violent assaults, and gang rapes.
In the United States, property crimes increase as well. More folks are enjoying outdoor activities, leaving their homes unattended and ripe for burglary. The increase of window and doors being left open or unlocked in residential homes or businesses makes for easy access for criminals. We also bring more workers onto our property in the warmer months. Home improvement fellows, painters, gutter cleaners, yard workers....most of those we employ we really know nothing about and we invite them onto our property and into our houses. There are a good number with criminal backgrounds because construction workers, handymen, and temporary employees can often get work without many questions being asked (burglar window washer Matthew Bell on left). Some run their own business and advertise on index card with the phone number fringe at the local grocery store, and others are picked up as day laborers from the parking lot of a 7-11 or Home Depot and brought over in a truck. They can steal while they are on the job or they can case the place and come back later. Some unlock windows before they leave so they can access the residence later that night.
And let's not forget about our children. They love the warm weather, too! Now they are out and about on their bicycles, riding around alone just for the joy of it, riding to their friend's house, walking to and from stores and play dates, playing in the park, and swimming at the water hole. Some children are left alone for more hours in the summer because of they are out of school and their parents still need to work. Summer makes children all the more vulnerable and available.
There is one advantage the summer months have for improving our safety. If you are looking for an apartment or house to rent or buy, don't go check out the place during the day or in the winter. It always looks quiet. Drive on by in the evening during hot weather and you may find that peaceful looking brick building you admired during the workday or that tree-lined neighborhood where you saw that cute little house is now teaming with thugs and drug dealers.
My time of year is here and I love every minute of it, but I want to encourage all of you to stay safe. Remember, ladies, when you go jogging alone, even during the day, it only takes a minute for a sexual predator to leap out of the bushes and drag you off to your demise. Be sure you go running where there are lots of people, and criminals know there are too many witnesses. Be careful when you go partying and drinking, don't let the booze lower your inhibitions and disconnect your internal creep alert alarm, and stay with a group. Keep an eye on your children, don't leave them unattended, and be sure they aren't running around the neighborhood alone if they are not big enough to defend themselves. And do your best to check out who you let do work on your house, make sure you don't have valuables laying around, and be sure all your doors and windows are locked when the workers leave your property.
Happy Easter and Spring Break to all! Keep safe!