Most Women are Victimized by Someone they Know: Crime Prevention

Crime in America.Net Staff

We get lots of inquiries from people as to their chances for violent crime. Many come from women who, according to research, have higher rates of fear of crime. 

The good news is that violent crime is decreasing in the United States. The other positive is that women are learning to take control of their circumstances and are limiting their vulnerability.

But the most important ingredient in violent victimization is often our actions and the choices we make.

It’s unfortunate that most news coverage of women victims reinforces a stereotype about strangers and public places.  Forty-nine percent of non-stranger violent crimes are not reported to police. So what we hear on the news is not necessarily representative of what really happens.

More women understand that they are victimized by someone they know and that most victimizations take place indoors than in public places. That knowledge is keeping women safer.

All of us engaged in riskier behavior when we were younger and I’m not judging behavior we engaged in ourselves.  But where we go and who we associate with can determine our risk.

Women are usually victimized by someone they know. Who you associate with and what you do are primary considerations. Sexual assaults usually take place indoors, so who you let into your home or apartment (or where you go) is crucial.

Consider the following statistics from the US Department of Justice:

  • Victims knew their offenders in about 5 in 10 violent crimes against men and 7 in 10 violent crimes against women


  • In 2008 females experienced about 552,000 nonfatal violent victimizations (rape/sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated or simple assault) by an intimate partner (a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend).


What to Do

Simply being with someone else who is a trusted friend reduces your chances for violent victimization dramatically. Commute, work, shop, party and travel with others.

If you choose to be alone with someone you are not sure of, tell a friend where you are; have that friend call. Develop a code word that keeps the friend calling if necessary. Drive there, don’t be driven there.  

Risky behavior is associated with drug and alcohol use. Making yourself vulnerable is asking for trouble. If you choose to drink, have a trusted friend to both drive and watch over you.

Having a cell phone at the ready and not hesitating to call the police (or threaten to call the police) is a tactic that works.

Most criminal offenders are looking for easy opportunities. Don’t be one. Staying in command of any situation is key. Your demeanor is important. How you handle difficult situations may impact your safety.

No advice is going to work in every situation. Don’t hesitate ask police for advice. Go to and see the heading marked “Crime Prevention Tips” for comprehensive information or go to

The information I offer is the same I gave to my wife and daughters. It kept them safe and I hope it works for you.

Crime in America.Net staff

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