We often hear that victims of violent crime are more likely to know their attackers than to be the victim of a random act of violence. LegalMatch case data, covering intake reports from all 50 states over the past 12 months, appears to bear this out.
According to our case data, the most common responses prospective clients gave when asked about the identity of their attacker was “someone I know” or “a family member”.
This runs contrary to the image that many members of the public have with respect to violent crime; a crazed stranger jumps out of the bushes, assaults their victim, and runs off. While random acts of violence certainly occur, they are comparatively rare, and it seems that many people spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about them, given how unlikely they are to occur to a given person.
This is not to say that people shouldn’t take common-sense precautions to reduce the risk of violent crime committed by strangers. These include minimizing time spent alone, outside, at night. Other measures, such as traveling in groups, and sticking to well-lit areas, are also advisable. It might also be helpful, if you are comfortable doing so, to carry some kind of non-lethal defensive weapon, such as pepper spray (but be sure to check your local laws on this).
However, what might be overlooked are conditions that could lead to the more likely scenario: violent crime committed by acquaintances or family members of the victim. The ways to minimize these risks are not nearly as simple as the ones discussed above.
There aren’t many clear-cut ways to avoid violent crime by acquaintances, unless you want to become a hermit. Since that isn’t an option for most people, the situation is complicated.
Not being in a position to give relationship advice, this should be taken with a grain of salt, but it seems that things such as relationship counseling and getting out of abusive relationships (easier said than done) would be helpful in reducing such incidents. Eliminating violent crime altogether is not possible, but any reduction is a good thing.
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