Violent crime rates are trending downward, but business owners should still be vigilant and take measures to protect their property.
After rising for two straight years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the country declined slightly from last year’s total, and the downward trend continued for property crimes for the fifth year in a row, according to the FBI’s 2007 edition of Crime in the United States.
This is a bit of good news for all Americans, but it is especially good news for small business people, who are often the victims of violent and property crime.
The 2007 crime statistics released on September 15th, show that the estimated volume of violent crime was down 0.7 percent, and the estimated volume of property crime decreased 1.4 percent in 2007 when compared with 2006 figures.
Crime in the United States is a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The FBI collects this data each year through the Uniform Crime (UCR) program.
The UCR lists violent crimes as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes are listed as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The UCR also collects data for additional crimes, excluding traffic violations.
The FBI reports that in 2007 more than 17,700 city, county, college and university, state, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR program. According to the FBI’s 2007 report, 1,408,337 violent crimes were reported nationwide. There were an estimated 9,843,481 property crimes. The FBI estimated that law enforcement agencies nationwide made 14,209,365 arrests in 2007, excluding traffic offenses.
Speaking before the House Judiciary Committee back in April, FBI director Robert S. Mueller, III noted that after the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon the FBI to charted a new course with national security at the forefront. Mueller told the committee that in order to meet the FBI’s national security mission, they had to shift personnel and resources, but the FBI remains committed to their major criminal responsibilities.
“While Americans justifiably worry about terrorism, it is crime that most directly touches their lives,” Mueller said. “We will continue to focus on those areas where we bring something unique to the table and to target those criminal threats against which we have the most substantial and lasting impact.”
While one can applaud the good efforts of the FBI and local, state and other federal law enforcement agencies, as well as those who aid the police through organizations like business watches, town watches, and other community and civic groups, we cannot become complacent due to the reported downward trend of reported crime.
As business people you must take security measures to protect your person and property. By simply installing an alarm system, interior and exterior lighting, and posting security signs, you greatly reduce your chances of being victimized.
You can also fight crime by joining a business watch or other business and community organizations. You should also work closely with your local police department. Most police departments have active crime prevention programs, and this is a free resource that business people should investigate.