If you live in the US, you've got a 1 in 5 chance of becoming a crime victim in the next 12 months. In the UK and much of Europe, the rate is 1 in 4 or worse. Australia or New Zealand? Nearly one out of every 3 people will be victimized within a year. These facts come from respected research publisher, Nationmaster.com.
The facts are unavoidable. You or someone close to you will likely soon be the target of a robbery, burglary, car theft, even a physical attack or sexual assault.
And there's more unsettling news. The numbers don't begin to account for all the fraud, scams and computer crimes the modern underworld throws at us every day. No one even knows the full extent of the problem. Add in the estimates, though, and the likelihood that you'll be victimized in the next year shoots up past fifty-fifty.
Unfortunately, law enforcement can't help until after the crime's been committed.
The cold hard truth about crime is: it's up to you to do whatever you can to protect yourself and look out for your family.
The 21st Century Solution to this Growing Problem
I came across these crime-rate facts while doing my work as a professional writer and researcher. I admit I was stunned.
When I looked into the subject more deeply, two findings emerged which can help us avoid victimization.
First, criminals are frequently repeat offenders. Their past crimes leave a trail. The good news is, in the age of the Internet, access to that trail is available. The information is out there to help us protect ourselves.
Second, criminals often show up in our lives before they attack us. We know them in some way. Not necessarily on a personal basis, but through work or shopping or hired help or through an online connection. Many times we're being cased. Our value as a target is being coldly calculated. Our living patterns are being studied: when we're home and when we're not; when we're alone.
As much as that may make your skin crawl, it should also give you hope. It means you have a chance to identify others who could possibly be threats. You have the opportunity to investigate them before anything happens.
That's where your computer and the Internet can play a huge role. If you're like most people, though, you probably don't realize just how much information is available to you - especially about criminals. I was familiar with background checking sites from my work. I'd just never thought of using this kind of service as a crime deterrent. Turns out that such services are premier sources for the kind of information that can help keep us safe.
Secrets Once Hidden that You Can Now Find Out While Sitting at Your Computer
It used to be expensive to check into someone's background to see if they were hiding anything. You had to hire a private detective or go through some expensive reporting agency. Not today - not with Background Check databases so readily available to us.
Sometimes referred to as Internet Detective sites, or Personal Search sites, these web-based search services give you the low-down on all kinds of formerly-hidden information.
The general search engines like Google or Yahoo aren't good places to search for criminal history. Use one of the private databases instead. There may be a small fee but it's usually tiny compared to the value you're getting in return.
You want a service that lets you make complete criminal background checks and gives you access to information like:
Below I detail the kinds of background checks you can and should be making to help keep you and your family safer...
Run Criminal Background Checks on People You Do Business With
Any time you're dealing with someone you don't know, you should run a quick check to see if they have any criminal history. Always get identification. Always check to make sure you're dealing with someone you can trust.
In Central Florida, flyers for a pressure-washing service were a front for a burglar. If the victims had simply gotten identification before hiring the young man in the t-shirt, they would have discovered he had a history of burglaries. It's probable that just asking for identification would have chased him off.
Run a Criminal Background Check on People You Meet Socially - ESPECIALLY ONLINE!
A Pasadena woman discovered that a man she met online through a dating service had already spent time in jail for defrauding other widows just like her. In fact, he was violating his parole just being in California! She turned him in -- right after she made him pay for what he didn't realize would be their last romantic dinner. Unbelievably, he tried to continue the relationship by writing her from prison!
Criminal Check Anyone Who Has Contact with Your Children
One of the most troubling trends of our times is the increase in sex offenses against children. It's amazing so many parents continue to entrust their children to others without first checking them out. Use the search services to check out your baby sitter, nanny, au pair, day care center and staff, and even school teachers and workers. You can also search geographically to find out if known sex offenders live near you and where.
Other Criminal History Checks You Can Make
You assume your employer is legitimate but that could be a mistake. Find out for sure about people you work for. Do they have a troubling past or illegal activity in their background? While you're at it, check out your work associates.
You should also check into the background of any medical providers, physicians, clinics, hospitals and nursing homes you rely on. Investigate local government officials, your landlord, tenants for property you rent, even the people asking for money at churches and charities. Money attracts criminals who sometimes use good organizations to hide misdeeds.
The truth is that we live in a threatening world. Fortunately, you can use 21st century technology to better protect yourself and your family. Review the Personal Search services on the Internet and pick one that suits you. Use it regularly. The world is only going to get more threatening.
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