Although overall crime rates may be falling in our neighborhoods, individual robberies and aggravated assaults seem to be defying the trend.

So far this year, 396 individual robberies have been reported, compared with 356 last year at this time. Also 504 aggravated assaults have been reported, exactly the same number as last year during the comparable period.

What does this mean for you?

Be aware of where you are and who is around you. Easier said than done, you say? Not really. Here are a few tips to help:

Stay Alert: Be observant of your surroundings; who’s in front and behind you. If you’re worried about crime, ask a friend to accompany you, when possible.

Communicate Confidence: Stand tall, walk purposefully and make quick eye contact with the people around you. It’s a fact: Criminals are less likely to attack someone who looks them in the eye.

Trust Your Instincts: If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.

Know Your Neighborhood and Neighbors: Is your route to and from home safe? Learn which stores and restaurants remain open late, as well as the locations of fire and police stations. If you need help, this information will come in handy.

Working Late? Lock your office door, stay close to a phone and don’t wander into other parts of the building. And try to work late on nights when you aren’t the only one in the office.

Elevator Tips: If you plan a late-night elevator ride, call building security and let them know you are coming down. Before entering the elevator, check for suspicious people and, once aboard, stand near the controls so you can push an alarm, if necessary. If someone suspicious boards the elevator, get off and wait for the next car.

Most of all, use common sense to help avoid becoming another statistic.

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