The Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County want to remind our community that with the increase in the summer temperatures, there is also an increase in violence. Scholarly research such as “Heat and Violence” by Craig Anderson with the Department of Psychology for Iowa State University, demonstrates the correlation between these two variables. In the study, there was no information regarding the direct correlation between domestic violence or sexual assault and the temperature but instead includes all forms of violent crime. However, using RCC data, we can see that the increases found by Anderson mirror the kind of increases that we see here at Resource and Crisis Center.
In 2012, the Resource and Crisis Center averaged about 68 new clients per month through our Victims Services Program. This program includes both adult and child victims that come through either our shelter or non-residential services. Furthermore, if we look at the months that are traditionally the hottest, we see that the numbers are well above average. July is particularly high at nearly 67% above our average and more than twice the totals for our cooler months.
Knowing this, it is important that during these months, we reach out to each other for help and guidance so that we can prevent such violence. Additionally, we would like to encourage our community to be safe and use these tips to decrease your risk of being impacted by violence.
Protecting Yourself at Home, in Your Room or Apartment
- Lock your door, even when you intend to return home shortly or even if you are close by.
- Do not leave your phone or computer unattended in public places.
- Lock or secure doors and windows when you are alone or asleep.
- Keep emergency numbers by your phone.
- Do not leave messages on your door.
- Do not let strangers enter your home.
- Do not prop open outer doors.
- If someone asks to use your phone for an emergency, offer to call for them instead of allowing them access to your residence.
- Do not put your address on your key ring.
- Know your neighbors.
- Do not leave keys in hiding places. Thieves will find them.
- Call 911 to report suspicious persons or activity in or around your neighborhood.
- Keep automatic teller machine (ATM) cards in a safe place and keep your PIN number secret. When possible, only use ATMs during the day and when others are present.
- Instead of carrying large sums of cash use a credit or debit card.
- If you find yourself in immediate danger, call 911; try to stay calm and get away at the first opportunity.
Protect Yourself When Walking
- Avoid walking alone at night unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep to well lit, commonly traveled routes.
- Avoid shortcuts and dark, isolated areas.
- Walk purposefully, know where you are going, project a non-nonsense image.
- Avoid potentially dangerous situations.
- If you feel threatened, cross the street, locate an emergency phone, or enter a store or place of business even if you have just left it.
- Have your door keys ready; carry them in your pockets, not buried in a purse.
Protect Your Car, Bicycle or Moped
- Always lock your car and roll up the windows.
- When entering your vehicle, lock the doors as soon as you shut them.
- Lock bikes to immovable objects or bike racks with hardened alloy locks and chains or U-shaped lock.
- Do not leave tempting valuables or property visible inside the car. Lock these items in the trunk.
- Look into your car before getting in. Lock doors and roll up windows once inside for protection.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Always keep your cell phone charged and keep a car charger in your vehicle.
- Drive to a police or fire station or open place of business if you feel you are being followed.
- Do not stop to help occupants of stopped or disabled vehicles. Continue driving to the nearest phone and call for assistance for them.
- Raise the hood, then lock yourself into your car if it breaks down. If someone stops and offers you help, remain in your car and ask them to phone for help. Do not worry about seeming rude.