The holidays are traditionally a time for peace, joy, and family gatherings. For most Americans, the worst complaints are about family friction. But for the men and women in law enforcement, this year threatens to be marred by increased violence, arson, shootings, and riots so safety precautions need to be put into place.
If we are to take media reports and statistics at face value, it would appear that violent crime largely declines during the winter holidays. For example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics published these key takeaways.
- Household crimes tended to be higher in the summer than during other seasons of the year.
- Though rates of motor vehicle theft tended to be lower in the spring than in the summer, there were few regular differences between summer, fall, and winter rates.
- Aggravated assault rates were higher during the summer than during the winter, spring, and fall.
- Simple assault rates were higher during the fall than during other seasons of the year.
- When seasonal variations were found for violent victimization, the differences between the rates of the highest and lowest seasons were less than 12 percent.
The issue for everyday people and police officers isn’t whether past statistics can predict the coming months. The primary problem revolves around the surge in violence across cities that threatens to spike without warning.
Violence in 2020 Points To Dangerous Holiday Season
Statisticians like to tout their numbers as a way to predict the future. Rather than look back to the less volatile year’s data, consider more recent holidays such as the Fourth of July. Incidents of gun violence soared across the U.S., killing approximately 160 and wounding upwards of 500 in just two days.
Cities such as Chicago have been hotbeds of gun violence. Nearly 650 people have been killed through October and that number represents an increase of 192 deaths above all of 2019, according to reports. The Windy City is on pace to shatter the recorded number of shooting deaths before New Year’s Day. Other communities are also experiencing increased gun violence and unpredictable riots that result in looting, arson, and felony-level assault. The key takeaway from more recent history is that community members and law enforcement need to exercise extreme caution and take safety precautions during the holidays.
Safety Tips for Community Members During Public Holidays
It’s not necessary to hide inside during this time of year. There are precautions that can reduce the chance of becoming a victim. When shopping or participating in outdoor activities, these are some safety tips that could prove invaluable.
- Remain aware of your surroundings at all times, even if you are in a familiar place or feel comfortable.
- Avoid places that lend themselves to potential crime, such as relatively empty parks, or unlit streets and parking lots at night, among others.
- Traveling in groups dramatically reduces the chance of becoming a victim.
- Do not attempt to pass through even seemingly peaceful protests. You never know if there are agitators present with bad intent.
There are also some common sense practices that you can take to increase safety. For instance, have your keys ready to unlock and start your car. Fumbling with keys can put you at risk if a criminal is nearby. And like any season, never expose cash, wallets, purses, jewelry, and other valuables if you can help it. The good news for holiday shoppers and revelers is that police officers will work tirelessly to keep people safe.
Police Officers at Heightened Safety Risk During Holidays
In previous years, police presence was a major deterrent to robbery, assault, and crimes committed in open spaces. This year, the brave men and women who form the thin blue line must consider increased safety precautions of their own. Officers would be well-served to partner during patrols and respond to calls in pairs whenever possible. In terms of safeguards against bodily harm, personal protective gear will be at a premium. These are items officers would be wise to wear during even routine patrols as safety precautions can never be too extreme.
Lightweight Riot Gear to Protect Torso
Patrol with a Riot Helmet Within Arm’s Length
Flexible, Stab-Resistant Riot Suit with Plates to Protect Extremities
Wear & Activate Body Cam when Responding to Incidents
Replace Common Gloves and Get Kevlar Products for Your Department
Law enforcement officials may also be best served by carrying non-lethal force tools such as batons. The good people who have sworn to protect and serve deserve only the best personal protective gear available. Haven Gear supplies next-generation protective wear that help community police officers complete their shifts and enjoy the holidays with their families.