When people think about disaster preparedness how much time is spent considering Crime Prevention? Disaster Preparedness brings to mind gathering clothes, food, water, medications, flashlights, and other emergency supplies that may be needed during and after a disaster. Time may be spent on preparing for evacuation or having to shelter in place. These are important considerations but unfortunately citizens must also prepare for the possibility of becoming the victim of a crime during or after the disaster. People need to consider being proactive in order to prevent burglars, thieves, con-artists, and other criminals from taking advantage of emergency conditions present during or immediately following a disaster.
For example, after Hurricane Katrina struck, the Mobile County District Attor-ney’s Office reported nearly 1000 cases of Identity Theft, Fraud, Theft, White Collar Crimes, Price Gouging, Narcotics, and Violent Crimes they considered to be "post-disaster" crime. In Colorado Springs during the Waldo Canyon Fire the Police Department documented 42 home burglary cases in evacuated areas and 43 burglaries to motor vehicles belonging to evacuation victims from June 23 - July 4, 2012, before the fire was even out!
These are just two examples of how criminal predators take advantage of citizens during times of disaster. Criminals see the chaotic circumstances created by disasters as criminal opportunities and will prey on disaster victims in numerous ways. The following sections of this document will detail some of the common crimes seen during and after disasters and will explain some options for consideration that may prevent or mitigate criminal opportunities during times of emergency.
The attached PDF will help prevent Disaster Crime.
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