It isn’t that robbers are around every corner. But they do take us by surprise and they can target anyone.

The FBI defines robbery as “the taking or attempting to take anything of value under confrontational circumstances from the control, custody, or care of another person by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear of immediate harm.”

That’s a grim definition. However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being robbed and there are ways to react while being robbed and after. The most important thing to do in all circumstances is give the robber what he or she wants: don’t fight back and risk your life. It simply isn’t worth it.

Here are some tips to keep in mind that will greatly reduce your chance of being robbed in and near your home:

  • Don’t allow strangers into your home even if they say they’re are hurt or need help. Keep the door locked and call the police for them.
  • Don’t advertise that you live alone.
  • Don’t be afraid to call us to investigate suspicious circumstances, unusual people or strange noises.
  • When you move into a new home or apartment, change the locks if you own it or ask the manager to change them if you rent.
  • Don’t leave notes on your door announcing when you will be home.
  • Keep outdoor lights on at night.
  • If you arrive home and your door is open or things appear to be out of place, don’t go in. Leave and call 911.

Most of these tips may seem like common sense. However, if you follow them you may ward off an encounter with a robber. If you are unfortunate enough to be accosted, stay calm and comply with the robber’s instructions. In most situations, it isn’t worth it to fight back. Then, when he or she is gone, call law enforcement immediately.