Staying Safe: Part I

Staying Safe: Part I

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Nadine Wimmer ReportingCrime in Utah has changed dramatically in recent years. How well are you keeping up to protect your family? KSL-TV is focusing this week on Staying Safe, ways to avoid risks to you or your loved ones.

When you say crime, this is what often comes to mind, a dark street or alleyway. But these days protecting against violent crime is only a small part of staying safe. Monica Wheaton worries about getting assaulted, so she walks at night under one condition.

Monica Wheaton: “Only because I bring my dog. I’d be kind of nervous if I came over here by myself.”

Trevor Merkley will only ride his bike at night in certain neighborhoods.

Trevor Merkley: Like that Gateway Mall over there. I know it’s big and beautiful, but there’s so much crime over there. I wouldn’t feel save over there.”

Some people fear violent crime

Jeanine Anderson: “When I leave work at night and it’s after dark, that’s the time I’m most nervous.”

Matt Engle: “I’m worried about my car stereo getting stolen, that’s about it.”

They're like most Utahns. Our Dan Jones Poll shows all of us have different ideas about what concerns us the most. Ten percent say burglary, ten percent fire, seven percent rising crime in general, six percent home invasion robberies and twenty percent don't know.

There's a crime that doesn't jump out that probably should. A crime that's so new, it doesn't come to mind until you ask about it directly.

Jeanine Anderson: “What about identity fraud? That's a big one right now. I have to be a little more careful I guess, I don't know."

When asked about it in our poll, identity theft immediately becomes top of mind, and comes out number one; 86-percent are concerned. And they should be; your chances of being a victim of identity fraud are one in four.

Kelly Wuthrich, Attorney General's Office: “Everybody’s affected by it; everybody’s at risk.”

But your chances of being a victim of violent crime--just two and a half in a thousand.

Det. Dwayne Baird, SLC PD: “You're chances of being a victim of violent crime, either as a victim or a witness are really really low."

No security gate, no alarm system will protect you; you have to take your own precautions. But more than two-thirds of Utahns polled say they're only somewhat aware of what they can do to protect themselves.

David Huston: “I think identity theft concerns me the most.”

So this man who lives in a gated community, and had his credit card number stolen last week, already knows the sorry reality.

Kelly Wuthrich, Attorney General's Office: “As soon as you leave the gated community and write a check, you are a target.”

Police say so -- guess who agrees? The crooks.

Check Fraud Felon: “They don’t realize that’s just what people like me are looking for.”

Who better to offer ways to protect your family, than this parolee who de-frauded hundreds of people? Tomorrow we'll have the ex-con's expert advice, things you can do to stay safe, from an unusual perspective.

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