Have you ever wondered about the lives of military service members outside of their jobs? Where do they live? How do they live? What’s different and, most importantly, what’s the same? One thing that never changes family to family and lifestyle to lifestyle is the importance of protection. For parents, husbands, and wives, the safety of their loved ones is top priority. To continue our celebration of those to serve our country, I looked into some of the biggest military bases and towns in the United States.
What Does the Data Tell Us?
It’s possible that military bases and military towns might not be as safe as we think. Neighborhoodscout.com has a crime index where they rank the safety of all towns compared to the rest of the United States. They also list out the number of crimes in that area and compare it to what’s happening in the rest of the state. Here are some of the numbers I’ve pulled:
These are just the five biggest military bases and, as you can see, the numbers vary quite a bit. Four out of five bases are listed as relatively dangerous, with high crime rates compared to both the country and their states. So what’s different about Fort Campbell? Or Kentucky as a whole?
At first I thought these numbers made sense. The people who commit burglaries most frequently are the same people who populate these military towns. Who are they? White men. Looking at burglary data (though remember, this particular index is all crime, not just burglary), you can see that most burglaries are committed by young, white men. And the military is comprised of mostly Caucasian males. So I understood how taking a large number of these men and squeezing them into a small space could cause a few issues.
But something didn’t sit right with me. The way the military conducts itself, and the lessons it teaches, don’t align with the spikes in crime we see above. So I did some digging, and it turns out there is no correlation between a high crime rate and the military demographic! The Demographic Research Journal concluded that “Although crime is largely committed by young men, we find that the closure of military bases, which are staffed primarily by young men, does not have an impact on criminal activity.” Remember that phrase your stats teacher drilled into your head? Correlation is not causation.
So what is the conclusion here? To be honest, I’m not sure. I haven’t found a good reason for why military bases are more vulnerable to crime. But the reality is that the crime exists, and there is just as much of a possibility of it happening on a Military Base as anywhere else.
That means that staying safe is just as much of a priority and an issue for military families as it is for anyone else. Having experience in combat, having discipline, or holding a position of respect and commitment might make a difference, but it also might not. So here are ways for families - both military and not - to stay safe:
- Surround your home with things that deter burglars
Burglars avoid high traffic areas, places with friendly neighbors, and active police surveillance. They also will avoid places with difficult escape routes and any signs of increased security.
- Layers, layers, layers
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, and again, and again. Layered protection is stronger protection. If a burglar ignores the yard sign, they’ll run into your dog. If they get past your dog they’ll trip the alarm. If they avoid one sensor, another will catch them.
- Start a conversation
Talk to your kids, your neighbors, and your local government. Make sure there are rules and protocols, and that everyone is on the same page about what to do in an emergency. And this goes for all types of emergencies, not just burglaries!.
Do you have other ways to stay safe? Or maybe have some insight about what it’s like to live in a military town? Please reach out to us! We love hearing from you.