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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Do you often worry about criminals or killers harming you or your family?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11979points) October 22nd, 2009 from iPhone

I just watched a commercial for one of our local malls having a trick or treating day in the mall. I guess they think it’ll be safer for the children than being out on the streets going house to house. But the first thing that popped into my head (and feel free to tell me if I’m just insanely paranoid) was some kind of sicko going to the mall on the day of trick or treating and shooting everyone…It just seems like nowhere feels safe anymore! You always hear about some psycho killer shooting up random, highly populated places (like a mall, or store, or bank). Do you ever worry that someday it will happen while you’re doing some innocent shopping? Are you more aware of your surroundings these days? Do you worry when you let your children out of the house that something terrible will happen?

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51 Answers

jackm's avatar

It doesn’t happen nearly often enough to worry about. We hear about EVERY random large scale killing, and we see them probably less than once a year.

Thats just too small of a chance to even worry me.

jrpowell's avatar

Nope. We don’t even lock our doors at night. And I live in a large urban area in a kinda bad part of town.

I’m more worried about a person texting and running a red light while I cross the street.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I choose not to live in fear of things beyond my control.

Likeradar's avatar

I wouldn’t say I worry about these things, but I do think about them and take reasonable precautions to protect myself and my loved ones. I lock my doors, occasionally carry mace, and I’m usually aware of the location of emergency exits. But I don’t avoid things out of fear.

DominicX's avatar

Same as @The_Compassionate_Heretic. Doesn’t mean that I put myself in obvious danger and don’t take basic precautions, but I don’t get paranoid.

Sarcasm's avatar

I don’t worry about those things, but I (kind of disturbingly) end up wondering, when I’m in a public place, “wow. If someone had an explosive, a lot of people would die here…”

For most of my life, I’ve worried about robbers breaking into the house every night though. We’ve always lived in a “nice” area, with very low crime rates. It’s never happened to us. But I’ve always worried about it.
I say “most of my life” because the past 3 months, living with 3 other adult males, we have someone awake at almost every hour. It’s surprisingly assuring. Even though 2 of us are always in our room with headphones and music on. Also I feel safe, because the other 2 guys have all their fancy shit downstairs. No reason for any robber to come upstairs and take my stuff.

scamp's avatar

My daughter is taking her son Trunk or Treating. with a large gorup of her friends. I think this is an excellent idea. The kids still get to have fun, and get treats, and the parents don’t worry because all the goodies are given out by people they know. I hadn’t heard of this before now, but I guess quite a few people do it these days.

They outlawed Trick or Treating in my hometown when a local girl was brutally murdered. She was stabbed 49 times by someone she met while scouting the neighborhood for candy. So something like Trunk or Treating sounds pretty safe and like a good idea to me.

SpatzieLover's avatar

As a mom, yes, I’m concerned. No where is really “safe”.

Our Halloween in our safe, quaint burb is held at night. We will discuss and prepare him to be safe on our walk for treats. We only go to homes that he knows.

We will also Trick or Treat at Church, the zoo, the museum and another neighborhood.

We have discussed “exit plans” with our son at various outings. He knows that the red phone @ our museum will contact the police or fire dept as needed. He knows he should find an employee in a zoo or museum uniform if for any reason he’s ever separated from us. We’ve introduced him to regular staff members at the museum (we go there often for fun and gatherings).

As he ages, we will continue to teach him how to be responsible for his own safety.

DominicX's avatar


I was just about to ask if Trick-or-Treating has ever really been shown to be dangerous. It’s said all the time about how dangerous people think it is, but is there really evidence? As a kid, I always went with my parents and we only went to houses with decorations (in other words, not just people we knew) and ones where we saw other kids at. I don’t remember anything bad happening on Halloween other than a few smashed pumpkins.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

sure, that is why home protection is so important. I am prepared, if necessary, to kill any criminal that breaks into my house and threatens me or my family.

As for public random acts of violence; not so much, I am more worried about some dumbass that is texting while driving and running into me or my family. If I survive the crash, that asshole better hope I can’t get my hands around his/her neck. I have no tolerance for preventable stupidity.

Samurai's avatar

I worry about assassins targeting me in my sleep.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@DominicX Trick or treating is safer than most people would have you believe. And don’t fall for the razors or needles in candy, that’s an urban myth. The talking heads on the news knows that bad news sells, and they seem to enjoy scaring the fuck out of people for that reason.

I wouldn’t trick or treat in a strange neighborhood with a high crime rate, but in normal suburbia, there is nothing to fear. except for some dumbass on his/her cell phone while driving.

DominicX's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra I agree. The worst it got for me was the old man on our street who gave out raisins. :P

Well, also that one Halloween after 9/11 when no one was trick-or-treating (I still did—just got a little less candy than usual) and the one when lightning struck nearby…I miss LV :(

SeventhSense's avatar

No you’re more likely to be struck by lightning ten times than be shot up at a mall.
It’s more probable that you’d be killed by a family member with a gun.
kept you regular ~_~

ubersiren's avatar

I’m kind of in a weird place where I’m very afraid of things like that, but I don’t really think that it’ll happen for real. It crosses my mind quite frequently, but I wouldn’t say I live in fear of it. My mind wanders to all sorts of dark places. I do have irrational (?) fears of death and dying, but I don’t live in a cage because of it. Does that make sense? I mean, I know it doesn’t really make sense, but do you know what I mean, Vern?

SpatzieLover's avatar

BTW-I just put this in another answer here. But these people are something that causes my family concern each year around this time of year.

Darwin's avatar

I lived in Miami during the 1970’s an 80’s, at the height of the “Scarface” era. After being at Dadeland the day of the big shoot out, after watching my mom get pinned down behind the dumpster by the cross-fire during a drug bust at the Coral Gables Howard Johnson, and after finding a dead body cut up in pieces and left to float in one of the canals in black plastic garbage bags, where I live now seems quite safe.

We have been having some home invasions locally, though. Someone shoved open our front door one evening as we were watching TV, but the two biggest dogs, the American Bulldog (120 pounds) and the Pit Bull (65 pounds) were sleeping on the tile in the front hall and immediately bounded up and chased after whoever it was. The dogs came back some 10 minutes later looking very pleased with themselves.

So no, I don’t really worry about criminals harming our family. However, like @johnpowell, I do worry about those idiots who text and drive, or even those who simply talk on the phone and drive.

SeventhSense's avatar

Smashing Pumpkins may cause hair loss

poisonedantidote's avatar

not really no. if we reported every person that died in hospital or in a car crash instead of every killer, people would be scared of those things more.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@SpatzieLover when you said Smiley Face Killer, this was my first thought.

jrpowell's avatar

The odds of something bad happening are so slim. I would rather take the kids to the park to gather flowers instead of worrying.

casheroo's avatar

I get scared when I’m home alone, and if I’m in a dark parking lot alone…but other than that, those sort of thoughts rarely cross my mind.

jrpowell's avatar

@casheroo :: When I worked at the theater we had a huge badly lit parking lot. One night a woman was getting attacked in the parking lot. It was around midnight. Luckily she got away. After that we put instructions on the doors after dark for how to get someone to walk them to their car. I used to escort people to their car all the time once the movie was out.

A dimly lit parking lot can be a scary place.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@johnpowell this is why my wife carries pepper spray and a tazer. Anyone fucks with her, they might finds themselves with burning eyes and a nasty shock.

DarkScribe's avatar

It is one of many modern issues that needs to be addressed as part of normal day to day precautionary living, but no, I don’t worry overmuch about it. Like Darwin, I have large dogs, an alarm system with outside security lights front and rear (we can be approached from the water as well as the road) and I have firearms in the house. I will carry a weapon if I am escorting my wife and/or daughters in some areas at night, something that I didn’t do a decade or so back, but that is about it.

wildpotato's avatar

Nope. I have a big black dog who loves me. So no fear. At night if I’m without her, though, I walk with my knife in my hand. I’ve had friends get attacked in my neighborhood in Colorado before.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@wildpotato hope you’ve had training with that knife. It is one of the easiest weapons to have knocked out of your hand. It’s all in the way you hold it.

SuperMouse's avatar

Coming of age in the Land of the Freeway Shootings, I learned to put these things in perspective. The local television news played those types of stories up by calling two shootings in six months a “spate” of attacks. Gang violence spreading to the suburbs, drug cartels, and home invasion robberies were the led stories many a night. I guess that taught me to look at it from a “what are the odds” kind of perspective. That doesn’t mean I am not careful, I lock the house, have a dog, lock the car, etc., and I don’t make stupid choices regarding safety. For instance, if I was seeing a movie at @johnpowell‘s former place of employment, I would not walk to my car alone.

ratboy's avatar

Please overlook any mistakes in this answer—I’m typing it on my iPhone as I drive home from the bar (don’t worry, I’m driving very fast so I won’t be on the road for long).
I don’t leave my home and I don’t worry about people breaking in because of the stench.

SuperMouse's avatar

@ratboy how did you end up driving home from a bar if you don’t leave the house?

Darwin's avatar

@SuperMouse – Maybe the bar is in the garage and he is simply cruising up and down the driveway.

ratboy's avatar

@SuperMouse: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

wildpotato's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra Only extremely minimal training, from the guy who gave it to me. His warning was more that it could get turned on me really easily if I didn’t keep a good grip on it. The handle’s gunmetal, too, so no slippage. SOG, woot woot. I know no technique though, except that I should go for long slashing cuts cause the 3” blade won’t necessarily hurt someone badly enough to stop them if you just stab with it. You’re absolutely right, I need to take a class.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t worry about it too much. My 7 year old son on the other hand gets scared by those home security commercials where the bad guy breaks the door down and the family is inside. He also got really scared by an Amber Alert that was on the TV yesterday for a 17 year old girl that had been abducted/run off with her boyfriend. My 9 year old told him a child abductor was on the loose and to stay in the house and away from doors. I was so mad at her for scaring him like that!

scamp's avatar

@DominicX , Other than what I mentioned in my earlier post, I have never experienced any problem on Halloweeen either as a trick or treating kid, or as a parent of one. I also don’t know anyone who has. I’m not sue why they outlawed Halloweeen trick or treating in my home town because the incident could have happened on any night.

It was a coincedence that it happened on Halloween. The killer was the brother of a seargent in our police department, and he was tripping on acid. He ran into the girls walking down the street as the were canvasing for candy. He invited them over, and he stabbed one girl while the other was tied up in his living room watching. He then made the second girl help bury her best friend in his back yard.

DominicX's avatar


Insane. I can understand the reaction in some ways, but it is an example of modern paranoia.

And I’m serious: I don’t care how “cool” LSD seems, it’s not cool.

scamp's avatar

@DominicX I agree.. nothing cool about it at all. The moron actually tried to hide behind a temporary insanity pleas because of it. Of course it didn’t help him one bit. He was charged and convicted of first degree murder.

Kraigmo's avatar

Malls starting offering candy to kids 2 decades ago due to a scare in the very early ‘80s about razor blades and poison being put into candy. Like most crazes of the 1980s, there was no truth to anyone’s fears. There was ONE single incident of adulterated candy, and it was done to a targeted (not a random) child. Just one. That occurred in the late 70s, I think.

A lot of American parents love to get hysterical and create problems. (Not saying you do). Remember the needles in the Pepsi cans? Needles in the Oreos? All hysteria. Satanic cults? Except for one, all hysteria.

There has never been a rash of razor blades or poison in Halloween candies, not even two instances.

The odds getting cancer on Oct 31, or having a car accident on Oct 31, or having a friend die of an accident on Oct 31, are many times greater than the odds of being the victim of some Halloween evildoer.

It’s annoying, that some parents will deny their kids a great night out, out of their own stupidity, and take them to the mall instead, where the kids can be polluted by all the marketing memes they’ll be subjected to, and probably get candy that’s not nearly as good as what the neighbors are giving out.

deni's avatar

I don’t worry. It’s too unlikely to worry about. It could happen, of course, but I could also get struck by lightning, die in a car crash later today, or burn in a fire tonight, but the likelihood that any of those are gonna happen is slim, so I don’t waste time thinking of them and worrying myself.

scamp's avatar

@Kraigmo do you have any links supporting what you say? I ran a search on snopes about this subject, and they say that there were at least 80 cases reported since 1959 by a professor Joel Best. I think in this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I took my daughter out every halloween, but I just checked her candy before she ate it. I would rather err on the side of caution where the safety of our children is concerned.

pinkparaluies's avatar

I have a lot of paranoia about this, actually. I keep lights on in my house constantly to prevent being murdered and all that jazz. I exercise to keep fit enough to try to defend myself – and keep a phone in every room of the house. I’ve even formulated my own 911 plan, about how you keep the phone on while youre being murdered ( i suppose ) so they can track your telephone number to the address.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@scamp I tried looking it up for Milwaukee County, too. Our local Children’s Hospital x-rays candy for free every year. I know that in the 80’s when I was Trick or Treating this was an issue. I’m almost certain last Halloween or the previous one there was a pin found in a candy bar in Milwaukee County.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Here’s a video newsclip of a neighbor that found tainted candy in a kids candy sack.

SeventhSense's avatar

Thanks again for the lights. It’s easier to track you from room to room.

SeventhSense's avatar

Tee hee.

Kraigmo's avatar

@scamp and others found instances of object tampering, so I was really wrong about that. I trust But at least its a very insignificant number, compared to the number of candies handed out. And of course every candy should be checked by mom and dad. I assumed every parent does that… I hope they do it.

scamp's avatar

Thaks @Kraigmo you are a true gentleman!

btw, my favorite brother’s name was Kraig also. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone else who spelled it with a “K”.

BigFoot's avatar

I’d afraid more for my family than for me. I think I’m old enough not to worry about criminals, but for my family I’m afraid. :(

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