Written by Greg Ellifritz
While scanning crime reports last week, I came across two different instances where people walking dogs were robbed. There aren’t a whole lot of details in either article, but they are worth checking out:
I teach a lot of women’s self defense classes. In almost every class, I have a woman make the statement “I’m not worried. I have a big dog.”
It’s generally accepted that having a dog deters the average criminal and reduces your chance of being victimized. But in looking at the cases above, the possession of a dog clearly doesn’t stop all criminal attacks.
There is a surprising lack of research available regarding exactly how valuable dogs are at preventing crime. Almost all the research conducted deals only with the crime of burglary (theft from an unoccupied house). Here is an example:
“On average, burglarized houses are less likely to have dogs than are non-burglarized houses, suggesting that dog ownership is a substantial deterrent.”
Many people will look at this report or similar statistics and apply the information to ALL crimes. That’s a mistake. Having a dog reduces burglary rates, but it may not have any effect at all on robberies, rapes, or murders. We just don’t know.
While it seems logical that a dog will provide a protective benefit beyond the scope of burglary, it is wise to have a backup plan. The victims in the cases above didn’t and they paid dearly. Learn from their mistakes. Think it through. What would you do if you were attacked while walking your dog and you couldn’t rely on your dog for help?