Safety News Roundup: This Week’s Top Headlines

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Need to Know from SafeWise

Here's our weekly roundup of the most crucial safety news you need to know. From ground-breaking gun control in California to a mother turning grief into action after the needless loss of her daughter, we've got you covered.

Stay informed, stay safe, and dive into the headlines that matter most in today's ever-evolving landscape of hazards and precautions. Your safety matters and this is where you'll find the news you need to protect what matters most.

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Seattle residents shut down Fox News host's crime agenda in viral interview showdown

Fox News host's attempt to stir controversy in Seattle backfired this week. Covering crime gets tricky, but it’s important to balance the line between informing the public and fear-mongering.

The host's interviews with locals took an unexpected turn in a viral clip. From "I've never seen any crime in Seattle" to "Crime is a social issue that could be solved by giving people their basic needs," the residents shut down the narrative. The standout moment? A woman in a green jacket who asked, "Do you walk around every day thinking people are going to rob you?" and responded to the reporter's claim of people shooting up nearby with, "And they were bothering you?"

Learn more about crime and attitudes about safety in Washington.

Meta's new tech raises creep factor concerns: Quest 3 VR and Ray-Ban Smart Glasses updates leave privacy questions unanswered

Mark Zuckerberg's Meta is pushing the "metaverse" concept. But its new products, the $500 Quest 3 VR headset and $300 second-gen Ray-Ban camera glasses, seem to cater to niche audiences already comfortable with computer-worn tech.

While these devices boast improvements in screen and camera quality, they focus on gaming and photography, not the greater metaverse vision of blending real and virtual worlds. Meta's latest innovations offer few new ideas for interaction, purpose, or privacy safeguards. The Quest 3, available for preorders, provides color pass-through cameras for "mixed reality," but it's still bulky and leaves facial imprints. Ray-Ban smart glasses have improved camera quality and audio, yet their creep factor remains despite new indicator lights and guidelines.

Philadelphia stores looted by opportunists following protest over officer's acquittal in fatal shooting

In the wake of a peaceful protest over the acquittal of former Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial in the shooting death of Eddie Irizarry, a group of masked individuals looted stores in the city's Center City District. The flash-mob-style ransacking targeted outlets like Apple, Foot Locker, and Lululemon, prompting swift arrests. Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford clarified that the looters were distinct from the protesters, labeling them as "criminal opportunists."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney condemned the "sickening display of opportunistic criminal activity" and pledged to ensure residents' safety. The incident coincided with Target's announcement of store closures due to increased theft and organized retail crime nationwide.

Learn more about residents' concerns over crime in Pennsylvania.

Target shuts nine stores amidst surge in theft and organized retail crime

Target joined other major retailers this week when it announced the closure of nine stores in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, and Seattle, effective October 21st, citing the rising threat of theft and organized retail crime to both customers and employees.

While the Minneapolis-based retailer has implemented various security measures to combat theft, it described facing "fundamental challenges" in ensuring store safety and sustainability. The decision highlights retailers' ongoing difficulties in addressing theft and maintaining locations in areas with limited shopping alternatives. Target CEO Brian Cornell had previously voiced concerns about escalating theft, with estimated losses potentially exceeding $1.2 billion this fiscal year.

Safety concerns lead Vermont town to restrict access to instagram-famous fall foliage spot

Instagram influencers have turned a quaint Vermont town into a viral sensation, but the influx of tourists seeking the perfect fall foliage photo has become a safety nightmare. Pomfret, known for its picturesque Cloudland Road and Sleepy Hollow Farm, has experienced overwhelmed roads, accidents, and property damage due to crowds of visitors. In response, local authorities have temporarily closed the scenic road to outsiders, citing safety concerns and the strain on resources. Vermont encourages tourists to explore alternative fall foliage spots and respect private properties to alleviate the burden on this small community.

Learn more about crime and safety concerns in Vermont.

California enacts landmark gun safety laws: doubles taxes on firearms and ammo, bans public carry

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a groundbreaking set of gun safety measures into law, including a doubling of taxes on guns and ammunition and a ban on carrying firearms in most public places. The legislation imposes an 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition sales, earmarking the funds to support gun safety programs. This move makes California the first state in the U.S. to take such action.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association has already filed a lawsuit challenging the laws, citing their unconstitutionality. These measures respond to a recent Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights and aim to generate $160 million annually for school safety and violence prevention programs. In addition, a law requiring microstamping technology on semiautomatic pistols sold in the state will take effect in 2028. Governor Newsom emphasized that these laws will contribute to making California's communities safer and prevent gun-related tragedies.

Learn more about Americans’s concerns and attitudes about gun violence.

Grieving mother's petition for safer roads gains momentum, calls for vehicle safety ratings to include pedestrian risk

Jessica Hart, the mother of a 5-year-old girl tragically killed in a road accident, is rallying thousands to demand change in vehicle safety ratings. Hart's online petition urges the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to expand its 5-Star Safety Ratings program to include a vehicle's risk of harming pedestrians.

Hart's initiative comes after her daughter's life was cut short by a van while riding her bike in a crosswalk. The petition has garnered over 31,000 signatures, with people sharing their own stories of loss due to vehicle accidents. As road deaths remain a critical concern nationwide, this call for improved safety ratings could be a crucial step toward preventing such tragedies.

Learn more about bike safety for kids.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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