Suggestions for Personal Protection

Be on the Safe Side

Rape, robbery, purse snatching, mugging ... no one wants to be the victim of such a crime. We all think about the possibility but there is no need to be tormented by it. Crimes of violence occur least often. In other words, you are much more likely to have your property stolen than your life threatened.

Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. A dangling handbag invites a purse snatcher. An unlocked window invites an intruder. If you eliminate the opportunity, you could avoid the crime. Here's how ...

At Home

  • When changing addresses, change the locks as well. Rekeying or replacing the lock insures you are the only key holder. Install a dead bolt door lock and a peephole in the door.

  • Do not hide keys outside. They are too easily found.

  • Always lock your doors and windows,draw shades at night, and leave a few lights on.

  • Do not open the door to a stranger. Talk through the locked door or use a window to communicate with them.

  • Ask for identification from all repair persons. Call the company and confirm their employment if you are uncertain. Ask to see ID from any non-uniformed police officer before admitting them to your home.

  • Instruct children and baby sitters not to give out any information about who is home or who is out and for how long.

  • If you suspect your home has been broken into, don't go inside. Call the police immediately.

In Your Car

  • Before getting in to your car, check the back seat and floor for someone hiding there.

  • Limit the amount of time you spend idle in the car.

  • Always lock your car doors (even before you buckle up) both when driving and parked. Never leave your keys in your car, whether you're at the gas station or in the parcel pick-up area.

  • If someone suspicious approaches your car, honk your car's horn. It's one of the loudest and fastest ways to scare someone off or let others know that you need help.

  • If you are being followed, don't drive directly home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, hospital emergency entrance, 24 hour business or where crowds of people can offer help if needed.

  • Look for a well lit parking place and lock your vehicle. Preplan if you know you will be returning to your vehicle after dark.

  • Always carefully note where you parked so you don't spend unnecessary time walking around a parking lot.

  • If you must leave your key with a parking attendant or repair facility, leave only your car key. Never leave the keys to your house as they may be duplicated.

  • You should not travel at night when you know you have car trouble or are low on gas.

  • If your car breaks down, stay in the vehicle. If you do not have a phone, place a sign in the window asking for the police. Have a set of phone numbers you can give to someone if they stop to help. Crack your window and slip the paper to them.

Out Alone

  • At night, try to stay on well lighted streets, avoid doorways, dark shadows near buildings, and other potential hiding places.

  • Any person walking alone, male or female, is potential prey for assault. If possible, walk with a friend.

  • Walk purposefully and look confident. Assertive body language can help prevent an attack. Don't slouch...keep your head up. Look as though you would cause an uproar if bothered.

  • As you walk observe those around you. Notice if there are any strangers sitting in parked cars or standing in your pathway. If so, choose an alternate route and by all means, avoid them.

  • Consider taking the bus rather than walking. Sit near the driver if there are only a few riders.

  • In a cab or a friend's car, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside your home.

  • It's a good idea to keep a whistle or shreik alarm on your key chain. If you feel your personal safety is being threatened, follow your instincts. Do anything you can to draw attention. Don't be embarrassed. Scream, yell or blow your whistle.

  • Stay away from deserted laundromats or apartment house laundry rooms at night. Be cautious even in the daytime. Lock your apartment while in the laundry room.

  • Wallets should be carried in an inside or front pocket. Do not reveal your cash.

  • If you carry a purse, don't dangle it by your side in such a way that a thief can run by you and grab it. Carry your purse close to your body, preferably in front. Do not leave the purse on store counters, in shopping carts or set them on the floor in restrooms or theaters.

  • Do not enter an elevator if you are suspicious of the passengers. Stand next to the control panel and get off if the need arises.

In Trouble

  • If a robber demands your valuables, give them up. Your money, your phone or your jewelry is not worth risking injury or your life.

  • Don't carry weapons such as guns and knives. They can easily be turned against you.

  • Be selective of new acquaintances. Remember, not all rapist are strangers. You can't tell by appearances.

  • If you are confronted by a rapist, try to stay calm and think before you react.

  • Remain calm. Retain or regain your emotional stability. Your panic can cause your assailant to panic and possibly hurt you.

  • Seeming to cooperate with your attacker may give you the time you need to devise a means of escape.

  • If your attacker is armed and threatens to harm you, your child or someone else, you may think twice about physically resisting or attacking him. Remember though, no one can tell you how to react. You should do what you feel is best for you.

  • Write down everything you can remember about your assailant. Call the police right away. Don't bathe, change clothes, or touch anything.