It may not be something that’s in the front of our minds everyday, but knowing how to protect yourself can reduce the opportunity of becoming a victim of crime. In Part 1 of Personal Safety for Adults, we’ll look at things to consider if you are walking or driving. Remember, street safety can reduce the opportunity for muggers and purse-snatchers.
3 BASIC RULES
There are 3 basic rules to follow to try and ensure your personal safety:
DO stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings, who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Don’t get distracted.
DO communicate the message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you’re going. Stand tall, walk purposefully, and make eye contact with people around you.
DO trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave.
Here are some things to consider when walking:
- Plan the safest route to your destination. Choose well-lighted streets and avoid passing vacant lots, alleys, or construction sights. Take the long way if it’s the safest way.
- Know your neighborhood. Find out what stores and restaurants are open late and where the fire stations are.
- Don’t walk alone at night and always avoid areas where there are few people.
- Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it. Carry a wallet in an inside coat or side trouser pocket, not in a rear trouser pocket.
- Don’t flaunt expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Walk in the middle of the sidewalk. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys.
- Wear clothes and shoes that give you freedom of movement.
- Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars.
- Don’t overburden yourself with packages and groceries that make it hard to react.
- Have your house or car key in hand as you approach your home or vehicle.
- If you suspect someone is following you on foot, cross the street and head for the nearest well lighted populated area. Walk quickly or run to a house or store to call police. If you’re really scared, scream for help.
- If someone is following you in a car, change directions immediately and make a visible point of writing down the license number.
- Be careful when people stop you for directions. Always reply from a distance and never get too close to the car.
- Consider carrying a shriek alarm.
- WHILE DRIVING
- Here are some things to consider when driving:
- Keep your car in good running condition to avoid breakdowns.
- Plan your route in advance, particularly on long or unfamiliar trips. Have enough gas and money to get there and back.
- Drive with all the car doors locked. Keep windows rolled as high as possible.
- If your car breaks down, raise the hood, use flares, or tie a white cloth to the door handle. Stay in the locked car. When someone stops, ask him or her to phone for help.
- Consider carrying a cellular phone.
- Park in well-lighted areas that will still be well lighted when you return. Lock your car.
- Be particularly alert and careful when using underground and enclosed parking garages.
- If you are being followed while driving, drive to the nearest fire station, open gas station or other business where you can safely call the police. Try to get the car’s license number and description. If no safe areas are near, honk the horn repeatedly and turn on your emergency flashers.
- WHAT IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU?
- Remain calm, try not to panic or show signs of anger or confusion.
- If the attacker is only after your purse or other valuables, don’t resist. You don’t want it to become a violent confrontation.
- Make a conscious effort to get an accurate description of your attacker: age, race, complexion, body build, height, weight, type and color of clothing.
- Call the police immediately, identify yourself and your location, and request assistance.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Personal Safety for Adults.