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Personal Protection Tips

A feeling of helplessness is common when people become the victim of a crime. This can range from being assaulted to having property stolen. These are ways to help you avoid becoming a victim and ideas on how to handle the situation if confronted.

Three elements are needed for a crime to occur:

  • Target is the object of a person's desire
  • Desire is the motivating factor a person has for committing a crime
  • Opportunity is a favorable forming of circumstance in which a crime can be cultivated

Take one or all three of these elements away and the crime will probably not be committed.

When out and about

The most effective weapon is using your head. The best ammunition is quick thinking, common sense, and alertness.

  • Be assertive - Stand tall instead of slouching, walk as if you own the street, and make eye contact with people
  • Be aware - Stay alert and continually look around you, avoid using headphones, never go home if you think you are being followed, and do not accept rides from strangers
  • Be aware of your surroundings - Know what is going on around you, do not walk into unnecessary confrontations, and avoid shortcuts through vacant lots or other deserted areas

To fight back or not

  • Not for personal property if the subject is armed
  • Use a defensive weapon - Personal alarms or a whistle
  • When resisting an attack - Incapacitate by striking a vulnerable spot (eyes, throat, groin), or create a distraction so you can flee

Defensive driving

  • Always check the back seat and floor of your car before getting in
  • Hit the horn if you feel someone is following you
  • After parking your car, gather all items you are taking before getting out
  • Park in well-lighted areas
  • Always lock your car, whether parked or driving
  • Keep the windows up
  • Whenever possible, travel with another person

Using public transportation

  • Prior to boarding: Use well-lit stops, stand near other people, and follow a schedule that minimizes your waiting time
  • After boarding: Sit near the driver, beware of arguments or commotion, and above all beware of strangers

While at home

  • Don't answer the door if you feel uncomfortable with a particular situation
  • Be cautious of strangers who want to use your phone (offer to call the police to assist them)
  • Don't let anyone lure you out of your home
  • Don't let babysitters entertain visitors in your home
  • Never divulge personal information
  • Admit "repairmen" only if you have an appointment with them
  • Doors and locks: Always lock your doors and windows, install deadbolt locks on exterior doors, door hinges should be on the inside, make sure exterior doors are solid core, and your bedroom door should have a lock
  • Lighting and visibility: Exterior doors should be well lit, create a barrier of light all the way around your home, place lights high enough to prevent tampering, and prune or transplant overgrown bushes and trees
  • Apartment dwellers: Be careful in laundry rooms, don't buzz or allow anyone in that you do not expect, know or trust, and don't allow anyone to follow you into a building or hall

Remembering to implement these suggestions will help make you less of a Target. By removing that element, you can reduce or eliminate your chances of becoming a victim.