ABDUCTED. ROBBED. KIDNAPPED. RAPED. MURDERED. MISSING.
These words are in headlines every day and they are frightening. Have you become immune to them? Safety is always a top priority for me especially since I am a woman. There are several common sense tips to follow to increase your safety.
- Erase the “That happens to other people” or “It won’t happen to me” mentality.
- Dress comfortably when walking alone. Change into “dress up” clothes and high heels later.
- Watch where you are going so that you are prepared for whatever evil lies ahead. “Eye contact may scare off attackers because they fear you will be able to identify them,” says Mary Ellen Burns, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department.
- As much as it is a brunt of jokes, do not go to the public restroom alone.
- Do not wear lots of flashy, expensive jewelry or carry expensive handbags to public places when you are alone.
- Look and walk with confidence. Your body language should scream with confidence.
- Take the elevator instead of the stairs. If someone is on the elevator you are about to get in and you feel unsafe, take the next one. Or if someone gets on the elevator once you are already on the elevator and they give off vibes that make you feel unsafe, immediately get off the elevator so that you do not have to ride with them alone. Stay near the elevator door so that getting off will be easy to accomplish.
- Don’t be so nice. Resist the natural tendency to be sympathetic. If someone is needing information such as directions or the time, do not stop to talk to them. Talk as you walk away. If they need help to the car, find a police man or security guard to assist them. Criminals have learned to play on women’s natural sympathies.
- Do not leave and arrive at your home the same time. Do not go to the same stores on the same days. Find safe places to go (if it ever becomes necessary) while you are performing your regular errands. If something should happen, you will have already preplanned a place to go.
- Every man in a car parked next to your car is not a criminal out to get you, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you see someone parked next to your car, especially if the vehicle is a van, it might be safer to assume the worse. Find a police man or security guard to walk you safely to your car. Paranoia is not always a bad thing.
- Hands free, eyes alert, ears unrestricted. Keep the iPod and cell phone out of your ears so that your surroundings will have your full attention. Do not carry a lot of bags – try using a backpack to keep your hands free.
- Keep your car in good working order. If your car breaks down in a remote area, get out of the car and hide in the bushes. Sitting in the car just makes you a target and you have no way to defend yourself or escape.
- Check your back seats before getting into your car.
- As you walk towards your parked vehicle, make sure that no one is hiding under your car.
- Keep your doors locked at all times both at home and in the car.
- Buy a cell phone and know how to use it in case of an emergency.
- Don’t be alone in places you know are potentially dangerous (i.e. alley, bad neighborhood, the park-especially at night, remote locations)
- Practice safety on the internet. Visit the Police Notebook for more details.
- Do not walk or jog alone – especially with just your children. You can not protect yourself if you are trying to protect your children.
- Get in the car, lock the doors and then put your child in the car seat. With your body half in the car hovering over a baby trying to maneuver a seat belt, you are unable to protect yourself.
- If it is obvious that someone has been in your car, home or office, run the other direction and call the police.
- Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) Do not do this…make sure you immediately lock your doors and drive away.
- Do not open your door at home if you do not know who is on the other side. Use the peephole or window to verify who is knocking. Once you open the door, it is too late. Your strength to immediately close the door on the intruder will not surpass his strength to push it open and come in to harm you.
- When you are driving, be wrong even if you are right and do not get into any kind of argument with another driver.
- When stopped at a stop light, be aware of the things around you so that no one can sneak up on your car. Do not blast the music so that you can not hear anything else. Do not concentrate on typing text messages. Do not sit with your windows rolled down.
- Leave enough room between you and the car ahead of you to make a get away if necessary. That also will mean staying out of the middle lane.
- If an unmarked car is flashing lights like a police car, do not assume it is really a police car. Instead, call 911 and ask for verification that it is really an officer, but continue driving. If it really is an officer, he will know you have called the police station. If it is an evildoer, you will be safer driving and the police will be notified and on their way to help you.
I know that list is a lot to absorb, but no one ever said it was easy being a woman. If you think it is easy being a woman, should I remind you of menstrual cycles, pregnancy or trying to get pregnant, menopause, PMS…need I continue?
Practice safety at all times.