Our personal safety is something that we should always be considering, especially when out in public. The shopping season is in full swing and our shopping centers will be packed this weekend. Here are some tips and thoughts on steps you can take to help maintain your personal safety:
•Awareness & Avoidance - Not enough can be said for being aware of your surroundings. It does not matter where you are, at home, out shopping, driving, at the park, DO NOT settle into a fog and become so involved in your task that you fail to look around. Scan the area before you head out. Look around and see what potential threats may be looming. Are there suspicious persons parked by your car? Is there a car approaching slowly from behind? If you see something that makes you suspicious or uncomfortable, walk away, return to the store, and report the activity and your observations to security or store staff.
•Be a Good Witness - If you see a crime or fall victim, be the best witness you can be. Without good suspect descriptions it is difficult for police to conduct follow-up, apprehend criminals, and hopefully, help prevent others from becoming future victims. Basic physical descriptions such as hair color and style, height, weight and build, clothing color and type, suspect vehicle description and license plate, direction of travel, are all things that a responding police officer will ask for. Try and make note of anything specific to the suspect such as tattoos, scars, piercings or perhaps damage in a particular location on a suspect vehicle.
•Consider the Stakes - If this is a property crime and you are in fear for your safety, give up the purse, the wallet, the car. Your personal well-being is much more valuable than your property. Property can be replaced, you can't.
•Make a Scene! - Drawing attention to yourself, and more importantly, to the suspect, can not only deter the crime but also bring forward other witnesses and possibly help. Yell, scream, use a whistle, run away...
•Don't be a Target - Walk with a purpose and look about surveying your surroundings. Carry your keys and whistle in your hand, not buried in your purse. This allows you to immediately open your vehicle, set off your car alarm if needed, or perhaps use the keys to slash at your attacker if you are being physically assaulted. Keep your purse tucked under your shoulder, not dangling down or sitting unattended in a cart.
Query the topic of personal safety on-line. There are many quality sites that offer additional advice and products that can bolster your safety. Best overall advice...Awareness and Avoidance!