What is personal safety? It’s taking steps to protect yourself from crimes by avoiding crime. Without a doubt, prevention is your best protection against crime. Trust your instincts. If you suspect something is wrong, or a situation seems dangerous, you may be right! Don’t dismiss suspicious people, cars, or situations. Report them to the police immediately.
Avoid dangerous situations. Don’t invite trouble. Use your best judgment about where to do and what to do. People working together can prevent and solve many crimes. Use common sense and call the police. For all emergencies dial 9-1-1. For non-emergencies call 859-3688.
- Lights – Leave at least one on, inside and out, when you are away. If you’re away, use a timer to turn lights on and off.
- Locks – Buy high quality locks, dead-bolt, mortise, or auxiliary locks and use them! Be sure any door and window locks can be opened quickly if there is a fire.
- Unwanted Calls – Don’t give out personal information such as your name or address. If you have an answering machine, use it to screen out unwanted calls. Notify the police or the phone company of threatening or harassing calls.
- Strangers – Install a peephole, if possible. Don’t open the door for strangers, unexpected repair people, deliveries, etc. Always ask for a company ID. Call to verify it, if you’re suspicious.
- Elevators – Get on with a group of people, if possible. Stand away from the door while waiting alone. Avoid entering an elevator with one stranger. If you’re uncomfortable with a stranger, get off immediately. Stand near the control panel, and hit the alarm button and floor buttons, if necessary.
- Make friends in the Neighborhood – Watch other houses or apartments and let your neighbors know of anything that’s suspicious. Offer your phone to neighbors for emergency use, and use theirs when necessary. Keep in touch with your neighbors. If you think that someone is inside your home do not go in. Call the police from a nearby phone.
- Walk with someone – stay alert to those around you. If you must walk alone, walk confidently. Go into a public place if you need to ask directions.
- Walk near people – avoid isolated areas, parks and parking lots. Shortcuts may save you time – but they may expose you to danger, too.
- Protect your valuables – carry only what you need with you. Carry necessary valuables close to your body and don’t set them down. Carry a wallet in a front or inside pocket, instead of a purse. If you carry a purse, hold it close to your body.
- If you’re followed – act suspicious, turn to look at the person. This gives you time to plan your strategy and lets the person know you won’t be taken by surprise. Change directions – if someone is following you on foot, cross the street and vary your pace. If the person is in a car, turn and walk in the opposite direction. Go into a store or other public place – if the person follows you, ask to use the phone to call the police.
Keep your doors and windows locked and windows rolled up in traffic, especially at stoplights. Always lock your car and take the keys. Keep valuables out of sight in the trunk, never on a seat or in the glovebox. Mount GPS units, cell phones, tablets, computers, etc., out of sight if possible. Park in areas that will be well-lit when you return. Check the back seat and the immediate area to see if anyone is hiding. If you have car trouble, raise the hood, put on the emergency flashers, and contact the police.
RESPONDING TO AN ATTACK
In any situation, your goal is to get away with the least injury to yourself. Be sure to follow these four steps:
- Evaluate the Situation – Look around. Are there sources of help available? What state of mind is your attacker in?
- Decide how you want to respond – all situations and people are different. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself. Screaming, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, but these actions could expose you to greater harm.
- Stay Alert – Listen and observe carefully so you can make the best decision now and provide important evidence later.
- Give up your valuables – If the attacker only wants your valuables, give them up. Valuables can be replaced, your life can’t.
For attempted rape, assault or abduction – Attract attention by blowing a whistle or screaming. Run, hit, bite, or use self-defense, if you are trained. Do whatever comes naturally and do it immediately. Remember your goal is escape and survival. Escaping an attack, and surviving afterwards are the most important considerations. Keep them in mind as you act and react. Every emergency is different. Only you can decide what action is best.
WORK WITH THE POLICE
- Keep emergency numbers handy – Program your police department phone number into your contacts.
- Stay alert – Remember the time, the person’s appearance, height, weight, clothing, scars, hair, etc. The car’s make color and especially license number. Write information down as soon as possible.
- Notify police of suspicious activities – Report cars, people, delivers, etc., that seem suspicious; and
- Press charges – if you’re the victim of any crime, assist the police in prosecuting the criminals.
If you’re raped – contact the police, and get medical attention immediately. Preserve evidence – don’t shower, douche or change clothes.
SPECIAL TIPS FOR PARENTS AND SENIOR CITIZENS
Teach your children safety rules, including these:
- Don’t play alone or in isolated areas.
- Know your name, address, and phone number.
- Don’t go with anyone you don’t know well.
- Learn to say NO! Especially to uncomfortable touches.
- Don’t open the door to anyone you don’t know well.
- Learn how to call the police in an emergency.
- Have regular pension or other checks sent directly to the bank.
- Don’t close off or lock fire escapes. Ask the local police or fire department about types of locks to use.
- Beware of people who want to share money with you, offer products or services at very low prices, and who ask you to withdraw money from your bank.