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Risk Reduction Tips

Protect yourself at home

  1. Keep entrances well lit.  If normal lighting is not functioning in an entryway, approach with extreme caution.  It is not uncommon for a criminal to remove, unscrew or break bulbs in entryways.
  2. Check the identification of any sales or service persons before letting them in.  Ask for a photo ID.  If you have any doubts, phone the company for verification.
  3. Equip your home with peepholes, dead bolts and chain locks.  If you have a child, add a second peephole at their eye level.
  4. Never give the impression that you are home alone if strangers telephone or come to your door.  Advise your children to do the same.
  5. Beware of potential hiding places and avoid them.
  6. Keep outside bushes and shrubbery trimmed.  Overgrown bushes and trees often provide excellent hiding places for criminals.
  7. Plant defensive shrubbery around your home, especially beneath windows.  Bushes that feature thorns or spiked leaves are not good hiding places for criminals.
  8. If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, do not go in.  Go to the nearest phone and call the police.

Protect yourself in your automobile

  1. Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.  Make a practice of filling up your vehicle during daylight hours.  Never let it get so low that you are forced to stop for fuel, particularly at night in an area with which you are unfamiliar.
  2. Always have your keys out and ready before leaving a building to approach your car.  Fumbling through your purse for keys after you've reached your car provides criminals with an opportunity to sneak up on you.
  3. Look in and around your car before entering.  If you are concerned for any reason, simply walk past your car and call the police.
  4. Lock your car door immediately after entering the vehicle.  Make this your first action - even before putting the key into the ignition.
  5. When stopped in traffic, keep your doors locked as usual and leave enough distance between the vehicle in front of you to drive away should a criminal attempt to walk alongside your vehicle and gain entry or attack you.
  6. Park in well lit areas and lock the doors even if you'll be gone a short time.  Check your surroundings before getting out of your car.  If something or someone strikes you as being out of place or threatening, drive away.
  7. If you are accosted in a parking lot, consider rolling underneath a nearby auto.  It is difficult to force anyone out from under a car.
  8. If an attacker does manage to get into your car while you are in it, do everything in your power to exit the automobile.  If you are still behind the wheel, steer your vehicle into a barricade, a pole, a wall -- any object that will create a minor accident.  Take advantage while your attacker's attention has been diverted and exit the automobile.  Run, yell, scream.  Do anything to attract attention.

Protect yourself while walking and jogging

  1. Always be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.  Walk confidently and at a steady pace.
  2. When on the street, walk facing oncoming traffic.  A person walking with traffic can be followed, forced into a car and abducted more easily than a person walking against traffic.
  3. Walk close to the curb or on the sidewalk.  Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys.
  4. Don't walk alone at night and always avoid areas where there are few people.
  5. Be careful when people stop you for directions.  Always reply from a distance and never go too close to the car.  Stay far enough away from the car that you can turn and run easily.  An alternative is to simply state, "I don't know" and keep walking.
  6. If you feel you are being followed, walk to a well populated area.
  7. If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can.  Scream, blow a whistle or yell for help.  Call 911 on a cell phone. 
  8. Trust your instincts.  If a particular place, person or group makes you feel uneasy, go a different direction, do not approach.

Protect yourself from date rape drugs

  1. The most commonly utilitized date rape drug is alcohol.  If you have had too much to drink call a friend or a taxi.  Never take a ride from a stranger.
  2. Never leave a drink unattended. NEVER.
  3. Do not accept a drink from anyone you would not "trust with your life."  Remember, any stranger or casual acquaintance could be a danger, even those people who are mixing or pouring drinks.
  4. If you are feeling sick or dizzy while out socially, go to someone you KNOW and TRUST.  If there is no person you can talk to about your condition, call someone on the phone. Never leave alone. NEVER. The intent of date rape drugs is to get you isolated and then to assault you.
  5. If you think you have been drugged and cannot tell or call someone, call 911.  A blood sample can be collected and appropriate tests run.
  6. Remember, alcohol greatly increases the effects of these drugs.  The mixture could  also be lethal.

General Security Tips

  1. Always let someone know where you are and where you may be going.  You should report stalking or being followed by suspicious persons.
  2. Maintain your personal space.  Stay alert!  If a person moves inside your comfort zone, move away.  If that person persists, run.
  3. Be alert when leaving stores or shopping malls.  This is a time when criminals know you are carrying cash, checkbooks, credit cards or valuable merchandise.
  4. Don't use outside ATM's at night or in unfamiliar or unsafe surroundings.  This is another time when criminals know you are carrying cash.
  5. Avoid filling your arms with packages.  You might have to make more trips, but keep one arm and hand free whenever possible.  If you have multiple packages ask for an employee to help you to the car.
  6. When friends drop you off at home or work, ask them to wait until you are safely inside before leaving.  Extend this courtesy to your own friends when driving them to a destination.