A little foresight and some common sense can protect you from becoming a crime victim. Try these tips.
Put in a purse only what you can afford to lose:
- Carry only as much cash as absolutely needed.
- Limit credit cards to one or two. Keep a written record of account numbers and phone numbers to call in case your cards are lost or stolen.
- Carry only one or two checks and note the numbers on a separate piece of paper you keep at home.
- Tuck your purse under your arm like a football.
- Never hang your purse behind your seat in a restaurant or a movie theater.
- Carry as few keys as possible.
- Keep your car doors locked.
- Put packages in the trunk.
- Plan the route to your destination and stay on main streets.
- Take a map with you.
- Have a full tank of gas.
- Stay in your car with the doors locked and windows up if your car breaks down.
If your car is being followed:
- Drive directly to the local police station or to any well-lighted area with lots of people. Don’t isolate yourself.
At your destination:
- Park in well-lighted areas.
- Avoid walking alone.
- Have your keys ready as you return to your parked car.
When you’re on foot:
- Stick to well-traveled streets; avoid isolated shortcuts, like alleyways or wooded paths.
- Switch direction or cross the street if you think someone is following you. Walk toward an open store, a restaurant or a lighted house.
- Don’t wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.
- Appear calm and confident. Give the impression that you know where you are and where you are headed.
- Always stay alert to your surroundings, whether you are walking or driving.
- Avoid dark or isolated areas, such as stairwells.
- Scream “fire,” yell, honk your horn or do anything you can to draw attention anytime you feel threatened or scared.
- If you are accosted, react quickly while the attacker is in less control. Act immediately—time and surprise are on your side. Have a self-defense spray handy.
- Trust your instincts. If someone makes you feel uneasy, get away from him or her.