Special thanks to S.A. Arrango for his research.
According to recent data provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation:
Every 22.2 seconds - a violent crime occurs
Every 30.9 minutes - a murder occurs
Every 1.2 minutes - a robbery occurs
Every 36.6 seconds - an aggravated assault occurs
Every 3.2 seconds - a property crime occurs
Every 14.4 seconds - a burglary occurs
Every 4.8 seconds - a larceny-theft occurs
Every 26.4 seconds - a motor vehicle theft occurs
In any crime situation, the victim will fall into one of two categories: he or she will either have some idea of what to do to in order to survive and escape or no idea whatsoever - which category would you rather be in?
Awareness and distance are our two most important safety skills. People young and old can learn to be more aware and how to create distance from potential danger.
Walk purposefully, communicate calm and confidence. Protect your personal safe zone and trust your instincts. Re-alert yourself as you pass through doorways and entrances/exits. Practice using peripheral vision.
Develop a habit of raising your awareness and being sure you have full use of your hands and feet when moving in or out of a secure area. Have your faculties about you and focus your attention briefly on being in a safe and aware state of mind.
Evaluate entry areas to your home and garage. Consider locations that could hide an intruder from your view while entering or leaving your home. Consider removing shrubbery or lighting any location than could conceal an attacker. Use motion sensor lighting near doors or driveway access points.
Keep garage doors closed and locked. Remove remote door openers from vehicles regularly parked in your driveway.
Teach children the importance of Safe People and Safe Places. Show your children common safe places and how to recognize them – a policeman, a store clerk at the checkout counter, a Mom with children. Teach children how to recognize a safe place if they feel threatened – the checkout at a store, a group of well dressed adults.
Try not to carry a purse, if you must, carry it securely under your arm. Never wrap the strap around your arm or enter a tug-of-war if a thief grabs your purse. You could be seriously injured.
Adults and children alike should avoid walking alone and stay away from dark walkways, stairwells and alleys. Learn to avoid short-cuts that take you from the public view. Teach children how to say “No” to adults asking them for help. Adults should ask other adults, not children, for directions, help with packages or for other assistance.
Consider your return approach when you park your car. Pass up parking spaces in corners and without a clear view from several angles. Stalkers generally attack on your return to the car when you are distracted, your arms are full and they have evaluated you as a target.
Learn and teach loved ones the importance of maintaining a safe distance in any situation. Experts teach three primary safe zones – about 20 feet, about 10 feet and reaching distance. At each of these distances we can develop effective safety responses to danger or aggression.
Have a “safety drill” rehearsed with your children to escape danger or safely lock them in the car if you are threatened. Practice this drill just as you would practice a fire drill in a school or business. Teach loved ones there is always a safer place to be if danger presents itself.
Glance into your backseat and floorboards before entering your car. Always lock your doors whether you are in or out of your vehicle, or home. Keep windows at least partially rolled up to avoid someone reaching in to unlock and open your door.
Keep your purse, wallet or briefcase on the floor or under the seat at all times. Do not leave any packages, packs or bags in your parked and locked car even if they don’t contain valuables.
If you are bumped from behind by another vehicle, do not immediately exit your car. ASSESS THE SITUATION. If you feel uneasy, remain in your vehicle until police arrive. If the other party leaves the scene note vehicle description and tag – do not follow.
If someone threatens you with a weapon, give your vehicle up immediately after you collect your children. DO NOT FIGHT OR ARGUE. Your life is more important than your car.
If your car breaks down, raise the hood to signal for help. If possible remain in your car. If someone stops to assist you, have them call for help. Do not allow strangers inside your vehicle and do not accept a ride from them.
Remember, awareness and distance remain the two most important safety skills for people of all ages!