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10 Ways To

Avoid Being A Victim

by Coco Diong

Some time ago, in Chicago a woman was found raped and murdered in her apartment in a high rise building in a middle class neighborhood, and there was no sign of forced entry.  The police were baffled, because there was no boyfriend of record, and no neighbor had seen anyone enter or leave her apartment.  However, police became suspicious of a cable repairman, when a friend reported that  she was talking to her on the phone when the cable guy arrived.  She told them that the woman was concerned because the cable guy seemed weird, but she decided to hang up the phone and call her back when he left.   Eight weeks later, the cable guy was arrested for her murder and the murder of another woman who was also home alone when he came to her home.

These cases are not isolated ones.  According to statistics, those who live in large cities are at high risk to become crime victims.

  • Caution At Home:  Try to have someone at home with you when any stranger comes to your door to do work of any kind, repair, deliveries, etc.   If it’s not possible, leave a door closed with a television set on to give the impression that someone is in the house besides you.  Be sure to “talk” to someone in the house before you open your door, and speak loud enough for the stranger to hear you.
  • Don’t Be Careless.  Criminals look for open opportunities and unsuspecting targets. Don’t walk down the street talking on your phone.  Don’t sit at a stoplight and text.  Keep your eyes open and be alert until the light changes.  Trade your clutch bag for a shoulder bag.  They’re less tempting to a would-be thief and harder to snatch.
  • When You’re Out:  If you have to go out alone at night, walk fast and confidently with your hand in your purse or pocket, with a stern look on your face when you pass a stranger.  Also, keep a can of Mace in your purse and your car.
  • Pay Attention:  Study your surroundings wherever you are and evaluate the people near you.  When you’re out, expect trouble.  An observant person is a tough target.  Don’t be nonchalant or distracted when you’re in the street.
  • Don’t Advertise:  A person who flaunts what a criminal wants may be attracting some unwanted attention.  Don’t wear expensive, flashy jewelry when you go out shopping, day or night.  Never leave your car doors open after loading packages into you car.  Always, re-lock the doors again, before you go to the drivers’ side of the car.  It only takes a moment for a criminal to slip into your car
  • Be Smart:  Stay with the crowd and on the beaten path.  There really is safety in numbers.  Stay where the people are, even if you have to walk a little farther.  Solitary paths and walkways offer prime opportunities for criminals.
  • Limit ATM Usage: Avoid or minimize your use of automatic teller machines.  Increasingly, this is becoming the easy mark of choice for criminals.  If possible, do your banking inside the bank.  A male friend was robbed recently at a ATM machine while talking on his cell phone.  He was withdrawing $200.00 and the robber made him withdraw $300 more.  He was so shook up, he hasn’t used his cell phone in public since.  Let the ATM be an emergency alternative where you are accompanied when you need to use it.
  • Control Your Temper:  Avoid arguments and controversy.  If challenged or mistreated in public, walk away if you can’t talk it out.  A few choice words are never worth a life.
  • Watch Who You Go Out With.  Be smitten, but pay attention.  Be careful who you take home.  Careful and thoughtful observation in the initial stage of dating can help avoid getting involved with someone who has violent tendencies.  If he/she displays an unstable or unusual temperament…back away immediately. One friend allowed a pushy blind date to come into her apartment after he had taken her to dinner and he raped her.
  • Don’t Let Everyone Know You Live Alone.  Be careful who you let into your home.  If you’re not sure of the stranger at your door, don’t open it.  When you receive a package and you’re at home alone, pretend you’re talking to someone else, before opening the door.  Again, it’s important that you are considered not to be home alone.

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