10 Things You
by Cheryl Lakes
You read the newspapers, watch the news daily, and record mentally what’s going on out there in the streets. But do you see yourself as a potential victim? Crime is everywhere in all neighborhoods across the country and if you’re scared to be out alone, you should be.
If you wish to minimize your chance of becoming a victim, make note of the following:
- Don’t be careless. A friend was driving and talking on the phone with the doors unlocked, and two men appeared out of nowhere and jumped in her car. They made her drive to an isolated spot and raped her repeatedly. They also robbed her of a cashed paycheck for $1300.Criminals look for open opportunities and unsuspecting targets. Don’t sit at a stoplight and text. Keep your eyes open and be alert until the light changes. If you’re a woman, keep your purse on the floor. It won’t be as tempting to a would-be thief. Use your cell phone for emergencies only, and always be sure to lock your doors.
- Don’t go out alone at night if you can help it: I was out late one night, and after I parked my car on the street, a man came out of the darkness and asked me for a cigarette. He scared me witless. But in a loud voice, I yelled, “Get away from me”, and thrust my hand in my pocket. He ran off, and I haven’t been out alone since. If you have to go out alone at night, walk fast and confidently with your hand in your pocket, with a stern look on your face when you pass a stranger, and buy some pepper spray to attach to your key ring. It’s important to wear a look that says, “I’m not someone to mess with.”
- Study your surroundings whenever you’re in a crowd and evaluate the people near you. When you’re out, don’t be oblivious to your surroundings. An observant person is a tough target. Pickpockets and purse snatchers are still at it. I was on a crowded elevator once and someone opened my shoulder bag and stole my wallet in a matter of seconds.
- Don’t advertise yourself as a victim. Those who are looking for a victim, whether to rape, mug, or carjack, will choose a person who has what they are looking for. A person who flaunts what a criminal wants may be attracting some unwanted attention. Don’t wear expensive, flashy jewelry on public transportation or when you go shopping, day or night. Under no circumstances, should you ever get out of your car and leave your door unlocked for even a second. The story is told of a woman who got out of her car at a gas station to pay for her gas and left her doors unlocked. The cashier watched as a man opened the back door and lay down on the floor. He warned the woman not to go back to her car and called the police. When the man was caught, he had a gun and admitted that he planned to carjack the woman’s car.
- Stay with the crowd. 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. A friend took a shortcut one day through an isolated parking lot in the daytime and a man came from between parked cars and forced her into his car, where he made her perform a deviant sexual act.
- Avoid or minimize your use of automatic teller machines. Increasingly, this is becoming the easy mark of choice for criminals. Do your banking inside the bank. Let the ATM be an emergency alternative only. There were recent news reports of a man who was robbed and shot in his car when he pulled up to a drive-in ATM late one night.
- 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. Don’t take slight or small offenses personally. They are not worth getting bent out of shape. One woman was shot and seriously injured when she gave the finger to another motorist who blew his horn and yelled at her because she cut him off.
- If you’re with a group of people and someone gets into an argument, remove yourself immediately. Too many people get injured or killed being at the wrong place at the wrong time. A friend’s sister was accidentally killed when she walked over to observe a fight on the street and caught a bullet meant for someone else.
- Be careful who you take home. Be smitten, but pay attention. Careful and thoughtful observation in the initial stage of dating can help you avoid getting involved with someone who could harm you. Date rape is just not something you see on TV. I went out with a guy once who tried to rape me when I refused his advances. I ended up burning his hand with a cigarette lighter and jumped out of his car to safety.
- 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, always pretend you’re talking to someone else, before opening the door. You must be considered not to be home alone. Home invasions are on the rise. Remember, every friendly face is not friendly. There are stories of women being raped and killed by a cable repairman.
- Lastly, and above all trust in God. Ask Him to protect you at all times, but keep your eyes and ears open.