Scanning a walkway or parking lot, an attacker searches for a soft or an easy target. Perhaps it’s the individual struggling to carry a heavy item or distracted by their cell phone. Do you ever wonder how you appear to others? Do you stand straight, peering around occasionally to assess your environment? While it’s not always easy to avoid walking alone, especially at night, you can become part of a vital statistic, involving 50% of women, who want to feel more secure when walking alone day or night!
Walking to a Vehicle
We all have some form of alarm bells, a feeling of concern and the need for caution. In all cases, it’s wise to trust your instincts. If a security guard or business employee is not available to escort you to your vehicle, use your surroundings. Join a group leaving the building to increase your safety, or walk with purpose, on a well-lit pathway, directly to your destination. Make sure keys are in readiness to unlock the door! After entering your vehicle, do not sit and wait, but lock the doors, and leave immediately.
Tip: Never leave your keys in the ignition, especially at a gas station.
Tip: Of all the essential items to keep in your vehicle, consider a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
Women carry extensive, valuable possessions in their shoulder bags, from car keys to cash and credit cards, IDs, and expensive sunglasses, to pieces of jewelry. The bag itself may be an expensive brand-name worth several hundred dollars. To prevent your belongings from falling in the wrong hands, carry your bag close to your body. The safest purse requires two-steps to enter, perhaps a buckled flap over the zipper, and a shortened strap. Take the time to clean out your purse periodically to ensure only the essential items, including relevant credit cards, are carried. Make sure your wallet lies at the bottom, rather than at the top!
Tip: Do you know what items are in your purse? Keep an up-to-date list of every credit card you carry. Make sure to list the company’s name, number, and account number.
Walking with a Cell Phone
With hands-free devices, either corded or wireless, individuals can block out the world’s noise and focus on a conversation, audiobook, or favorite song. Thus, victims do not sense they are about to have their phones plucked from their hands or pockets. Instead of walking and scrolling at the same time, implement the following safety habits.
- Conceal your phone underneath a coat or jacket, and try not to keep it in your back pocket, where it can easily be stolen.
- Make phone conversations short, or allow the message to go to voicemail.
- Turn down the volume to your hands-free device, and be alert to the sounds around you!
- Keep your head up and scan the area frequently.
- Mark your cell phone with invisible ink, turn on the “location” and “password protected” settings.
A Sense of Being Followed
As a rule, never take acts of safety for granted! Most attackers do not want to be seen; therefore, take the time to turn around and look your follower in the eye; then, cross the street and find a location; perhaps, an open business, where a number of people can assist. Attract attention by whistling or screaming! Arriving to a vehicle, do not drive directly home! Report your experience to the police department!
Say No to Uncomfortable Situations
Instinct plays a vital role in safety! Never feel embarrassed in using the word, “No!” Saying it out loud indicates a personal preference and helps individuals avoid distrustful circumstances. If you feel leery, try the following solutions:
- Think first of what the consequences may be if you said “Yes.” Pondering what could go wrong is one means to promote safety!
- Create a code word with family members and roommates. It may lead to a vital rescue!
- Find an escape route that allows you to leave without confrontation. Determine if friends can assist and you can leave in a group.
Start sharing your vision of safety through social media to guarantee that your family and friends, teens, and young children learn to be proactive and vigilant when walking in public!