A woman at a Wal-Mart in Fort Worth was nearly robbed by a man with a knife recently. Surveillance cameras show the perpetrator and an accomplice sitting in a car in the same parking lot, watching people coming and going in an attempt to identify targets. With the holidays coming up, this type of thing will happen more often, and while no one can guarantee that you will never be a victim, there are some things you can do this holiday season to make yourself a less desirable target.
How not to be a target out and about:
*Always be aware of your surroundings. Criminals are less likely to attack someone who appears confident and observant.
*Take, lock, hide (you can stop 50% of theft from your car by locking your door)
*Zip, or close, your purse
*If you can, try to travel with someone else.
*Keep your cell phone handy and well charged.
*Park in well-lit areas.
*Walk to your car with your keys in hand. When you get inside immediately lock your doors.
*Always check under your car as you approach it.
*Before unlocking or entering your car, check the back seat and floors.
*Make sure your car has plenty of gas and is well-maintained.
*Choose a safe, frequently used route when traveling, even if it takes longer.
*It never hurts to take a self-defense class, but, do not think that a self-defense class makes you invincible.
*Always use well lighted ATMs.
*Avoid stairwells that are not busy.
*Don’t enter an elevator with someone who makes you uneasy. If you are in an elevator with a stranger, stand by the control panel. Exit the elevator if you feel threatened. If you are threatened or attacked in an elevator, punch all the floor buttons so the door opens on each floor. This will give you more chances to escape. If you cannot escape, yell for help each time the door opens.
*If you are going to be working late, let someone know when you are expected home.
*If someone attempts to rob you of your purse, etc., do not resist. This could be a deadly mistake.
*Above all else, pay attention to your gut reactions. If something seems off, take extra precautions and leave the area. It is better to overreact than underreact.
How not to be a target at home:
*Get a dog that barks when strangers approach. It doesn’t have to be a big dog; any dog will do if it makes noise. When interviewed in jails and prisons, thieves often say that houses with dogs are not good targets.
*Buy motion-sensor lights for your home. Light is one of the best deterrents to crime.
*Keep bushes on your property trimmed to cut down on hiding spots.
*Walk to your home with your keys in hand. When you get inside immediately lock your doors.
*Get good locks for your doors and windows and use them. Lock your doors even when you are in your back yard.
*If you leave a spare key outside, do not leave it near the door, and don’t leave it under a “fake” rock.
*Never leave a message on your answering machine that says you are on vacation and the date you’ll be back.
*When you are away from home, do all you can to make your home look occupied. Have your mail and newspaper put on hold, or have a friend pick them up for you. Have someone mow your lawn or shovel your snow, and set timers for inside lights.
*Meet your neighbors. Nosey neighbors are the best kind to have when it comes to reporting a theft.