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Awareness is the key: Increasing your personal awareness is an integral part of crime prevention, and perhaps the single most important element of effective self-defense. An awareness of the reality of crime and violence, as well as an awareness of your environment, are the keys to your personal security. Being aware does not have to involve paranoia. You can't live your life expectancy a problem, buy you can train yourself to be more alert, and adjust your level of awareness as needed. For instance, if you have good locks and live in a decent area, you shouldn't have to be constantly on guard. On the other hand, if you're out late at night, perhaps a little paranoia is a good thing. Just use good common sense and remember to pay attention to what's happening around you, and you will go a long way towards keeping yourself safe, in an increasingly hostile world.
Developing a survival mind set: No one has the right to harm you or the ones you love, buy violence does exist and it can touch your life at any time. If it does happen, and you aren't mentally prepared to deal with it, you will most likely become frozen in fear. The best way to avoid this is to develop a survival mind set. Imagine yourself in a dangerous situation and visualize what actions you might take to survive and escape, The key is to address your fears before you are confronted with them. While it is unpleasant to visualize yourself as the victim of a rape, robbery or assault, it's necessary to prepare the mind to deal with the trauma. Preparation (while you're still in a safe environment) is the key.
Trust your instincts: Learn to trust your instincts and listen to what your intuition tells you. Trust those "little voices" when they tell you that something (or somone) "just doesn't look right." All of your senses should come to full alert, and you should be prepared to take action (if it's necessary) to get out of the situation or away from that person as fast as possible.
Avoid presenting a victim profile: Crime victims are frequently chosen because they are easy targets. Criminals prey on the weak or unsuspecting, and usually avoid people who are aware of what's going on and might put up a fight. When out in public, look people in the eye, keep your head up, and walk with a confident stride. This tells the predator that you are more likely to see him coming and resist. Without the element of surprise, they will likely pass you up for someone who'll put up less of a fight.
Lights, people and noise: "Just use good common sense and remember to pay attention to what's happening around you, and you will go a long way towards keeping yourself safe..." Always remember that your greatest allies are lights, people and noise. These are the three things that criminals fear most, because they increase the likelihood that they will be seen or caught. Whenever possible travel in groups and in open, populated areas - especially at night. Steer clear of dark areas or isolated places where criminals will have the advantage - especially if you are by yourself.
Your first priority is escape: If you do end up in a dangerous situation, remember that your number one priority is not to fight, but to escape. Obviously, the best plan is not to be there in the first place, but if you do find yourself in trouble, don't hesitate to take every available escape route. If you are confronted and you cannot immediately escape, you may want to consider complying, at least until you can escape. When faced with someone who demands your wallet, purse, jewelry etc... - give it to them, and get out of there. No possession, however valuable, is worth risking your life over.
You must react quickly: One of the greatest challenges to defending yourself is that in the real world (unlike in the movies) acts of violence usually happen very quickly. When an attack occurs suddenly (even though there are usually warning signs), you are at an exteme disadvantage, if you are not prepared to react. This is especially true if you rely solely on some form of weapon for your defense. Pepper spray, stun guns and firearms are useless if you can't get to them instantly when you need them. So try to anticipate dangerous situations in advance (such as walking to your car at night) and prepare yourself to take quick action.
Almost anything can be a weapon: In an extreme situation, you can use many everyday objects as a weapon. A pen or pencil can be used as a dagger, or a phone or lamp could be used as a club. Anything that is harder, sharper or more resilient than your hands can be used effectively, so take the time (preferably in advance) to look around for everyday objects that you could use to defend against a violent attacker.
When attacked...attack back: One of the most importance tenets of self-defense is that when attacked - you must attack back! You need to make your attacker worry about their own safety, instead of how they're going to hurt you. In an extreme situation, you may have to be vicious. Attack your assailant's weaker points, like their eyes, groin or throat. Do not hesitate, since it will only give your attacker more time to formulate their own attack. Overwhelm your assailant, trying to momentarily disable them, so you can escape!
The element of surprise: Second to awareness, surprise is perhaps the most important element of effective self-defense. Using it to your advantage can give you a devastating edge in a confrontation. The number of deceptive counterattacks is limited only by your imagination. For example, you might pretend to be passive, by appearing to submit to your assailants wishes, only to attack them when they least expect it. You might also try to talk to your attacker, then suddenly throw something at their face - and run. In any case, it will be your ability to stay as calm as possible, while you keep thinking, that will make the difference.
When approaching your car or home, have your key in hand and get inside your house or car quickly. Keep the doors locked, even if leaving for a few minutes.
If you are attacked and decide to fight back, remember the attackers vulnerable areas:
|eyes, nose, neck, groin and knee|
By pulling, kicking, hitting or gouging one of these areas, you may give yourself time to escape.
Better yet - take a self-defense course so you have an awareness of what to do and can gauge the situation better.
SAFEGUARDS YOU CAN TAKE:
For Personal Security
- When walking, do not carry your purse by the handle or strap. Keep it close to your body.
- Never leave your purse lying on a counter or in a shopping cart. Always keep closures fastened.
- Walk only on well-lighted, well traveled streets. Avoid parks, dark parking lots and construction areas after dark.
- Walk near the curb rather than near buildings, alleys or shrubbery.
- If you believe your are being followed as you walk, turn around and look. If you are in danger, you can prepare to deal with it.
- If, while you are walking, you are accosted by someone in a car, run in a direction opposite to the way the car is traveling. In the time it takes the car to turn around, you can be gone.
- Always check the back seat of your car for intruders before entering.
- If you are being followed in a car, do not drive home. Drive to a police, fire or gas station, or any other well-lighted area. Remember your horn is a good alarm.
- To prevent carjacking, lock all doors, even when driving.
- When stopped in traffic, leave enough space between your car and the car ahead for quick departure.
- If another driver bumps your vehicle, do not stop. Either drive to a well-traveled area to inspect the damage or attempt to get the vehicle's license plate number and report it immediately to the police.
- If parked in a shopping mall or supermarket parking lot, look around for anyone or anything suspicious before approaching the car. If you feel you are being watched, go back to the store and ask someone to escort you or call the police.
- If available, take freeways rather than streets through high crime areas.
- While driving, stay in the center lane; avoid being blocked into the curb lane.
- Above all, if there is no escape, do not resist.
- Use strong locks on every door of your home, and a chain lock or peephole on all windowless doors.
- Using a Home Security system can lower the chances of being a victim of home invasion.
- Never open your door until you know who is standing on the other side. Repair or delivery persons can be identified by their identification cards by calling their places of employment.
- Do not put your first name on your mailbox or in the telephone directory. Use your first name initials.
- Have your keys in you hand, both to and from your home and car. Keep the key you intend to use poised in a position so it could be used as a weapon. Know which way your key goes into the lock.
- If you find evidence that an intruder has entered your home, DO NOT ENTER. Call police immediately from a nearby house.
- If you are hesitant about entering an elevator with a stranger, wait for the next elevator. When in the elevator, stand close to the control panel and know where the alarm is located.
- Carry a whistle in your hand or around you wrist. Use it if you feel threatened.
- Do not allow anyone to follow you into your building. Just because the person is holding a key, it does not mean the key fits the door to your building.
- Do not go to the basement laundry room alone. Do you laundry with a friend.
- Inform your baby-sitter of all precautionary rules you follow. Insist, for the safety of the baby-sitter and your children, that these rules be followed in your absence.
- Do no give personal information to strangers over the phone, or let the caller know that your are home alone.
- If you receive a "wrong number" call, never disclose you phone number on name. Ask what number the caller is trying to reach and instruct the caller to dial again.
- If you receive an obscene phone call, hang up immediately and notify the police. If calls persist, keep a whistle near the phone. At the next obscene call, blow the whistle loudly into the mouthpiece.
- YOUR BEST DEFENSE AGAINST ATTACK IS AWARENESS. REMAIN ALERT AND AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.
SAFEGUARDS YOU CAN TAKE:
Be aware of those times and places where there is a potential for attack and be prepared to defend yourself.
- parking lots
- walking at night
- waiting for a bus
- other you will learn to recognize
Articles common to your handbag that make useful defense weapons.
- nail file
- rat tail comb
- teasing brush
- pens and pencils
- anything rigid
Concentrate on these areas only when combating an assailant.
You should not swing at an assailant. Roundhouse or overhand blows are easy to deflect or evade.
Your movements should be made with all your strength, and should be straight jabs.
Remember that screaming may be just as important to your defense as any weapon.
Fighting for your safety may be necessary. However, if you start out fighting you cancel any other options that might be open to you. Since many attacks on women are not sexually motivated, and are designed to degrade and humiliate, talking you way out of it may be easier.
- There is documentation of assailants that left a would-be-victim alone after she told him that she was pregnant and it would kill her baby. (Some case were women that were too old to even have a baby.)
- Telling an attacker that you have VD or AIDS can discourage him.
- It may sound disgusting, but putting your fingers into you throat and making yourself vomit usually gets results. (This method is not often used except as a last resort.)
Use your imagination and you can thing of others.
The above methods are particularly important if your assailant has a gun or knife, or there is more than one attacker. (Fighting would probably be futile.)
SAFEGUARDS YOU CAN TAKE TO HELP PREVENT CHILD ABDUCTIONS:
STRANGERS ARE NOT ALWAYS EVIL LOOKING
Child molesters and abductors usually look like everyday people. Tell your kids not to talk to adults they do not know. Anytime they are approached by an adult they should check with a parent or trusted adult immediately.
HOW CHILD MOLESTERS AND ABDUCTORS GAIN A CHILD'S CONFIDENCE
Often times they will befriend a child by asking for help. Some examples are: Asking to help find a lost pet; asking directions to someone's house; offering reward money for assistance; saying Mom or Dad have been hurt or need their help; acting like an undercover police officer (children should only approach uniformed police officers, and/or marked police cars).
They may also gain your child's trust by very minor contacts over several days, such as saying hello to them repeatedly. Make sure your children know to tell you if a stranger is trying to make friends with them.
CHILDREN ARE MOST VULNERABLE WHEN ALONE
Individuals who prey on children wait for an opportunity when the child is alone. Children should not be outside their home by themselves, even for short periods of time. They should walk to and from school and bus stops in groups.
Working together with other families in your neighborhood to develop a formal plan for kids to walk together is a good idea.
Parents are encouraged to join or organize a Neighborhood Watch program in their community.
TELL CHILDREN TO STAY AWAY FROM CARS
A car or other vehicle is often the means by which the abductor removes the child from the neighborhood. Children should never approach a vehicle unless they are absolutely sure they know the occupants. Abductors entice children to walk near their vehicles and then pull them inside.
If children routinely see the same car parked (or following them) on their normal walking routes (to and from school, etc.) they should report it to trusted adults immediately.