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Safety while traveling

New Technological Ways that You can Be a Victim of Theft

NOT ALL THIEVES ARE STUPID - 4 Lessons:

I was surprised by the ingenious ways that thieves can steal from someone nowadays just using everyday devices that we leave unattended. Hopefully the following examples will help you avoid such a fate:

 

1. LONG-TERM PARKING:

Some people left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car's registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people's home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

 

2. GPS:

Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents. Something to consider if you have a GPS - don't put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

 

3. CELL PHONES:

I never thought of this! This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, "I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago." When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text "hubby" in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Lesson:
a. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.
b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
c. Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.

 

4. PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART SCAM:
A lady went grocery-shopping at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children's seat of the cart while she reached something off a shelf.   Wait till you read the WHOLE story!   Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Mall Security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.


Ten Travel Safety Tips

Woman travelerHere is a list of ten suggested travel safety tips that could even work for you closer to home. They have helped me tremendously over the years.

Disclaimer --- These are not guaranteed and you will need to assess the situation for yourself before undertaking. Some are just good advice in general.

1. Know / Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Attackers and thieves look for easy targets. Those who are not paying attention or who seem unaware of those around them. In this way criminals can work on the element of surprise, do their crime in a flash with less fear of being caught. So see who is around you. See if you are being watched or followed. Keep your eyes open and attention sharp.

2. Avoid getting into a very crowded group or, if a group crowds around you, be suspicious and protect your valuables. I can't tell you how many times I have been on a bus, when a group of young men suddenly crowd around me. The rest of the bus was empty but I was surrounded. They were trying to pick my pocket! If this happens, do the following....

3. Make a noise! If you are being attacked or pushed, prodded or otherwise molested, yell out and don't be shy! "Police!" is a universal term. Thieves want it quiet. So make a racket.

4. If you must carry your valuables do it in a money belt. Do not carry anything valuable in a handbag or other carrying bag. There are some good ones that simply slip onto your belt loop so they are easy to whip out to get extra cash etc.

5. I try to carry pepper spray but when I can't (like traveling by plane) I carry bug spray or hairspray aerosol to use instead. Fighting back is something you have to ascertain for yourself. You might find that spraying something into the attackers' eyes can stun them temporaily and give you a chance to run away.

6. I also carry an easy-to-reach sharpened pencil. Little hands trying to reach into your pocket can get a pencil point in them. Ouch.

7. Obviously, don't walk down dark alleys alone, if you can help it. In India, even women who are walking with a man can be attacked. The criminals who roam in packs attack the man and disable them and then attack the woman. Know where you are going.

8. In a bar or restaurant, don't leave your drink unattended. If you have to use the bathroom either take your drink with you or order a fresh one (and watch them make it) when you return.

9. When checking into a hotel, don't let the clerk announce your room number so others can hear. Have them write it on a piece of paper and hand it to you. Others could be lurking and could then know where you are staying.

10. When staying in a hotel room, check all windows to see if they lock and be sure that the door locks and if there are any other doors (like to join adjacent rooms) to be sure that they lock. Also check closets and under the bed. Should anything feel amiss, ask for a new room and do the same check all over again. Also try to stay on middle to upper floors and not have a room next to another roof. You get the idea...

 


What is Wrong With Ford? What is Wrong With Ford India??

Ford indiaTalk about obscene - A Ford commercial in India shows three bound and gagged women in the trunk of a Ford car as the male driver gives a thumbs up sign.

It is inconcievable to me that in a country that has had demonstrations about Braveheart - the 23 year old woman who was kidnapped, beaten and gang-raped by 6 men and has reports of women's abuse every single day in the newspaper - would think that an ad like this is acceptable. And it is also infuriating. Considering Fords terrible history of anti-semitism with Henry Ford, you would think that they would be especially sensitive. But no.

 Maybe it is time to boycott Ford.


British tourist jumps from hotel window to escape sexual assault

More disheartening news about how women are treated in India - in this case tourists.

AGRA: A British female tourist on Tuesday was admitted in a hospital in Agra in a serious condition after jumping out of her hotel window to escape a sexual assault, police said. Jessica, 25, told police that she was staying in the first floor of a hotel in Agra's cantonment area when "some person" tried to molest her. The tourist, according to reports, has suffered fractured legs and bruises. The accused as been identified as the hotel manager Sachin Chauhan, who has been arrested by the police. This is the second case of sexual assault on foreign nationals in the country in past week.


Earlier on March 15 Swiss couple, camping near Jhadia village in Madhya Pradesh, was looted by seven men allegedly looted and later raped the woman. (With inputs from the Agencies)

 


Using Technology to Protect Women From Rape

IMG_2405We have been reporting on the reported rape epidemic in India in our most recent posts. Finally here is a good piece of news on the subject. Here is an excerpt of a much longer article:

Can a Wrist Watch Really Cure India’s Rape Problem?

by Feb 24, 2013 5:45 AM EST

The Indian government is developing a wrist watch equipped with GPS and a distress button. Can it help fight the plague of sexual violence?

In late January, the Indian government announced a new project to fight the rampant sexual assault cases in the country: a wrist watch. No longer just a fashion statement or functional timepiece, the accessory boasts a built-in distress button that texts friends, family and the nearest police station with the wearer’s GPS coordinates, and a video camera that captures footage when the button is hit.

India’s information technology minister, Kapil Sibal, announced the new development project a month after the brutal rape and murder of a young medical student in Delhi launched nationwide protests calling for change in the dysfunctional methods of addressing sexual violence. The briefing notes describe the project’s goal as “to develop indigenous product leveraging existing mobile spread and availability to cater to the security needs of people.” (Neither Sibal nor the government agency tasked with developing the watch responded to requests for a comment.) The watch is one of many tech-based solutions being crafted to combat rape and sexual assault by governments and tech developers across the globe. But not all activists are convinced this approach will work, and some are questioning how effective technology can be in stopping horrendous sexual assault cases like the one that shook Delhi.

Social media and smart phone software is growing into its potential to bring attention to, and even prevent, sexual assault and rape. Facebook and Twitter have been used to track sexual attacks in war zones like Syria, and to encourage prosecution in cases like Steubenville, Ohio. Hi-tech straws can detect the presence of date rape drugs in drinks. But it is the mobile platform that shows the most potential for combating an endemic of sexual violence across the globe.

Gail Abarbanel, founder and president of The Rape Foundation, one of the country’s oldest rape prevention and treatment centers, described the Indian project as “more like a ‘rape in progress’ alert than it is about prevention,” and says she hopes the government will turn its attention on men. “In so many of these situations, rapes could be prevented but not by the women who’s being sexually assaulted,” she said.  “Everything that’s ever been promoted to prevent rape focuses on the victim.”

Yet Abarbanel doesn’t reject the possibility of utilizing technology to combat assault. The Rape Foundation recently partnered with tech firm Possible to develop Safebook, an app they hope to release by the end of the year. Safebook aims to shift the burden to the friend, the bystander, the person that witnesses assault by creating groups and allowing them to check in on members. Its target demographic is college women, 1 in 5 of whom report being sexually assaulted during their four years on campus. Realizing this susceptible group is spending most of its time in the digital world, the partners hope to use social media campaigns to target them where they’re most comfortable—similar to campaigns that have already been successful for gay rights awareness and bullying.

As activists work on changing mindsets, the Indian government is going technical. The watch is expected to be ready mid-year and is expected to cost between $20 and $50, which is quite steep for a market like India. And in India, not all have been swept off their feet by the announcement. Many believe the country needs to rebuild its foundation of prevention methods. The biggest problem may be the apathy authorities, and even civilians, hold toward sex crimes. One of the most disturbing details to emerge in the aftermath of the brutal Delhi rape came from the woman’s companion, who said the battered pair spent 20 minutes on the side of a busy road before anyone stopped. In Delhi, a new study published by the International Center for Research on Women revealed the startling prevalence of attacks. Almost 80 percent of participants admitted to seeing a sexual assault take place, and only 16 percent said they had intervened. Crimes are rarely reported, especially in the case of young victims. In early February, the director of Human Rights Watch in South Asia announced that children who come forward after sexual abuse “are often dismissed or ignored by the police, medical staff and other authorities.” And just this week it was revealed that Indian police failed to investigate the rapes and murders of three young sisters.

Read the full article here.


Protecting Yourself While in Your Car

This is an email I recieved from my cousin about cases that involve safety in cars, especially when you are travelling alone. I thought that it would be valuable information and am posting it here on the blog. Stay safe!

A MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

Case 1- The Abandoned Baby on the Side of the Road

While driving on a rural end of the roadway on Thursday morning, I saw an infant car seat on the side of the road with a blanket draped over it. For whatever reason, I did not stop, even though I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head. But when I got to my destination, I called the Canton PD and they were going to check it out. But, this is what the Police advised even before they went out there to check....

"There are several things to be aware of .... gangs and thieves are now plotting different ways to get a person (mostly women) to stop their vehicle and get out of the car. "There is a gang initiation reported by the local Police Department where gangs are placing a car seat by the road...with a fake baby in it...waiting for a woman, of course, to stop and check on the abandoned baby.

"Note that the location of this car seat is usually beside a wooded or grassy (field) area and the person -- woman -- will be dragged into the woods, beaten and raped, and usually left for dead. If it's a man, they're usually beaten and robbed and maybe left for dead, too.

DO NOT STOP FOR ANY REASON!!! DIAL 9-1-1 AND REPORT WHAT YOU SAW, BUT DON 'T EVEN SLOW DOWN. "

Case 2 - Eggs On The Windshield

IF YOU ARE DRIVING AT NIGHT AND EGGS ARE THROWN AT YOUR WINDSHIELD, DO NOT STOP TO CHECK THE CAR, DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPER AND DO NOT SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5%, AND YOU ARE THEN FORCED TO STOP BESIDE THE ROAD AND BECOME A VICTIM OF THESE CRIMINALS.

THIS IS A NEW TECHNIQUE USED BY GANGS, SO PLEASE INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. THESE ARE DESPERATE TIMES AND THESE ARE UNSAVORY INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES TO GET WHAT THEY WANT."

 

Case 3 - Phony Unmarked Police Cars

Some knew about the red light on cars, but not the 112. It was about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on.

Lauren's parents have always told her never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc. Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called112 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher she would not pull over right away.

She proceeded to tell the dispatcher there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and he had back up already on the way.

Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

 

I never knew about the 112 Cell Phone feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a safe place. *Speaking to a service representative at Bell Mobility confirmed that 112 was a direct link to State trooper info. So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about 112. You may want to send this to every woman (and man) you know; it may save a life. This applies to ALL 50 states.


Personal Safety Plan – Be Prepared to Defend Yourself

Violence against women April is sexual assault awareness month, and we cannot turn our backs on the shocking numbers that the Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported for 2008.  In the United States alone, an estimated 222,000 rapes or sexual assaults of individuals 12 or older had occurred, and these are the cases that were reported.  Even more startling is that studies indicate 18% percent of women in this country will be raped over the course of their lifetimes.

This information is a frightening wake-up call, and every woman and girl must meet reality head on and devise a personal safety plan that she can incorporate into her daily routine.  Several components are required to make a personal safety plan effective, which includes both physical and emotional decisions based on the comfort zone of the individual. Attitude, common sense, survival instinct and the motivation to fight back are all critical factors that need to be addressed on a very personal level.  There also has to be a firm conviction that developing an individual safety plan is as critical as having a disaster emergency kit in place. This belief is not only essential, it is crucial.

Even now in the 21st century there is still doubt that a woman could actually defend herself and are rarely thought of as Xena the Warrior Princess welding a powerful weapon to combat the evil Xena_narrowweb__300x520,0 forces of the world.  That’s a man’s job right?  Women are the weaker sex, soft and feminine and not strong enough to defend herself if confronted with a potentially dangerous situation – NOT!  Women have the power within them to be strong and in control, empowered to take on whatever challenges they are faced with head on without losing their femininity.  The perception that women need to rely on a man to save the day whenever she is in trouble is ludicrous.  Unfortunately, Superman is not going to sweep down and fight the bad guys and whisk the girl away to safety.  In reality, women and girls need to become more proactive in making personal safety a part of their everyday lives. 

The first step in developing a personal protection plan is to imagine different scenarios that may place you in threatening circumstances.  Play out in your mind what would you do in the event if someone attacked you while walking to your car with your hands full of packages while looking for your keys.  If you enjoy jogging or running solo and a predator jumps at you from behind, will you be ready to react?

 

The Women’s Self Defense Federation offers a very informative article on how to avoid predators which can be found at http://aaa-selfdefense.com/avoiding-predators, and all women and girls should make the time to read it.  Here are some common sense guidelines regarding how a woman’s mindset can help prevent her from becoming a victim:

·    Always walk with confidence and with a purpose: Stand straight with your shoulders and Woman walking with confidence your head held high.  Don’t exude a “shrinking violet” posture with shlumpy shoulders and a lack of confidence.  Predators seek out potential victims who look timid and vulnerable.

·    Always be aware of your surroundings.  Your instinctual radar should be up at all times.  Avoid multi-tasking and distractions while walking from point A to point B, i.e. talking on the cell phone while fumbling for your keys in your purse. 

·    If someone gets into your personal space or is following you, look that person straight in the eye and ask “what do you want?”  Predators don’t like it when someone looks directly at them because they can now be identified.

·    If you must go to a grocery store or shopping mall at dark, park as close to the entrance as Woman in parking lot you can and always in a lighted area.  Do not park next to a van or a vehicle with someone in it with the engine running.  When leaving your car, make sure the doors are locked.  When coming out of the store, make sure you have your keys out and ready.  While loading the car with packages, put your purse in first and always look around you while placing the rest of the bags in your vehicle.  Once you are in your car, lock the doors immediately and turn on the engine.  Don’t sit there for any length of time because even if your doors are locked, it doesn’t stop a predator with a gun at your window.  Get in the car, lock the door and take off immediately.

·    Avoid walking solo in dark, isolated areas and choose a path that is well lit and trafficked.  If you must walk a dark and isolated route, carry a flashlight, a personal alarm, a charged cell phone and a personal protection device such as a pepper spray, Mace, stun gun or TASER at ALL TIMES.  Non-lethal personal protection products are affordable, compact and very effective in protecting an individual from being attacked by a predator.  These devices are very easy to use and require very little or no training and are legal within most of the 50 states.

·    If you are confronted with a potential assault, scream as loud as you can or set off your personal alarm to attract attention. Yell “I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY!!”  and start running in the opposite direction as fast as you can.   If you have a pepper spray on hand, don’t be afraid to use it.  Pepper spray is made from hot cayenne peppers. The active ingredient is called oleoresin capsicum (OC) which is derived from chilis and most effective when sprayed in the eyes of a predator.  The immediate result is severe burning of the eyes, tearing and pain, which can last up to 35-40 minutes.  Some sprays also include an indelible dye to mark the attacker. Pepper spray

·   Another effective personal defense tool is Mace, which is an irritant similar to tear gas.  Unlike pepper spray, however, Mace will not have any effect on predators that are on drugs or alcohol.  Mace® is also the brand name for personal defense and security products.

·   TASERs are more expensive than a pepper spray or Mace product, but this personal defense device is one of the most powerful non-lethal tools a civilian can own that is legal in all states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.  Check local state laws on any restrictions regarding the use or possession of a Taser.  Tasers can incapacitate an attacker up to 15 feet away and can also act as a stun gun upon body contact.  The Taser is very easy to operate with a simple point and shoot mechanism with a laser light that will guarantee an accurate aim at the predator.

·   It is important that you learn more about these personal defense products and choose the one that you are comfortable with so that you are not afraid to use it when necessary. 

Women self defense ·   Learn some basic self defense techniques that are easy to remember but effective enough to escape a predator’s attack.  Self defense classes are relatively inexpensive and there are organizations who offer free self defense workshops for women and girls.  There is a great website that all young women should visit, which makes available a 20 minute long video that teaches girls how to fight back against sexual assault and abduction. Since 2006 Just Yell Fire has empowered 1 million girls in 44 countries with getaway skills and the right to live without fear of being a victim of sexual assault.

Date rape drugs are becoming a very popular method of disorienting an individual so that she will not have the ability to defend herself against a sexual assault.  The three most popular date rape drugs are Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine.  Rohypnol

 

These drugs are powerful, dissolve quickly in liquids and take effect within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion.  If you are going out to a club, a party or even to dinner with someone you don’t know very well, you need to take these precautions to avoid becoming a victim of these date rape drugs:

· Don’t take drinks from people you don’t know 

· Open your own beverage container

· Never leave your drink unattended.

· If a drink tastes funny, pour it out.

· Don’t drink from punch bowls.

· If you feel drunk and you had no alcohol, get help immediately

· Never leave a social situation with a stranger or even an acquaintance that you don’t know very well.

 

The rule of thumb is when you are out with friends or on a date, keep your wits about you, have a charged cell phone handy, and don’t drink too much alcohol.  It is also a good idea to ALWAYS tell a friend or family member where you are going and check in from time to time.

Assault doesn’t always have to happen outside your home, and the major cause of injury to women each year is from domestic violence.  According to the American Institute of Domestic Violence, http://www.aidv-usa.com 5.3 million women are abused each year in the United States.  If you are a victim of domestic violence, do you have a safety plan in place to prepare an escape from an intimate partner’s violent episode? Do you have resources such as trusted neighbors, friends or family members who can offer you and your children a safe haven from your abuser? Visit http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/plan.shtml for more information on a step-by-step Domestic Violence Safety Plan along with a link to download a “Family Disaster Plan” worksheet.

Home invasion in the United States is also a very harsh reality and according to a United States Department of Justice report:Home invasion

  • 38 percent of assaults and 60 percent of rapes occur during home invasions
  • One in five homes undergoes a home invasion or break-in
  • There are more than 8,000 home invasions every day in North America
  • 50 percent of home invasions involve the use of a weapon; the most common weapons used are knives or other cutting instruments
  • In 48 percent of home invasions, victims sustain physical injuries
  • Victims age 60 or older make up 17 percent of home invasion victims
  • In 68 percent of home invasions, victims and the accused are strangers; in 11 percent of these cases, victims and the accused are friends, business associates, or family

Here are some recommended tips to help you prepare and defend against the threat of home invasion:

  • If your home uses hollow wooden doors rather than doors with solid cores, invest in some heavy duty locks.
  • Install security devices in windows such as alarm systems or bars.  These devices can be relatively inexpensive, and you do not have to spend a zillion dollars to secure your home.
  • Lock all entry ways such as doors and windows at all times.
  • If your front door does not have a peephole, have one installed.  Your investment will be about $30 which is worth having the ability to see who is at your door before opening it.
  • If you have some extra money to spend, install an alarm system such as ADT.  Do your homework and shop for the best deals to keep costs low.
  • It is highly recommended that you install surveillance cameras inside and outside of your home.  However, this equipment can be extremely pricey, and there are less expensive options such as dummy cameras that will give the illusion your property is being monitored.
  • If you live in a house, ALWAYS keep the front, sides and back of the property well lit when it is dark. 
  • When entering your home garage, be especially aware that no one has followed you in. Once you have determined you are alone, immediately close the garage door behind you. If someone has followed you into your garage, lock your car doors and back out immediately and drive away as fast as you can to safety. 

 

  • If you live in an apartment complex or dorm, always make sure no one follows you into the building.  Proceed to your apartment quickly and lock the door behind you. 

 

  • If your apartment, condo or dorm complex offers underground parking, try to park as close to the exit as possible in a well lit area.  Before getting out of your car, do a quick scan of your surroundings to make sure there is no suspicious activity at play.

  • Keep a personal protection device such as a pepper spray, Mace, stun gun or TASER close to reach inside and outside of your home.

 

  • If you notice any suspicious individuals in your neighborhood, alert neighbors or Neighborhood Watch groups.  If your community has an outside security company assigned to patrol your area, call them immediately to report any unusual activity.  

  • Have a discussion with your family regarding home invasions, preventative measures and escape plans in the event they become necessary. 

A well defined personal safety plan is an option that can no longer be ignored. The veracity of living in a world full of economic duress, raging unemployment, relentless foreclosures, and social apathy from too much online networking and very little human interaction clearly defines that society is becoming an increasingly hostile environment to live in.  Television shows it, the newspapers report it and statistics prove it.  We must stop sticking our heads in the sand like frightened ostriches and deal head on that it ain’t pretty out there.  We need to accept it but understand that we DO have the power to prevent the chance of ever falling victim to a ruthless crime. Women and girls must have the strength and the determination to fight back against violence without fear, embarrassment or guilt.  You don’t have to be Supergirl to defend yourself and win – awareness, preparedness, and a personal protection device will help you stay in control when circumstance puts you in a precarious situation. Strong_woman

 


How to Stay Safe During the Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner, and it's the time of year that we have to pay close attention to what is going on around us. Immediately following Halloween, Christmas tunes are being played in the stores to match the display of holiday decorations, lights, Christmas trees and gift sets that all seem to miraculously appear overnight. For many of us, the holiday season can be very stressful with the demands of shopping, decorating, planning parties and the lack of money to spend on all these festivities may add up to distraction and anxiety. Predators are very busy this time of year, and they are ready to pounce on anyone who is simultaneously carrying a million shopping bags while searching for car keys and talking on the cell phone. We are all guilty of befalling into the the mad hustle and bustle of the holidays with little focus on anything else. The downturn of the economy,high employment rates, and the rise in foreclosures, have fueled a negative influence on communities across the nation. Violent crimes, especially against women, are on the rise, and the desperation of the times is only going to help influence the numbers to go up.


The following tips from the Los Angeles Police Department Crime Prevention Section can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
  • Always carry your Driver License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

Source: LAPD Crime Prevention Section

We need to consider these safety tips and make it our second nature to stay alert, stay focused and be prepared to protect ourselves against violent behavior inside and outside the home. While shopping also consider one of our pepper sprays or stun guns as a cool stocking stuffer or one of our personal alarms which acts as a loud distress signal that is sure enough to scare a predator away. Our home safety products are affordable and make great gifts for students who are away at college, and our auto safety tools are perfect companions for everyone who drives a car, especially at night.

Keep yourself, your family and your home safe this holiday season, and bring in the New Year with peace of mind.

*check your local and state law before purchasing a TASER®, Mace, Pepper Spray or Stun Gun.

*The purchase and use of any personal protection devices such as TASER®, Mace, Pepper Spray or Stun Gun is the sole responsibility of the purchaser. The purchaser assumes all rights and liabilities from the use of any of these products.