How to Avoid Being the Victim of a Violent Crimes.

The three most common reasons that women are easy targets for random acts of violence:

(a.) Lack of Awareness

Always know where you are & what is going on around you.

(b.) Body Language

Keep your head up, be alert, don’t show your fear.

(c.) Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Don’t walk alone in an alley or drive through a bad neighborhood at night. Take the safer route even if it is the longer way home.

Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit there behind the wheel (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.). DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and take control of your life. As soon as you get into your car, lock the doors and leave.

A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage. Be aware, look around you, look into your car, look at the passenger side floor, and also look in the back seat. This is not paranoid behavior. If you are parked next to a big van in a large parking garage and your driver’s side is adjacent to the van, enter your car instead from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the victims are attempting to get into their cars. Look closely at the cars parked on both the driver’s side of your vehicle and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car you may want to walk back into the mall, or work or wherever and get a guard or policeman to walk you back out to your car.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

Take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and they are the perfect crime spot. If there is only one other person in the elevator in a public building, especially after hours, let that elevator go and wait for another one.

Try whenever possible to travel at night in pairs. On college campuses this is also true: call someone to walk across campus with you at night. In a big parking lot such as at a grocery store, park where there is good lighting AND where it is closest to where you want to go. And lock your vehicle at all times when you are not in the vehicle.

Don’t tempt fate by leaving valuables visible and accessible inside your vehicle. The lock is inconsequential to a determined thief.

List only your last name with an initial on your mailbox and even in the telephone directory unless you can post an address that is non-residential. Don’t broadcast that you live alone and also beware of giving personal information to strangers over the phone. Give no information unless you were the one who called the other party. Also don’t accept solicitations over the phone. Gently hang up the receiver instead of talking to them.

If a predator has a gun and you are not under his physical control, RUN! The predator’s chances of hitting you (a running target) are 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely will not be a vital organ. RUN! It may save your life.

Women are always trying to be sympathetic but it may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, educated man who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

If you are on a lonely stretch of highway or road and an unmarked police car attempts to pull you over, do this: Signal to the officer that you are aware of his request but then proceed until you find a public spot to stop, somewhere with lights and other people around like a busy gas station. Do NOT stop along the lonely roadway, this unmarked car might not be a police car even if it sports flashing lights. This is a common ploy, do not fall for it. A bonafide police officer will recognize the safety issues involved and will gladly follow you to the public place.

Rapists expect women to be compliant, and really this is what the public media often erroneously advises women in a rape predicament. Smart women will put up a fight and will try to run away or they may, when presented with the opportunity, severely bite the penis of the perpetrator -or- bite his ear, stab him in the throat with their car keys, kick him in the groin, even push a finger or two deep into his eyes. These things work. Don’t be afraid to use them. The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it against a perpetrator, do it! Making eye contact with a perpetrator can also sometimes help. Crime loves anonymous victims. Remember also that rape is a VIOLENT CRIME, it is not a sexual crime. There is nothing sexual about rape. The rapist merely uses his sexual organ as a weapon of control.

If you should ever be raped, time is of the essence. Call for help immediately. Do not delay. Do not shower or cleanse the pubic area. Do not change clothes. Do not do anything other than stop any profuse bleeding. Get to a hospital quickly for semen samples and a forensic examination. Many women have inadvertantly cleaned up important biological clues to the perpetrator before an investigation can begin. Many wait too long to call for help, police suggest that you have only a small window of opportunity to call for help with credibility. If you do have to go through this, you have the right to request the presence of a woman police officer AND a rape counselor, programs for which are now available in many communities. Psychological counseling in the aftermath of a rape is absolutely critical, do it. Your family will need it, too, sometimes more than you the victim.

The best "safety" device is probably a metal whistle on your key chain. When peril presents itself blow that whistle and don’t stop blowing it while you seek protective cover. Perpetrators hate to be compromised and discovered.

EXXON MOBILE’s Smart Tag is a useful thing - this is a small plastic attachment for your keychain that allows you to push a button with this device to pay for your gas without your having to pull out a wallet or a purse to do so. An embedded chip automatically relays your credit card information to Exxon Mobile without requiring you to present your credit card. And it works like a charm! It is a real safety measure for late night driving or for when you have to pull into poorly lit areas for refueling.

On busy streets and because of a growing purse-snatching problem in some localities, it is just not advisable for women to carry a large, easy to access purse that hangs loosely over one shoulder. Purse-snatchers look for this. Carry a fanny pack in your vehicle and transfer your wallet and keys to this when you are out shopping. Wear the fanny pack so that the satchel is worn in front, not in the back. "Backpack" types of purses of all kinds are not good because they allow someone to reach into the purse from behind, often times without you even being aware of it.

Potential child molesters are another growing problem as we all know. Know where your kids are at all times and do not implicitly "trust" someone just because they work in a church environment. Or even in a day care center. Do your homework, know your care-givers. Always be on the alert. Listen to your child, query them about things, note any changes in their normal behavior and affect following a care-giving episode.

When in doubt, DON’T. If you have any qualms at all about doing something or going somewhere with someone, don’t do it, regardless of what it is. Be in charge of your own life. You have the right to say NO when you feel like it.

This is particularly true with regard to sex. You are the best judge of what you want to do or not do in a sexual encounter, and always adhere to that standard. If you do not like some sexual act don’t do it. Sex should be pleasurable and consensual. There is nothing "dutiful" about it. Sexual engagement should never, ever be forced.

Require proper identification for repairmen about to enter your home or place of business. Credible companies are more than happy to provide this. Insist on it. If someone knocks on your door at night, find out who is there first before you open the door. Don’t let a stranger inside your house for any reason. If they need to use your phone, offer to make the call for them instead of letting them into your house to use your phone, particularly if you are alone. Some strangers will find every excuse to have a look inside your house, if only to make some mental notes about a good place to come when they are involved in a heist.

Many folks now have cellular phones. If you encounter an accident scene or a breakdown situation on the interstate keep moving. Do not stop at the scene. Make a call to 911 and report the time and place to the police, that will be very helpful to everyone involved.

About guns. It is very dangerous for anyone to carry a gun even with a permit for a concealed weapon. The law in most states is very specific about what you can and cannot do in a situation where a gun (or other lethal weapon) is involved. Many police officers in this country have ended up in jail because they didn’t cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s in the line of duty. It is a common myth that I hear often - which is, "if you are going to shoot at someone, shoot to kill." NOT. Or, I will also often hear someone say: "Shoot them inside your house (the perpetrator) or drag them into the house once they have been shot. You have a right to defend your own property." NOT. The law stipulates that you cannot use more force against a perpetrator than the force they are using against you. And you have to show convincing evidence that you tried to escape and run away from the perpetrator. Using force against another person, even a perpetrator, is fraught with peril for you the victim, perils that are both physical and legal. Don’t keep a gun in your dresser drawer but if for some reason you do, keep the ammo elsewhere. Any guns in your household should be kept with proper vigilance and only in a secure space.

Quietly and immediately hang up on an abusive or obscene telephone caller, then call the telephone company and the police to report the incident. Don’t talk back to the perpetrator, that’s what they want you to do. Any response from you incites them more. Caller ID’s are a cheap form of protective defense today. Consider getting that telephone service.

Stalkers often start out innocently enough but they can soon become major intrusions if not a perilous presence in your life. Stalkers want you to react to them. They get off on this. They pretend or imagine a connection with you that in reality doesn’t exist, only in their minds it exists. They grab at straws and can turn the slightest inuendo on your part into a major sign of something to them. They lie awake at night mentally intruding on your space. And beware of certain telephone companies - some of them will not release telephone records to the police even in cases of telephone abuse. Know your telephone company. Find out now what they will and what they won’t do in problematic situations. Like in everything else in life you do get what you pay for, even in telephone companies.

The internet is another domain where we have to practice vigilance. Instant messaging can be fun but it can also become quite problematic on a number of fronts. Reserve instant messaging to known friends and family members. By "known" I mean persons you have physically met in real life and over time you have come to know them to be trustworthy. The internet is a boundary-less space, it recognizes few rules. It is fraught with perils for both adults and children who underestimate the power of anonymity online. NEVER agree to meet in person with an otherwise unknown online "friend" unless it is a controlled situation with other trustworthy persons present. Behind the cloak of anonimity many demons lie in wait. In an online service like America Online, don’t post a public profile even though this option exists.

If a friend or neighbor calls you late at night for help and you don’t fully understand the problem or situation, don’t go running to their aid without help in tow. Call the police, tell them where you are going and why. Ask them to meet you there. Find out the facts later. More police officers die in the line of duty on domestic incident calls than in any other line of police work.

Much bad blood has been spilled between neighbors where one of the families has a problem animal, one who barks too much or harasses neighborhood animals, etc. Try talking to the neighbor first, THEN call the police or animal control. Offer to help. In more cases than not, huge tensions suddenly arise between neighbors who are not on speaking terms and then the long arm of the law is evoked too soon. This can lead to dire consequences, beware. They may be your neighbor but you may not know them well or at all.

Remember that Counseling is a profession backed by years of formal training, and the average person is not capable of adequately counseling anyone, even family members, on their own. Do not do this. It is fraught with legal difficulties as well as emotional ones. Refer to someone else who has the skills to help you or your friend or family member. Word of mouth referrals are the best out there, so ask your trusted friends who they would suggest you call for help. If they have had a good experience with a counselor themselves they will readily tell you about it.

While the world can sometimes be a scary place, it is much less so when you practice some common sense in your approach to your immediate surroundings.