Monday, 24 March 2014

Shopping this Holiday Season - Safety in Mind (Part 2 - Car and Driving)

Yep, this is another reminder that with the joyous season of
giving comes the increase vulnerability to those that would
do taking. In English: the holiday has increased crime
rates, especially theft. Keep in mind that crimes occur
when a would-be criminal finds a "weak, accessible target".
The distraction of holiday shopping, planning, traveling,
visiting, etcetera is a perfect back drop for criminal
activity. Not that that's going to prevent or change any of
our plans. Right?

Let's hope not. All the while, let's add a few items to
our planning list. They don't involve time or money, just
safety-minded eyes and ears.

Are you aware of "the Criminal Triangle"? It indicates
that a crime happens when Desire, Opportunity, and a Victim
meet. Well, that makes things simple, as long as we don't
allow an Opportunity, we won't become a Victim. Um... What
qualifies as an Opportunity to someone with extreme
Desire? Not sure, but I am sure that implementing
these tips will help reduce the opportunity of you
becoming a victim.

Keep in mind these Holiday Shopping Tips when

Shop with the sun, friends and family. Repeat!
Try not to shop after dark or shop alone. Never park your
car in an unlit area, no matter how convenient it is. Look
for street lights even if the sun is up (just in case your
shopping trip is delayed and it becomes stormy and/or dark

Be prepared. Look around... Remember where you
park... Have keys in hand before you leave the virtual
safety of home, office, or store. Walk with your house key
or your car key and a safety device ready, such as
your key fob with the 'panic' or 'horn' button, a whistle or
other audible device. Whatever your choice, be ready to
react if you are approached and feel

Don't attract attention. Drive on well traveled
streets and keep your car locked and in gear, even when
stopped. Allow at least one car length space between your
car and the car in front of you so you can escape if need
be. (By the way: Beware of fender-benders! You may be
bumped intentionally. If you suspect this, lock your doors
and do not get out of the vehicle. Speak through your
slightly open window, and contact the proper authorities.)

Be cautious, not tempting. Before getting in
your vehicle, check inside, under and around it to make sure
no one is hiding. Look for shadows! If you are uncomfortable
- go with your instinct! Go back to the store or office and
have someone walk you to your car. If at any time you
suspect you are in danger or are being followed, go to a
store employee or security guard, if you're in your car,
drive to the nearest well-lit public area, call the
authorities and/or drive to the nearest police

Don't display your private information. Do not
leave mail or packages in your car. Anyone could look inside
your vehicle and use the address to break into your house
while you shop. On that note, always shut and lock your
windows and doors, even if you only plan to "run in and
out". It only takes a moment of vulnerability for you to
become a victim. Keep valuables out of sight, preferably
locked in the trunk.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Your best
defense may be as simple as being aware. Be aware of your
surroundings, your belongings and bystanders in the
vicinity. The above tips may reduce your chances of being
victimized, but will not eliminate the possibility entirely.

Identify areas of vulnerability and take action to remain

Just in case you do find yourself in an awkward
situation, or (God forbid!) a victim, you'll want to report
the incident. When this happens, be prepared to provide the
following information:

o the race, sex, and approximate age, height and weight of
the suspicious person(s)

o what the person(s) were doing

o what the person(s) were wearing and any unique
characteristics (tattoos, scars, etc.)

o the location of the suspicious person(s)

o if the person(s) have left, how long ago, and in which
direction did the person(s) go

o the make, model, and color of the vehicle(s)

FBI Crime Rate statistics indicate that 1 out of
every 25 people were a victim of crime in 2004 and 1
out of 250 people were a victim of a violent crime.

Your best defense against becoming a Victim of any crime
is knowing how to reduce or remove the Opportunity segment
of the Crime Triangle.

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