- Always follow your gut! Don’t ever go against your intuition. Most of the time when you feel bad about a situation or environment it is usually for good reasons. Don’t try to talk yourself out of this feeling. If the guy next to you is sending off “bad vibes,” that is a higher power telling you something. If a neighborhood is making you feel uncomfortable don’t tell yourself you’re overreacting. There have been several stories of people calling on suspicious people or cars (before anything illegal occurs) and turns out they were actually up to no good. Police officers would much rather you call them about something that is making you feel uncomfortable rather than waiting for something bad to happen. A police officer once told me, “Women have the best intuition and I will certainly never got against a mother.”
- Be aware! The women who are targeted for random acts are picked by the way they carry themselves. Criminals look for women who are looking down at their shoes, texting on their phone and fiddling with their keys. When you’re in a parking lot or something where there is not a lot of traffic but you need to get to your car, walk with a purpose! Before you start to your car have your key in hand ready to use. Look around and make eye contact with every individual you see. It is probably even the best if you feel uncomfortable about somebody you talk to them. Talk about the whether, comment on how much you like their shoes ect. You have now seen them and can pick them out in a crowd. You can even pretend to talk to somebody on your phone. As your are passing a person tell “the person on the phone” where you are and to expect you to be home in 5 minutes (or actually call somebody on the phone as you walk to your car).
- Be aware of the vehicles around your car. Be careful about getting into your car if a large van with dark windows is suspiciously sitting there. There have been situations where women have been pulled into vans that are next to their cars. Try to wait it out, get somebody to walk you to your car (a bag boy, coworker, ect) or sneak through the passenger side.
- Don’t share too much on Facebook (this includes all social media sites). I’m not talking about pictures or videos of you and your kids. I’m taking about statuses that are asking for something bad to happen. Don’t tell Facebook when you won’t be home. I know that it’s fun to give your friends a countdown of when you will be leaving on your vacation. I know it’s fun to show pictures of your vacation while sun bathing in Florida. Well guess who now knows your home is vacant? Most crimes are committed by people you know. That includes the person you went to high school with that freaked you out, but somehow is still your friend on Facebook. Don’t tell Facebook you are away! And don’t post photos while you are on your trip unless you include something about somebody house sitting while you are away. Also, please stop telling Facebook your work schedule if you live by yourself. “I leave the house every morning at 6:30 and don’t come home until 7 at night. I’m so tired!” Well thank you for telling me when I can break into your home with no disturbances. Do you trust every single one of your facebook friends with your most valuable possessions?
- Try really hard not to have a routine! Smarter criminals will do their research. If you have a routine they will know when you’re walking down that street by yourself. They know when you’re gone, when you’re home, when you’re home alone ect. Try shaking things up, leave the house 10-15 minutes early a couple of times, or leave just a little bit late (if you can spare some time). Take a different route (if you’re waking/riding your bike). Don’t always run the same run. If you anything schedule make sure that you are changing it up. My son and I go to various activities during the week. Sometimes I shake things up and go late, go early, go to a different time slot, don’t go at all ect.
- Educate your children! Tell your kids all of the basic stranger danger material, but go beyond that. Make sure they know to never leave an establishment under no circumstance without you. Some creepy people will use the tactic of “your mother is hurt, come with me!” Educate your kids on what to do if something bad happens. What happens if somebody grabs them or their sibling? Tell them what to do if somebody were to attack you. If you get attached in a parking lot. Your kids should get into the car and lock the doors and honk the horn until help comes. Teach them how to dial 911 and when to do so. I understand having locks on your phone but your older children should know how to use your phone. Most phones allow you too call 911 even if they don’t have the passwords, but make sure.
- Don’t let your kids make you oblivious! Be super careful when you’re putting your kids in the car. While your harnessing your struggling baby safely in their carseat you’re completely oblivious to the world around you. I know it’s tough but make sure you look up every once in awhile. If you have older kids make them tell you if somebody is coming up. Don’t scare them, say something like “can you tell me when somebody is coming so I can be nice and smile at them”. Your kids will most likely take this as a game and will inform you of any strangers.
- Don’t think you’re safe because you’re in a populated area. Don’t let yourself become relaxed on your supervision because you think you’re safe. Children get abducted in grocery stores, crowded parks and parking lots. Just a few years ago it was all over the news that a mother went to go put her cart away and she came back to a missing baby. I can’t imagine that feeling. If the cart rack is far away, be THAT person. Don’t you dare leave your baby. There are a couple of solutions. If it’s hot outside, you should never leave your baby in the car. You take the baby with you while you return the cart (this is honestly the best tactic). However, on mild days you do have the option to lock your baby safely in their car seat and RUN to return the cart. Lock your door and keep your eye on your vehicle the entire time!
When your grocery shopping don’t ever stop looking at your baby. If you have to turn your back to grab something make sure you have a hand on your baby (not just your cart). One scary crime is when people work in groups. One person will distract you while the other commits the crime (steals your purse or child). If somebody you don’t know comes up to talk to you and makes random conversation keep an eye on your belongings. Keep a hand on your baby not just your cart. That reminds me, ladies stop leaving your purses unattended in your carts! And stop leaving valuable possessions in your car in plain view. I could have stolen many purses by now. People don’t usually go into Winco, Walmart ect. thinking “I am going to steal a purse today.” But if the opportunity presents itself then they will! Same goes for abductions, rapes, theft from vehicles and homes and so on.
Parks are really dangerous. I am not telling you to not bring your kids to the park. Somebody couldn’t pay me enough to stay inside all day! My son and I go to the park all the time and I will continue to do so when I have more children. However, it is very important for parents to not go to only socialize with other moms. Make sure that your time with other mom’s isn’t masking your ability to watch your children. This is where multi-tasking is essential to the safety of your children. Also tell your children they HAVE to stay in the designated play area. They may not under any circumstances go into the trees, head back to the parking lot or go around the corner. An abduction is highly unlikely to occur by snagging your kid off of the slide. Most park abductions are when the parents lose sight of their children, because they chase a puppy into the trees. Or they follow a group of kids away from the play yard. Then the mom looks up and notices that their child is missing. It’s always hard when you have multiple children, because they won’t all be in the same place at the same time. Tell your kids they have to wave for you and get your attention every once in awhile. Keep your mom guard on at all times. Look around and see which adults are just sitting there watching the children. You will be surprised of how many adults are watching children that don’t have children. Make sure you decide who the cute old man is who is just relaxing on a beautiful day and enjoys watching the beautiful children while he is thinking about his children and grandchildren. Then there is the creepy man (or woman) who is paying particular attention to one specific child (that is not hers). Inform the mother of the child and if it’s your child LEAVE! Tell your children that you know of a better park you are going to go. Quickly gather your children and don’t let your eyes off of the creepy person. Even if they are no threat, it’s better safe then sorry.
- Ready to hate me?! Women with pony tails actually get assaulted more than women who keep their hair down. I always keep my hair in a pony tail and so when I saw this study it really hit home. When I would go into the prison, or in a dangerous environment due to my job I would keep my hair down. If I was around inmates I would always straighten my hair and let it flow. Men will actually target women if they have pony tails, because they know with one grip they have full control of you! If you are feeling uncomfortable don’t be afraid to let that hair down. It’s easier to get away if he has a little grasp of your hair.
- Ready to hate me even more?! Take those family decals off of your cars! I know what you are thinking, “I drive a mini-van, people are obviously going to know that I have children.” That is very true. However, my dad drives a van (no kids in toe). A van doesn’t always necessarily mean you have little children. BUT when you tell the world you are in possession of three little girls and a baby it’s just dangerous. Now, I (a really creepy pedophile) know that you have girls. I will wait by your car. I might even follow you home. Same goes for those “Baby on Board” stickers. These stickers are not meant to tell drivers to drive safer around them, but they are meant to tell emergency vehicles that you have a baby on board and to save the baby first. I obviously want my baby to be saved first. But, then everybody else knows you have a baby!
- Know how to protect yourself! Every woman should take a self defense class. They offer them everywhere and most are pretty cheap. I have take several self defense, karate and Jui-jitsu. I am no expert, but even with a little bit of knowledge I have more confidence to protect myself and my family. I don’t mean to scare you, but sometimes you can do whatever you can and still be attacked (this is the reality). But you need to know what to do. If you put up a fight, they WILL get frustrated. If you are loud, they WILL get scared. Most of the time you will not be dealing with any professional and so they will get spooked. Scream to the top of your lungs help! Do whatever you can and DO NOT GO WITH HIM!!! If he says, “come with me if you want to live” you do not go with him. If you go with him there is little to no chance of survival. I took a self defense class that you scream, “the crime scene happens here!” I know it sounds silly, but you have more chance of survival and if you put up a fight you have more chance of the attacker to leave behind evidence to find them.
- Don’t advertise your new possessions! My favorite thing is when I am driving down the road and I see a huge television box near somebody’s garbage. Well now I know somebody has a brand new television. I can then determine that they most likely have other nice things (depending on the quality of the television) and then I know who’s house I am going to target. My other favorite thing is when women brag about their new jewelry and tell each other how much it is. You go ahead and brag away! However, the random man at the grocery store who is suspiciously interested in your ring might not be the right person to tell that your ring is 25 billion carrot gold and is worth 45 gazillion dollars. I have been known to tell people my ring is fake when they seem a little too interested. You do have to swallow your pride and not care what other people think, but it’s better than having somebody try to physically take it from you.
- That reminds me! Give them whatever they ask for! Do not put up a fight! If somebody asks for your wallet you just give it to them. They will try to use your cards (which you will have already canceled and then they will be found). They will have tried to sell your cell phone (that’s fine it’s not worth your life). If they are stupid enough to use your cell phone the company can find them and if not you can delete your service. The hardest thing is your keys. Now you have to change all of your locks. No physical possession is worth your life. If they ask for you child, now that is a different story. You fight till you drop and tell your kids to run!
- Be careful when you are driving with your windows down! I know it’s beginning get a little warmer and it’s nice to have those windows down. When I was in high school I loved rolling down my windows and listening to music. I was going through a neighborhood and I stopped at a stop sign and a young adult smiled at me and said, “oh heyyy!” I drove away and I started investigating the danger of having windows down. That boy could have easily jumped into my car, pulled a weapon on me, or unlocked my door and pulled me out. What if I would have had kids at the time and he pulled me out of the vehicle? If you would like to have your windows down…GO FOR IT! But be cautious of the neighborhood around you. If you are parked at a red light make sure there is about 15-20 feet between you and the next car so if somebody were to come up then you have the chance to drive away.
- Don’t listen to music when you run/be careful! I can’t tell you how many crimes occur from women going on jogs that have their music blasting in their ears. I don’t like running without music either, but you have to know when and where it is safe. Never listen to your music if you are running off the beaten track. Do not listen to your music at dark or early in the morning. You have no idea what is happening around you. Women get pulled into bushed and surprised from behind because they have no idea somebody is behind them. Running on a track while people are having soccer practice is a more acceptable location to listen to your music at an appropriate volume.