The following are some simple tips that may help you in creating a personal safety program. Please remember, by no means is this list complete, nor does it guarantee that it will apply to all situations.
PERSONAL SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR CHILDREN
Ensure that your children know their full name, address, age, telephone number, and parents names. Have your children carry at least 25 cents, in the event they may have to make a telephone call. Teach your children how to make a telephone call. Teach your children how to make operated assisted collect calls.
Teach your children never to enter a vehicle with anyone, unless approved by a parent or teacher.
Teach your children to be suspicious of adults who ask them for directions. This is a common technique used by child abductors to lure children to their automobiles.
If possible, always have your children travel in groups, when walking without the supervision of a responsible adult.
Dont allow your children to play in vacant lots or other deserted areas.
Keep your children indoors after dark.
Make sure your children understand how important it is that you always know where they are.
If your children are at home alone, teach them never to reveal that fact to a caller, even if they think they know who is calling. Prepare an excuse, such as, "My mom is in the shower now. She cant come to the phone."
Never put your childs name on the outside of their clothing. Another ploy used by child kidnappers is to gain your childs confidence by addressing them by the name thats written on their clothing.
Prepare an emergency file on your child. Inside this file, you should keep current photographs (taken within the last six months), copies of medical and dental records, a list of all identifying features, blood type, and any other items that may assist in identification. It is also recommended that you maintain a record of your childs fingerprints. This may assist investigators in locating your child. Most police departments can assist you with this.
PERSONAL SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR ADULTS
The following tips are recommended for older children and adults:
Avoid going out after dark. As this is often impossible, stay in well-lighted areas. Avoid doorways, bushes, and blind corners. These are all potential hiding areas for an attacker.
Try to stay in areas that are occupied with other people. Most attackers prefer to hit their victims alone.
Trust you instincts. If something feels wrong about a situation, assume it is.
If you dont know how to change a tire, nows the time to learn. Dont wait until you need to rely on a stranger to assist you.
Keep a safe distance from any vehicle whose driver is soliciting information from you.
If you feel that you are being followed on foot or if a stranger in a vehicle appears suspicious, immediately leave. If necessary, run to an area occupied by other people, while shouting to attract attention. You may feel embarrassed afterward, but it is far greater to suffer a little embarrassment than it is to suffer the intentions of a possible attacker.
While selecting a parking spot during the daytime, try to locate one that you know is well-lighted at night and is close to your destination. Ensure that your windows are rolled up and that all of your doors are locked. This denies an attacker the chance to hide in your vehicle while awaiting your return.
While approaching your vehicle, have your keys in your hand, ready to open the door. Look carefully at the area surrounding your vehicle to ensure that someone isnt hiding.
Develop a habit of looking in your rear-view mirror. If you suspect that you are being followed, make several turns, creating a complete circle. If you still notice that you are being followed, turn on your emergency flashers, sound your horn, and drive to a safe location occupied by other people. Two good locations would be a police station or a hospital emergency room. Remain inside the vehicle, sounding the horn with the doors locked until someone comes out to investigate.
Beware of accidents and broken-down vehicles. Unless you can verify that an individual is injured from the inside of your car, do not stop. Use a cell phone to summon asistance or drive to the nearest telephone and call for the police.
NEVER allow an abductor to take you to another location. Sexual predators and serial killers need privacy to commit their crimes. In many cases, the perpetrator will take the victim to a private location where they can commit their crime with little chance of being disturbed or detected. Abductors will use any means they can to make the victim compliant and non-resistant to being taken to another location. Some victims will believe that if they wait, the right opportunity to escape will emerge. Others may believe the abductor's promise that if they cooperate, they will not be harmed. Unfortuately, as history has proven, very few victims survive once they have been moved elsewhere. In this type of situation, survival is absolutely dependent on escaping before you are taken somewhere else. Use any and all means to escape and draw attention to yourself and the abductor at the time of the attempted abduction. DO NOT ALLOW the perpetrator to take you elsewhere.
Hopefully, by following these tips, you will develop a better understanding of what you can do to minimize you familys chances of becoming a victim. Remember, be conscious of the threat, trust your instincts, and think "security."