Security company ADT provides tips for women to keep themselves safe.
The key to safety is to always err on the side of caution. Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save their number in your phone or memorise the details of the person to be contacted in the event of an emergency and save them as one of your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts. Remember to avoid carrying large sums of cash, if possible. Also, if you carry a handbag, keep it close to your body at all times and zip it closed. For example, don’t be tempted to put it into a shopping trolley as criminals are opportunistic and will take advantage of an easy situation.
Distractions are one of the major issues adding to crimes against women. Distractions can range from caring for a children, carrying shopping, or speaking on a mobile phone. Don’t be distracted. If you’re walking by yourself, get off your cell phone. A lot of people think that being on the phone is safe because the person on the other line can call for help, but that rarely works out. Chatting can distract you. It is better to be aware of your surroundings.
That said, if a woman is walking by herself she should hold her cell phone and be ready to make an emergency call. Be aware of people around you when heading to your vehicle, especially at places such as shopping centres, petrol stations, ATMs and the like. Ensure that you take a moment to check the street before pulling into a driveway, be it your own or a friend’s.
If you are driving, the first thing to do once you are inside your vehicle is to ensure that all the doors are locked. Never drive with a handbag or any other valuable items on a seat or in the view of anyone looking into your vehicle from the outside. Make your car a mobile-free zone so you can concentrate on your surroundings and keeping you and your family safe. Women have great intuition and should trust their instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, avoid the individual and leave the area.
Additional useful hints when approaching your car:
- Look underneath your car before approaching it in a parking garage at night.
- Also if you return to your car and see that a van is parked right next to the driver’s side, enter through the passenger side. Predators often use vans and will disguise it as a family car, even using “Baby on Board” decals.
- If you return to your car and it has a flat tyre, back away, return to wherever you came from (restaurant, store, etc) and call for help. Once assistance arrives, approach your car. If someone comes up to you, even if they are a woman and want to offer help, politely say, “No thank you.” A man could be a predator; a woman, the lurer.
Women should especially remain vigilant when they are in public places. When using an ATM for example, it is important to shield your PIN number and be alert to anyone watching you. Place your money in your purse/wallet immediately after the transaction and close the bag. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time while using the ATM, cancel the transaction and leave. If you think someone is following you, immediately go to a safe location where there are people and contact the police. Only withdraw the money needed at the time and rather seek out ATMs located inside buildings, supermarkets or other busy locations.
By exercising these precautions, women can develop very good safety habits that will assist them in avoiding dangerous situations.