With summer coming, you’ll be more active and want to be out and about. Here are some tips to keep you safe.
Stay alert, stay alive. During my years as a policeman, I took reports or investigated many crimes. Almost every victim of a mugging, carjacking or sexual assault told me “Officer, it happened so fast.” If the victim had been watching their surroundings, they would not have been surprised by the attacker and maybe could have prevented the crime. Your personal safety depends on you. When you are walking to your car, put the phone and iPod away. Scan the area for potential dangers.
Don’t be afraid to be afraid. When you are checking your surroundings and you see something that disturbs you, run away. Listen to that sixth sense; it’s probably right. I remember a sexual attack of a young lady in an elevator. She said, “As soon as the doors opened up and I saw the men, it felt wrong." I asked her why she got on the elevator anyway, and she said, “I was embarrassed not to." Be embarrassed! Who cares? Take the next elevator! If you are afraid, listen to the fear and go the other way.
Get help. If attacked, scream your head off. Make people hear you! This is your life we’re talking about! I have seen many crimes stopped because the victim made a huge scene.
Never allow an attacker to “move" you. Where you initially are confronted by the criminal is crime scene “A.” If the violent criminal forces you into an alley or a car, that’s crime scene “B.” Never, under any circumstances allow someone to take you to crime scene “B.” “A” will be in a more public place. “B” will be a place of the criminal’s choosing. He or she will have picked the spot for this crime because it is much more private and no one can see, or hear the attack. Fight or flee. Do something. Throw your wallet or purse to the side and run. Run the scenario through your mind and come up with a plan now.
Fight the good fight. There might come a day when the previous advice doesn’t cover a given situation. Always give up money and valuables. Never give up your life! If you are going to be sexually assaulted or badly injured (shot or stabbed), fight like your life depends on it! It does! Sometimes when I present this information to women they ask, “If I fight a rapist, won’t I get hurt worse?” No. Statistics prove that many sexual or aggravated assaults have been stopped by an aggressive victim. Don’t lie down and die. You can and will defend yourself.
Brian Miller is Hammond's police chief. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.