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Protect yourself in public

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POSTED: October 16, 2007 5:04 a.m.
Everyday activities can present life-threatening dangers if you're not prepared for them. The cars that pass you on the street, the blind alley on the way to the store, or the empty parking garage can all be potential threats.
While it isn’t necessary or even realistic to live your life on constant red alert, some basic approaches to safety and security can go a long way toward protecting you and your family from danger.
Keep to busy, well-lit areas. Violent crimes by strangers in public places account for a slim minority of recorded crimes. Still, you can make yourself less of a target by staying with the crowds. Park your car in a well-lit area and when you're approaching your car to leave, have your keys out and ready.
Act like you know where you’re going, even if you don't. Walk confidently with your head held up. Just as in the wild, predators look for signs of weakness in selecting their prey.
Try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you’re carrying. Talking loudly on your iPhone while flashing cash and showing off your new diamond ring is like telling the world you’re worth robbing. Spread your valuables around your body. Don’t keep your money, phone and keys in the same place.
Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Letting someone know where you are and how to reach you can be important should an emergency arise.
Be aware of what’s going on around you. When you park your car, look around before getting out. When you’re ready to leave, look inside your car before you get in. ATMs, public phones and restrooms are prime locations for criminals to find victims. Before putting yourself at risk, evaluate the situation and protect yourself.
Avoid wearing headphones while walking or jogging. It’s hard to hear someone approach if you’re distracted by music.
Don’t stop to assist when a car is broken down on the side of the road. The best way to help is by calling the police and reporting a stranded motorist. Keep your car well maintained and fueled up to avoid your own roadside breakdown.
Keep yourself safe while driving. Keep your windows up and doors locked. At intersections leave enough room to maneuver around the car in front of you in case of trouble. If at all possible, avoid driving alone, especially at night. Vary your driving routes. This not only helps you stay alert, but also frustrates attempts to learn your routine.
Again preparation is the key.
 

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