A Few Easy Steps Will Make You Much Less Likely to Be a Victim of Crime

It's fun to go shopping, but we all need to learn how to practice personal safety!

While both men and women need to follow safe practices when out in public, women, in particular, may feel especially vulnerable. What are some of the things they can do to minimize their changes of becoming a victim of crime?

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Parking Lot Safety for Women

Park as close to the stores as possible. If you feel uncomfortable, or know that you will be leaving the store late in the evening, see if they have valet parking, or a security guard who will walk you to your car. Do not walk through a parking lot while you are distracted. Find your car keys and have them in your hand as you walk towards your car. Look around. If anyone looks suspicious or makes you feel uncomfortable, ask a security guard to walk you to your car. Do not leave packages visible on the seat of your car. Thieves can break in quickly and easily and steal everything you think you have locked away. At the same time, try to be discreet if you carry bags out to the car, put them in the trunk, and return to the store. Someone could be watching!

Shopping Safety

Probably the most important thing you can do when shopping is to go with friends or family members. Women in a group are much less likely to be approached by someone who intends to rob or hurt them. Whether you are in a group or alone, you are still wise to take additional precautions. Do not flash large sums of money while shopping. Do not wear expensive jewelry. Be discreet while shopping. Walking around with lots of shopping bags may cause someone follow you. Also, beware of the stranger who seems a little too helpful and friendly. They may just be looking for an opportunity to rob you!

Restaurant Safety

Do not leave your purse hanging on the back of your chair, or tossed carelessly on the floor in a restaurant. A stranger walking by could easily slip the purse off your chair back and keep on walking without you ever being aware of it. There are convenient and attractive hooks which are sold in many department stores that are designed to allow you to hang your purse next to you, from the edge of the restaurant dining table. My sister had her wallet taken from her purse while eating at a mall restaurant with her husband. The thieves had already charged $1500 to the credit cards in her wallet before she had even finished eating dinner!

ATM Safety

Whenever possible, use ATM's during the day, and in locations where you feel safe, such as in the lobby of the bank, in the grocery store, in a mall, or some other well lit business location. Shield your PIN number from view. Keep your ATM receipt. Don't forget to take your ATM card with you! Do not take too much money, and put what you do take into your purse or wallet as quickly as possible. Also, avoid an ATM if there seems to be anything odd or loose on the front of it. Some thieves have put card scanners on the front of ATM's, so they can steal your information right off your ATM card.

Street Safety

Look where you are going, and do not listen to iPods or similar devices while you are walking. It is quite easy to be unaware that a vehicle is approaching. Traffic accidents involving people who step into the street while talking on a cell phone or listening to an iPod have increased during the past decade.

In addition, it is smart to carry pepper spray with you whenever you are out alone.  I like to keep a canister of pepper spray attached to my key chain.  I highly recommend that you purchase at least two canisters ... one to carry and one to practice with so you know how to use it.  You can use this direct link to pepper spray on Amazon to check out the different choices that are available.  You can also see a sample in the ad at the end of this article.

Home Safety

When you are at home alone, it is always wise to have the doors locked. If you are working in the backyard, be especially careful to make certain that the front door is locked. If you have an alarm system, use it whenever you leave the house, even if you are only going to the grocery store. You do not want to return and walk in on an intruder! If you take a trip, be sure that the mail and newspapers will be picked up. Leave lights on timers so that they will go on in the evening and early morning hours. Be careful of door-to-door salespeople. They could be looking for homes that are vacant.

Although I do not wish to make people paranoid, it is wise to be aware of the dangers around us so that we can take appropriate precautions, and feel safer. With a little bit of wisdom, most people can dramatically reduce their chances of becoming the victim of a crime.

To read about other health and safety tips for your family, you may also be interested in the following articles:

Becoming a Realtor: Think Safety

Preventing Death and Injury from Fireworks

Preventing Death and Injury in Children

Teach Your Children Safety Around Electricity

Why Worry About Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Teens

How to Avoid Dog Bites

Don't Let Your Pet Make Your Child Sick

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids

Keep a Pepper Spray Canister on Your Key Chain

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You will feel more secure if you always have pepper spray in your hand, especially in a parking lot after dark or whenever you are alone.