Claim: List of safety tips offers effective counters to being victimized in random violent crimes.
|MIXTURE OF TRUE AND FALSE INFORMATION|
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target)
8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door."
The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.
Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby — This
Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better to be safe than sorry.
While the above list is often titled "Safety Tips For Women" or similar, its advice is intended for members of both sexes, as is the advice offered in this article.
Origins: We first encountered versions of this list of crime safety tips in 2001, and it has since been widely circulated under titles such as "Safety Tips for Women" and "Written by a Cop." It actually began as a summary of the teachings of Pat Malone, a personal safety expert and former bodyguard who instructs on defensive and survival tactics, and the much-longer original (which is displayed on a number of web sites) appears to have been penned by someone who attended one of
Pat Malone's seminars are described as "self-protection from predators, without self-defense or weapons"
Over the intervening years, the e-mailed list of crime avoidance tips has been edited by various anonymous folks whose cyber hands it has passed through, being severely pared down from its original form and then padded with extraneous material in a number of places. It has thus become even less reliable in terms of the quality of advice being offered than it was in 2001, and even then it would have had to have been regarded as suspect.
The tips the e-mailed list has currently devolved to include some information that might be useful in a general sense. But much of the information presented is not very useful because it is wrong, pertains to situations that are extremely unlikely to arise, or dangerously applies absolutes to scenarios that are highly situational.
Yes, if you're confronted by a threatening presence, you might be able to get in a good blow by using your elbow, but then what? Are you going to be able incapacitate him with that single blow? If not, what are you going to do next? Will you be able to escape to safety or summon help before he recovers and reacts? Are you going to be able to overpower him in a physical confrontation? If he has a weapon, will he still be able to wield it? Engaging in hand-to-hand combat with a threat should probably be an option of last resort unless you are very well trained in self-defense.
And for accuracy's sake, we note that while the elbow is one of your body parts that can be used effectively in a fight, it is not the strongest: that honor goes to the humble knee.
A better plan might be to look for the glow-in-the-dark trunk release tabs incorporated into many newer vehicles. Also, the back seats of many recent models fold down to accommodate the transport of larger items, so going deep into the trunk and pushing on the rear of the back seats (feeling about for knobs or levers to unlatch folding seats if necessary) might create an opening large enough for egress from a trunk.
Driving away immediately rather than taking a moment to make out this year's Christmas card list is also advice worthy of following, especially in locations such as parking garages (because the structure prevents others not in your immediate area from seeing what might be happening at your car) and open air parking lots that are somewhat deserted rather than teeming with other folks coming and going.
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
Moreover, this item contradicts the advice which immediately precedes it: if you need to be wary of cars parked on either side of your vehicle, then entering your car through the passenger-side door is no guarantor of safety.
Elevators also pose risk, but since they are better trafficked and more public, the possibility of being harmed while using one is much reduced. Still, unlike a stairway, an elevator does not allow for escape: once those doors close, you're trapped inside with whoever else might be in the car until those doors open again. Therefore, don't get onto an elevator car unaccompanied if you are at all uncertain of the car's current occupants or someone else who is also waiting
However, it is not a mistake to keep in mind people aren't always what they appear to be, and that someone who looks disabled or encumbered might well be entirely able-bodied. Stay alert when you are around strangers and allow for the possibility of being the target of deception rather than let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security by the other party's apparent limitations.
While we've hopefully assisted readers in making sense of which of these tips contain good advice that should be followed and which should be regarded as codswallop, the overall tenor of its recommendations is for the reader to make like Wonder Woman or Captain America when confronted by someone intent upon doing him or her harm. As stated earlier, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with an attacker should be an option of
A far better counter is to avoid becoming the victim of random violent crime in the first place, which the following tips will help with:
Avoid potentially dangerous places. The more isolated and devoid of other people a location is, the more potentially dangerous it is. Hence, stairwells are generally more perilous than elevators, underground parking garages more risky a proposition than open air parking lots. As a rule of thumb, anywhere other people aren't is a good place for you not to be either.
One mistake folks do make time and again is letting their sense of familiarity with a place lull them into a presumption of security. Though you may know the parking lot at the local grocery store like the back of your hand and have never experienced any problems there, you should still regard it as a potentially dangerous location if your plan is to park there at midnight on a Sunday while you reprogram the buttons on your car's radio. A location that can be perfectly innocuous during the day when there are all sorts of other people around is not necessarily just as safe in the dead of night when the place is empty.
Stay aware of your surroundings. Get into the habit of noticing not only the details of your physical surroundings (such as where exits are located) but who else is there with you. Maintain focus on the here and now instead of letting it drift to where and what you will be doing ten minutes from now. If trying to do two things at once, strive to stay alert to what is going on around you. Rather than wander towards your car with your head down while you're yakking on your cell phone, take a break from the conversation to look about. The same goes for getting into an elevator: look at the other people in the car before getting in yourself.
Also, as stated in "Assaulted Tale" (our debunking of a widely-circulated list about what rapists supposedly look for), not only is it important to see trouble coming before it gets to you and avoid it, but maintaining an alert stance can help discourage a
Do not get into vehicles with strangers or allow them into yours. A murderer is not going to approach you by saying, "Hi, I'm interested in killing you; please get into my car." Rather, it's going to be, "Please, miss; can you help me? My little boy has been in an accident and I have to get to the hospital but I can't find the place. No, don't give me directions because I'll just get turned around; come with me, and I'll pay for a cab to get you back here afterwards." Or, "I'm the new minister in town. My car broke down a few miles back, so I walked here to call the tow truck. Can you give me a lift back to my car? My wife is there, and I don't like leaving her out there all alone for any longer than I have to, her being pregnant and all."
Also, be wary of helping strangers when you are unaccompanied. Don't help them load packages into vans or trot over to them like a good little Girl Scout when summoned to give directions by someone you don't know. Save your helpful impulses for when you have other people with you, but when on your own keep walking even as you call out, "Nope, sorry, can't" back over your shoulder.
Do not let strangers into your home. If someone appears at your door saying his car quit running and he needs to call a tow truck, offer through the closed door to make the call for him. If he says his wife is ill and asks if he can have a glass of water for her, offer, once again through the closed door, to call 911 for him. If someone dressed in work clothes says he's been sent by the building superintendent, your homeowners association, the electric company, the city, or anything else, leave him standing outside until you've called that entity and ascertained it has sent that person and does indeed vouch for him.
The world is not awash with rapists, murderers, thieves, and kidnappers, but a bit of common sense routinely applied can help you avoid meeting up with any of the handful that are actually out there. Rather than fret about how to properly throw an elbow, or whether you should run from someone holding a gun on you, or how to crash a car into a barrier so as to incapacitate an attacker but leave yourself unharmed, learn these three tips by heart: Keep away from deserted places, stay alert to what is going on around you, and when something feels the slightest bit wrong, get out of there. While there's nothing of Lynda Carter or Steven Seagal in those three tips, they will serve to keep you out of a pine box far better than all the more flashy "saw it on the Lifetime Movie of the Week" moves put together.
Barbara "learn how not to be where the trouble is" Mikkelson
Last updated: 14 March 2014
Norris, Joel. Serial Killers. New York: Anchor Books, 1988. ISBN 0-385-26328-7. Schneider, Mike. "Jurors Recommend Death for Mechanic Who Murdered Carlie Brucia." Associated Press. 2 December 2005. Associated Press. "Man Sentenced for Killing Retired TCU Professor." 17 November 2005.