Women are particularly vulnerable to violent crime, either robbery or rape. One of the most common crimes against women is purse snatching. If you are a woman, carry your handbag close to your body, tucked in the bend of your elbow, rather than dangling it from your shoulder. Don’t carry the bag in a way that you can’t let go. You may be seriously injured if the straps of the bag get tangled around your neck or hands while a criminal is trying to snatch it away. If a criminal is unable to successfully grab the bag, he might become violent. If there is any doubt about this, give him the bag. The best protection is to use the bag for essential items but to keep money and valuables elsewhere. Be sure not to wear flashy or obviously valuable jewelry or gold chains in a large city or high crime area.
When coming home late at night, avoid taking “shortcuts,” especially if they are not well lit. If you think someone is following you, find a store or bar that is open–don’t take chances. If a friend or a taxi drops you off at home, have the driver wait until you are safely inside before he or she leaves. If someone driving a car starts to annoy you while you are walking, turn and walk in the opposite direction of the car.
When getting into your car, look inside first to make sure no one is hiding in the back seat. Always keep your car doors locked, when driving or when parked. Keep the windows closed as much as possible. Park in a busy, well-lit place if possible, both to protect yourself and to protect your car from theft or vandalism.
If you think someone is following you, drive toward busy, well-lit areas, not to your own, quiet, residential area. Try to find a police station, fire house or open store. If someone tries to force you off the road, stay calm and keep blowing your horn for attention. If they force you off the road go immediately into reverse gear and keep moving the car as much as possible.
Have your keys ready when approaching your home or apartment. Don’t hold the apartment building door open for a stranger just to be polite. Women should not list their first names on mailboxes or in the telephone book–use an initial. If a stranger wants to use your phone for an emergency, keep him out and make the call yourself. Call the police if you have any doubts. If your door is open when you get home, DO NOT GO INSIDE. Call the police from a pay phone or neighbor. Do not get into an elevator with a stranger if you get a bad feeling about him. Trust those feelings. Make an excuse like “I forgot my keys.”
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