It’s an unfortunate reality that women need to be more mindful about their safety in this day and age.
Even if you’re not living in a country with a high crime rate, the frightening fact is that criminals are everywhere, and they are always on the lookout for a soft target.
Being proactive about your safety when you are out and about can help you avoid becoming a statistic.
Here are seven practical pieces of advice all women should follow.
1. Carry Emergency Items
If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, having items to help you escape is vital. Keep an extra pair of comfortable running shoes and a power bank for your phone in your car, and keep personal alarms on all your sets of keys.
Other emergency items you should keep in your car are a small shovel, a flashlight, flares, jumper cables, a tow rope, extra headlight bulbs, and batteries.
You should also always make sure that you keep your tank at least half full of gas so you don’t put yourself in a potentially hazardous situation.
2. Change Your Routine
Criminals have a well-known tactic: scoping out their target before deciding whether to carry out an attack.
The best way to deter this is to change up your routine regularly. Change where you park at work, the routes you take, and where you stop for your morning coffee or a bite to eat. Becoming an unpredictable target could potentially save you from becoming a statistic.
3. Scan the Area
When you are outside your vehicle, you are at your most vulnerable. When you are inside your car, you have a safe metal cage between you and the outside world. Criminals know this.
The time you should be the most on guard is when you are entering or exiting your vehicle – keep your keys in your hand and have your personal safety alarm or pepper spray within easy reach.
Other checks you should do include checking around and underneath your car before getting in to make sure that nobody is waiting for you.
Always avoid isolated places – rather stick to well-lit areas where there are other people around. Avoid dark spots in underground parking areas and try to stay close to other cars.
Make sure you avoid parking near walls or heavy foliage because these visually obstructed areas are good places for criminals to hide.
You should also watch out for people loitering or handing out items. If someone does approach you, change your direction and try to run to a busy place.
4. Travel in Numbers
Experts all agree that a woman is less likely to be attacked when she is traveling in a group. When you walk from your office to your vehicle or from building to building, try to do it in pairs or groups.
If you can’t find someone to walk with you, find a security guard and ask them to escort you – especially if you are alone in a shopping center or a parking garage. Security guards are professionals who are there to help you – so don’t feel shy or embarrassed to ask.
5. Don’t Ever Pull Over
An increasingly common tactic used by criminals is pointing to something on your car and gesturing that there’s something wrong with your vehicle – don’t fall for this! It is an attempt to get you to pull over and get out of your car.
In addition, never roll your windows down for anyone except people you know or officers of the law. When you drive, keep your windows closed and your doors locked.
Even if someone bumps your car while you’re in traffic, wait until it’s safe to pull away and drive to a well-lit area or police station to get the person’s details.
Remember, being safe is always better than being sorry.
6. Store Valuables Out of Sight
If you leave your valuables in full view, you are tempting criminals. Always keep your purse, wallet, laptop, and cellphone in your trunk or on the floor so they stay out of sight.
Another thing that many women do is get into their cars after leaving work or the mall and sit there for a few minutes to check their phones.
If a criminal is watching you, this behavior is making you a soft target.
Sitting in your car while distracted by your phone is a golden opportunity for a criminal. Rather, get into your car, lock the doors, and leave immediately.
7. Trust Your Gut
If you have a gut feeling that something just isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Always trust your instincts and be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t brush that nagging feeling of danger off – you have nothing to lose by trusting your gut. If you ever feel an inexplicable sense of alarm or fear, remain cautious and stay on high alert.