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Safety tips for women - What every woman should know

Updated on October 29, 2013
Women are often a target for criminals, especially when they are alone.
Women are often a target for criminals, especially when they are alone. | Source

How criminals choose their victims

Studies have shown that criminals rarely choose their victims randomly. Rather, they look for characteristics that show that a person is weak, scared, vulnerable, confused, or easy to control. These characteristics often manifest themselves in the way we walk, the way we stand and even the way we talk.

Walk tall and confident to reduce your chances of being targeted.

Women are common easy targets for criminals for a variety of reasons. They are
often seen as fragil, distracted and compliant, which makes it the perfect mix
to create a soft target.

In classic study done by Betty Grayson and Morris I. Stein, convicted
criminals were asked to watch a video of pedestrians walking down a busy
sidewalk in NYC. The criminals were asked to identify which people they would
target for an attack. The results were astonishing! The consensus among the
convicted criminals as to who they would target was staggering.

This led to the conclusion that criminals rarely choose their victims
randomly. They look for people who seem vulnerable, could be easily
controlled, are easy to overcome along for looking for cues of weakness and
fear, which can be manifested through posture, pace of walking, body language,
length of stride and awareness of environment.

This is a pressing issue for women and calls for action. Although there's no
magic formula to completely avoid becoming victim of an attack, there are some
things that women (and men) can do lesser their chances of becoming an easy

Take off your headphones for safety. They distract you and decrease the awareness of your surroundings.
Take off your headphones for safety. They distract you and decrease the awareness of your surroundings. | Source

Cell phone and other electronic gadgets

Get off your cell phone and iPod. If you're walking down the street, you need
to be completely aware of your surroundings. Cell phones, iPods and headphones
greatly diminish your ability to pay attention to what's happening around you,
making you an easy target.

Keep your cellphone charged and ready. Nothing is more annoying than a dead cell phone battery when you need to call 911, except maybe not being able to find your phone. Keep your phone handy and fully charged, especially if you know you will be alone or walking through a questionable neighborhood.

Don't display your electronic gadgets in public. Don't use your cellphone, iPad, iPod or anything of value while out alone. Electronic gadget's theft is rising, and displaying it in public may be an invitations for criminals to come and snatch it.

Always have your car keys ready in your hand.
Always have your car keys ready in your hand. | Source

Safety with security guards

We have been told many times that we should get a security guard to walk us to our car if we don't feel safe, but...

Always make sure you request a security guard from the information desk. Why? Some criminals dress as security guards to attack their victims. Don't approach the first security guard you see, unless you know for sure he works for the building.

Safety in your car and parking lots

Choose parking wisely. Never park next to a van and always park in well-lit areas. If you find a van parked next to when you come back to your car, enter through the passenger's side to avoid being snatched.

Keys. Always have your keys ready to enter your car immediately. Criminals take advantage of the time we spend fumbling in our purse to find said keys.

Check your surroundings. Always check to see if there is anyone waiting inside the cars parked next to yours. Assess how suspicious that person looks and go with your gut feeling. If you you have a bad feeling about a person, better go back and find a security guard that could walk you to your car. Make sure you request a security guard from the information desk. Some criminals like to dress as security guards and then attack their victim. Better safe than sorry.

Do a quick search. Before getting in your car, check the back seat and under your car. You'd be surprised at how sneaky criminals can be.

Immediately lock your doors as soon as you get in. This has been said over and over, and I'm still impressed with the number of people that don't do it. Many people, especially women, get in their car, reapply their make up, arrange the newly-bought items, check and return messages and THEN lock their door. If you do this, do you know how much opportunity you're giving criminals to come and attack you? LOTS of opportunities!!

Don't walk in between cars in parking lots. Yes, I know that's the faster way to get to your car, but you run the chance of being snatched by someone waiting in those cars. Walk by the designated areas, even if it takes longer to get to your car.

Flat tires and other car problems. If when you go back to your car you find you have a flat tire or any other car problem, go back and call for help. Don't accept help from strangers. It's a sad world when even a good Samaritan's help can't be trusted, but many take advantage of this.

Someone in your car. If there's already someone in your car pointing a gun at you and demanding you to drive somewhere, don't drive as he tells you. You have better chances of escaping if you step on the accelerator and crash into something. The airbag will save you and the crash will most likely stun the attacker. Run as soon as you can.

If a law enforcement officer or a utilities inspectors knocks on your door, always ask for identification.
If a law enforcement officer or a utilities inspectors knocks on your door, always ask for identification. | Source

Safety at home

Keys. Have your keys handy to enter your home to diminish the window opportunity for criminals. Many assaults happen while the person is looking for keys. Enter your house and lock the door.

Check before opening. Always check who is knocking before you open the door. Even if it's someone in a uniform, always ask for identification. If you're not expecting any services (phone, cable, utilities) and someone shows up, don't open the door. Chances are they don't have good intentions.

Keep blinds and curtains closed. Especially at night. It is super easy to see inside a house when the lights are on and it is dark outside. If your blinds and/or curtains are open, you're letting everyone see that you might be alone, that you have a 60" television worth stealing, and that your house is full with electronic gadgets. You're practically inviting burglars and criminals to come in.

Lost keys. If you lost your keys, even for a short period of time, change the locks.

Lock your doors. Yeah, this sounds silly, but it is important to lock your house, even if you're going out for "just 5 minutes." Those 5 minutes can be the perfect opportunity for a criminal to enter your house and wait for you inside. Pay special attention to windows facing the back yard. These windows are usually left unlocked, and they're the easiest way for criminals to come in, since it's hard for anyone to see them breaking into your house in your backyard.

Don't share information with strangers. Don't your plans of vacationing with strangers. Don't post your plans on Facebook or twitter or any other social site.

Mailbox. Never write your full name on your mailbox. Just write your last name. Why? For criminals, a girl name on a mailbox is a sign that the girl lives alone, and therefore it becomes a target.

Always lock your doors, even if you're going out for just 5 minutes.
Always lock your doors, even if you're going out for just 5 minutes. | Source
Whenever possible, walk on busy sidewalks and not on dark streets or alleys.
Whenever possible, walk on busy sidewalks and not on dark streets or alleys. | Source

Safety walking down the street

Never look lost. Always walk with your head tall and confident. Don't walk with a map in your hand, as this is a sure signal that you're a tourist and therefore are not very familiar with your surroundings.

Don't walk by yourself. Avoid walking alone as much as possible. If you have to walk alone, avoid dark streets and alleys.

Walk in the opposite direction of traffic. This will allow you to see any incoming cars and give you time to move quickly in case a car is trying to get close to you.

Cash. Carry only the cash you need for the day and distribute it in different pockets. Never carry all your cash in your purse.

Jewelry and valuable items. Don't make a showy display of anything valuable you own. Criminals will see it and want it.

Let your family or friends know your whereabouts. Someone should always know where you are. Always let your husband, parents, or best friend know where you're going, where you work and your usual routes. In case you disappear, they will tell authorities where they can start looking.

This is especially important if you're going out on vacation. Let someone know where you're going and where you will be staying, along with phone numbers, addresses or anything that can make it easier to find you in case something were to happen.

If the aggressor has a gun, but is not in control of you or holding you, your best chance for escaping is to run.
If the aggressor has a gun, but is not in control of you or holding you, your best chance for escaping is to run. | Source

What to do if you're being attacked.

Elbow. Elbows are the hardest part of your body. Don't be afraid to hit your attacker with it if he's close to you.

Running. Running is always the best choice if he's not in control of you. Even if he has a gun, there's a 75% chance he will miss the shot and even if he does, chances are he won't hit a vital organ.

Run in a zig zag motion. This will exhaust your attacker and make it easier for him to miss any shots he might fire.

Call attention. Do anything possible to call attention to yourself. Yell, scream, flail your arms. Yell "stop!" to let others know you're being attacked.

Concentrate on their features. If you're already being attacked, check the features or anything on your attacker that might make it easier for authorities to find him when the attack is over such as skin color, identifying marks or scars, nationality, accents, clothing. If there are several attackers, concentrate on the one closest to you.

This is not a safe world. Keep safe, follow these simple tips and enjoy life!


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    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi vibesites:

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, safety should never be silly. I love the idea of a power bank for cell phones. I need to get myself one of those. :)

      Thank you for the tip!

    • vibesites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Thank you for your tips and most of all your compassion. :)

      I always bring my power bank in case my cellphone drains its batteries. And I never find it silly to lock my home (and the gates) especially if i'm left alone in the house and had to go out.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi my_girl_sara:

      Body language is important in every setting. That's how we let others know exactly how we feel without verbalizing anything. I'm happy you walk with such confidence, especially considering the places where you have to walk. Thank you for reading and keep being safe!

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi Dreamhowl:

      I couldn't agree more: better safe than sorry. We should all get in the habit of locking our door immediately. Thank you for reading and for commenting!

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I go to school in an urban setting that requires I walk to class near homeless and other unsavory individuals. Your advice about body language is good. I walk down the street ready to punch someone in the groin if necessary. There have been times where I have been hit on by construction workers--2 in one day. Sure, it's nice to feel beautiful, just don't make me feel like a piece of meat on display.

      Voted up.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Peri 

      6 years ago from United States

      I always lock my doors after I get in the car. I try to make a habit of doing it right after I sit. Nothing has ever happened to me but better safe than sorry, right?


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