Crime victims are often chosen because they look like easy targets.
Anticrime experts recommend three basic safety rules: stay alert, walk confidently, and trust your instincts.
Here are some tips to keep you safe whether you are just out shopping or on a long trip:
- All police carry identification; ask to see it before unlocking your car door or stepping out of your vehicle.
- Keep car doors and windows locked.
- Never leave your car with the motor running.
- Don't hide spare keys in the glove compartment or on the car's frame.
- When shopping, move your car after locking packages in the trunk so criminals lurking nearby will think you've left, and criminals lurking near the new parking spot won't suspect there is something valuable inside.
- If your car breaks down, turn on the emergency flasher, raise the hood or put up a "Call Police" sign -- then stay inside with doors locked. If anyone stops to help, don't get out. Ask him or her to call the police.
- When walking to the car, keep your keys in your hand. Before getting into your car, look under it and inside it.
- At an intersection if someone bumps your car, don't get out. Just open your window far enough so you can give them your insurance number through the top of the window. Don't give them your full name and address.
- When you are in the car, keep your purse hidden on the floor. If you need it beside you, hook the seat belt through its handle.
- If you wear a fanny pack around your waist instead of carrying a purse, it is harder for a thief to grab.
- Never leave your purse on a store counter or on the door or floor of a restroom stall.
- Carry a purse that closes with a clasp, or a flap and a zipper.
- At ATMs, count your money -- and put it away -- before leaving. If someone is loitering near the machine, don't use it.
- Carry only a minimum amount of cash; use checks or credit cards instead.
- Make photocopies of all identification and credit cards to make it easier to report losses and replace the cards.
- When traveling, use the hotel safe for your passport and valuables.
- Keep keys in an inside coat pocket rather than in your purse.
- Walk only on well-traveled, busy streets.
- When taking public transportation sit away from the doors as pickpockets often work near them so they can get away quickly.
- Buy a cell phone so you can summon help in an emergency.
- Keep name and address tags on luggage hidden.
- Be suspicious of strangers who bump into you or offer to take a family photo. These are often ploys to distract you while they steal your valuables.
By following these simple safety rules you can be safe whether traveling 5,500, or 5,000 miles from home.
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