Many major cities are unfortunately dealing with an uptick in crime since the onset of the pandemic. Often, these crimes are fueled by repeat offenders or by those who feel emboldened by lax laws or poorly enforced laws. For folks living in areas where theft is prevalent, there are some measures that may help aid in the prevention of theft from auto, automobile theft, and carjackings. The following are some ways to increase personal safety:
- Plan your route ahead and use well-lit and well-traveled roads.
- Let someone know where you are headed and when you plan to arrive.
- Park in a legal, secure, and well-lit area.
- Avoid parking near dumpsters, woods, large trucks or vans, or anything that can obstruct vision.
- Never leave your car running and unattended, even for a quick minute.
- Use a steering wheel or brake locking device when car not in use.
- Take your keys and lock all doors.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle.
- Be alert and pay attention to your surroundings.
- Walk in pairs whenever possible. If alone, walk with purpose.
- Consider carrying a pocket alarm that makes a high-pitched siren sound for use during emergencies.
- Keep your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
- Look around and inside the car before getting in.
- Keep doors and windows locked when driving.
- Stay alert at red lights and be cognizant of who is near your vehicle.
- Keep a cellular phone with you and charged for emergencies.
- Avoid driving in isolated or high crime areas late at night.
- Avoid stopping at isolated ATMs and remote convenience stores.
- When stopped in traffic, leave some distance between you and the car in front of you so that you may pull away if needed.
- Be aware of ways that carjackers can lure victims. This may include pretending to be stranded, signaling you to pull over, or bumping your car. If you feel threatened, drive to the nearest police or fire station or call 911. If you must stop, head to a well-lit and busy area and do not exit the vehicle unless safe to do so.
- If a stranger is loitering near your unoccupied car, wait for them to leave or keep walking until they leave.
- If a carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car as it is not worth your life.
- Report crime immediately to the authorities.
- Note description(s) of offenders.
Crime is not the fault of the victim. However, there are precautions such as those listed above that can help people stay safe. Increasing overall awareness, using one’s instincts, and changing small behaviors can go a long way toward safety. Moreover, it’s important to support law enforcement officers who are committed to protecting and serving the public. Don’t forget to use your voting power to oust soft-on-crime leaders who put the safety of you and your community at risk.
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