Handy Checklists for Keeping Yourself Protected
You read about it in the papers, hear about it on the news and even learn about it through friends’ Facebook updates…
Crime, unfortunately, is on the rise and becoming ubiquitous with living in the city. Everything from national news to coffee shop chatter is filled with stories of people who have become unwitting victims of robbery, assault and rape.
We all fear that we too may be subject to these acts of violence, especially since crimes in Malaysia are reported to take place anywhere and anytime, be it on the street or right in your own home. But what can you do to keep yourself and loved ones safe?
The most important thing to remember is that crime prevention is not just a job for the authorities. Everyone can – and should – play a role in keeping crime in check.
No matter where you live, work or play, whether in a big city, small town or rural area, it always pays to be vigilant but it cannot be denied that crime rates are climbing faster and higher, in urban areas.
Here are some simple, yet practical safety guidelines you can use to protect yourself and your loved ones.
However, please keep in mind that these lists are by no means exhaustive, so as a good rule of thumb is to use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you’re even slightly worried, take extra precautions – it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Last, but not least, share these safety guidelines with your family, friends and neighbours so they too can protect themselves.
General safety guidelines for everyone
- Don’t display valuables in public. Flashing items such as cash, expensive jewellery, handphones and hand-held electronic devices make you an easy target.
- When on foot, be sure to plan your route ahead of time and traverse only busy, well-lit streets.
- Park your vehicle in well-lit areas close to walkways, stores and people.
- When your car is stationary, always lock the doors, even if you’re parked in your own driveway. Never leave your engine running.
- When returning to your parked car, check the front and back seats before entering.
- Don’t leave bags or bundles in your car, as these are temptations for break-ins. Keep them out of sight in the boot.
- Carry only the money you’ll need on a particular day.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Avoid carrying weapons as they may be used against you.
- If you notice that there’s a piece of paper or something stuck in your windshield or back window, don’t get out of the car to remove it. An attacker may have put it there.
Safety guidelines for women
- Don’t dangle your handbag on your arm, instead carry it securely under your arm or in front of you, very close to your body.
- Never leave your handbag unattended, such as in a shopping cart or behind your chair.
- When going out after dark or to a high-risk area, ask a friend or family member to accompany you.
- While driving, don’t place your handbag on the seat beside you. Put it below the seat out of reach of passersby who may smash your car windows and snatch your belongings.
- While walking alone, steer clear of buildings and doorways, and walk in well-lit areas.
- Have your key ready when approaching your front door or car door.
- Don’t walk or jog early in the morning or late at night when streets will be deserted.
- Pay attention to and learn to trust your gut instinct. It can help you avoid a dangerous person or situation. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably isn’t.
- When staying in a hotel, never open your door unless you are certain you can trust the person on the other side. Predators may pose as a hotel employee.
- Be cautious in cyberspace. When communicating online, use a nickname and never reveal personal information, such as your home address and phone number.
Safety guidelines for children
- Children should always be accompanied to public rest rooms.
- A child should be taught not to trust strangers, even ones who look nice or non-threatening.
- Children must know never to accept rides or gifts from someone they don’t know.
- Warn your child to stay away from strangers who hang around playgrounds, public rest rooms and schools.
- Children should know their full names, home address and phone number.
- Teach children how to call 999 in case of an emergency.
- Children must be told that no one — not even someone they know — has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Tell children to avoid places that could be dangerous, such as vacant buildings, alleys, construction sites, wooded areas etc.
- Do not let your children wear expensive clothing, accessories and jewellery when out with friends or at school.
- Always know where your child is and who he or she is with.
Safety guidelines for the elderly
- Install and use a peephole and deadbolt lock on your front door.
- Never open your door without checking, when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers to do repairs in your home.
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to place the call for him or her yourself.
- Never give out information over the phone indicating you are alone or that you won’t be home at a certain time.
- If you arrive home and suspect that someone may be inside, do not enter. Leave quietly and call 999 immediately to report the break-in.
- Store your valuables in a safe deposit box.
- Don’t leave notes on the door when going out.
- Vary your daily routine so predators can’t anticipate your movements.
- Always lock your doors and windows.
Be one step ahead: What to do if you’re attacked
Unfortunately, no matter how diligent you are in avoiding dangerous situations, you may still fall victim to crime. In case you do find yourself up against an attacker, keep these survival tips in mind:
- Understand that your only goal during any kind of attack is survival.
- Learn to recognise the type of attack. Usually, the attacker will either want your property or to have control over you.
- In some situations, it is better to do nothing; in others, it may be better to resist. If someone tries to rob you, for example, it is better to give up your property than to risk being physically harmed.
- If you’re physically assaulted, fight back. Statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do. Aim for the eyes first and then the groin.
- If someone is trying to kidnap you, do everything you can to keep a stranger from getting into your car or forcing you into his or her vehicle.
- If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by yelling ‘fire!’ or blowing a whistle.
- Do not pursue your attacker.
- If you are robbed or assaulted, report the crime to the police immediately.
- Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent someone else from becoming a victim.