Defense Against Crime

15/06/2011

Lessons from HawthorRNe

Last night I happen to watching the season opening episode of HawthoRNE, on TNT. The events that unfolded serve as reminder of what NOT to do if you do not want to be the next crime victim. In the scene that I am talking about, the recently married and pregnant Christina Hawthorne, was walking to her car at night while talking on the cell phone, and digging through her purse . When out of nowhere a hooded figure violently assaults her, and begins to beat and kick her.

Every day, I see people distracted by their cell phones, by either talking on them or walking while texting and not aware of their surroundings. I have observed people getting out of, or walking to their cars while either talking to, or texting on their cell phones. The cell phone users were pretty oblivious to anything going on. This makes them a prime target for a criminal looking for an easy mark. While cell phones have allowed us the luxury of instantaneous communications, it has also lead to some tragic deaths, or a source of great distractions. If you’ve ever see the show 1000 ways to die you may have seen the case where a man is texting his girlfriend while driving, arguing about where she should be picked up. Since neither of them were paying attention to where they are going or what was going on around them, the man accidentally runs over his girlfriend with his half-ton pickup truck when she unknowingly steps out in front of it. Perhaps you have seen cases where people have been on phone and step out in front of cars.

FBI Crime studies have always indicated that women are extremely at risk when walking to and from their vehicles in parking lots, especially at night. Parking lots are ideal for criminals because they can simply walk around as if they were an ordinary law-abiding citizen when they are actually looking for a target. Most parking lots offer criminals a never-ending supply of potential people to victimize and vehicles to steal or break into.

Women in particular make themselves easy targets for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because they always have a long list of things to do that keep them distracted. The second reason most criminals can attest to is , while they are on their cell phone, they like to talk and air out what they’re going to do: “I’m going to go here”, “I’m going to do this and see somebody”. All the criminal does is stay in the shadows and listens while we talk and that’s why we become a target.”

According to interviews done with prison inmates, they told that women on cell phones as good targets. Anyone on a cell phone is pre-occupied with her conversation and not focusing on her surroundings.
As always anyone needs to be mindful of their surroundings. This was caused Christina Hawthorne to be brutally beaten, and as a result losing her unborn baby.

Everyone should exercise caution and use common sense when parking their vehicles in parking lots. These tips may seem utterly simple yet most people never seem to do them.

  • When arriving at a parking lot, try to park as close to the front of the store/building that you are visiting.
  • Use the main/front entrance of a large shopping mall because it is always busy with people and vehicle traffic. · The main entrance is almost always under video surveillance and criminals often know this. A criminal lurking around a mall parking lot would most likely target a victim who parked in a remote or less crowded section.
  • Don’t be taken by surprise. Be aware, alert and be prepared.
  • When going to your car, have your keys already in your hand, don’t spend time looking for them. If your car alarm has a panic button, have your finger on the button.
  • Stand tall and walk confidently. Don’t show fear. Don’t look like a victim.
  • Sweep the area with your eyes, be mindful of your surroundings, notice everything and everyone.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and get help if necessary.
  • If you have a choice, don’t park in parking garages because they offer criminals a better opportunity to stay concealed and lay in wait for victims. While searching for your “close to the front” parking space, start scanning the parking lot for suspicious looking people. Obviously if the criminal who is casing the parking lot is sitting in a vehicle you may not see him. Many vehicles have dark tint which makes it even harder to ascertain if the car parked next to you is occupied or not. It’s not too hard to pick up on traits that make a person “suspicious” A person slowly walking through the parking lot who seems to be looking around frequently would make some suspicious. (unless they can’t remember where they parked). A person who is standing in the parking lot doing nothing other than standing around would make some people suspicious. A person who is sitting or standing in front of the store by himself watching people would make some suspicious. A car slowly driving around the parking lot numerous times would also be suspicious.
  • When you exit your car and walk towards the mall/store, look around and scan the parking lot which does two things. First, by looking around and scanning the area it should alert you to a suspicious person or car. Secondly, if a criminal is in the parking lot looking for a victim, he may see that you are aware of your surroundings and you may not be an easy target. Keep your cell phone in your hand and if someone starts to approach you get on your phone and make a call or pretend to be making a call. If you have a cell phone stun gun, you can opt to defend yourself.

Needles to say, I am a big advocate of women carrying pepper spray and if you carry it, please know how to use it. Keep it in your hand when you are walking to and from your car. My wife and daughter keep their pepper sprays on their key ring and are instructed not to hesitate to spray someone suspicious who approaches them or and makes them insecure about their security. If someone ever approaches you in a parking lot, show them your pepper spray and tell them to stop or you will spray them. I have seen some really big men drop to the ground and scream after they have been sprayed. Get pepper spray if you don’t already have some.

While you are inside the mall/store, keep an eye out for suspicious acting people who might be looking for a potential crime victim. That strange person that keeps popping into every store that you visit is someone to watch out for. Remember that guy who was loitering in front of the mall or in the parking lot when you arrived? If he is still in the same spot, he is suspicious and should be avoided. (The Salvation Army, and people selling things doesn’t count)

If you see someone suspicious in the parking lot or inside the mall/store, find a security officer and report your concerns. Most major malls have private security and don’t be shy to go to them and have them walk you to your car. If possible, go to the mall/store with another person or a group of people. Criminals like easy targets and several people walking together are not easy when compared to a single person walking alone.

Keep these tips in the back of your mind every time you park in a parking lot because they will help keep you safe. Bring up this topic with your family, friends, and co-workers so they can take steps that will make them safer.

Additional Resources

Coming face to face with an assailant

PepperEyes.com is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable personal protection products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for yourself, your home or your business, buy our high quality discount personal protection products and arm yourself with the knowledge of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.    – Victor Swindell

Advertisements

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: