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As vehicle thefts and hijackings become more prominent we need to increase our vigilance as well. Hopefully some of the suggestions here will be helpful. If you have any suggestions you'd like to add feel free to email me or sign the guestbook. These are some ideas I've gathered from talking to police, reading various books and ideas emailed in.
Keep your car in good running order to lessen the likelihood of a possible breakdown. Most motor vehicle companies recommend a set of guidelines for routine maintenance. They may seem like a pain but there are reasons for following the reccomendations as closely as you can.
Check your spare tire to be sure it is in good shape and has air. Learn how to change a tire yourself so if you should ever have to you'll be able to do it.
In your trunk carry a first aid kit, reliable flashlight, a fix-a-flat kit, some water, a package of crackers, electrical tape, and a white handkerchief. Flares or reflective triangles are also a good idea.
Carry your cellular phone charged up in the car if at all possible. By keeping a fully charged battery you will have more "talk-time" available to you in a crisis.
Always be sure that all doors are locked and windows are rolled up. This is to keep someone from trying to get into the car with you.
When you are parking in a lot, even if it is daylight, try to park under or as close to a light as you can. This way, if you should get caught shopping until dark your car will be in a lit area enabling you see if there are any lurkers nearby.
If you have any suspicions at all regarding your safety going to your car go into a store and ask for security to escort you. Don't feel shy. This could make a difference between getting home safely or not getting home at all. Many times people feel insecure to ask for a security escort but thus far I have not encountered a security guard unwilling to do so. It may take a few minutes wait, but if you feel insecure trust your instincts and wait for security.
There may be times when you do feel secure. In that case have your keys ready, carry a small flashlight in your purse and use it. As you walk towards your car keep an eye out for anyone who may be suspicious. Walk past your car and shine your light underneath to see if anyone is hiding there. Should you spot someone keep going right past your car and as casually as possible turn around and go back into the building. Have the police called and wait for them.
If you should see the person under your car leave, try to note as many details as possible, what the person was wearing, what vehicle the person left in, license plate number if possible, model and make of the car, anything you can note will help the police to keep a watch out for this type of suspicious behavior too.
Should you find yourself driving and notice those dreaded bluelights flashing in your rearview, motion to the police officer that you have seen him, slow down and go to the nearest well lit, populated area you can find. If you have your cell phone call 911 and verify if it is a police officer behind you. This is especially important if you don't think you have done anything to warrant an officer's attention. Should it not be an officer 911 will dispatch a car and give you instructions on what to do.
Beware of "bump and rob" scams. That's when another car purposely rear-ends you to get you out of the car. If you are hit like this. Use your phone and call the police immediately. Then decline any offers of help from the other vehicle or bystanders until the police do arrive. If you do not have a phone, remain in your car, doors locked, until help does arrive.
If a car is disabled by the side of the road do not stop to help. One family was killed in Tennessee (except for one child)who stopped to help teenagers with the car the kids were driving. The teens were stopped at a rest area, were seen by the family and the unsuspecting family offered assistance. If you feel like you must do something use your phone to call 911 and report the vehicle or go to the nearest pay phone.
Being followed by another vehicle is terrifying. Should this ever happen to you take a couple of turns to be sure the car simply isn't going the same direction you are. If you decide you are being followed call the police from your cell phone. If you do not have your cell phone go to the nearest well lit populated area and honk your horn or do anything you can to draw attention. Try to note anything distinguishing about the vehicle as it leaves, then when it is safe, call the police. You can also go through the drive through window of a fast food establishment and ask them to phone the police. Do this only if there are no other cars in the line and it is well lit.
Our best defense in crime is a good offense. Prevention is the key. Be aware and be safe.
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