It's our third and final installment of Thoughts From a Cop - Officer Mom's Holiday Season Safety Tips. This weekend will be crazy, congested and you need to put safety first! If you haven't read the first two tips, you can here: Tip #1, Tip #2.
Tip #3 is about Car-Jackings. Though this seems like big-city crimes, it can happen anywhere and with kids in tow, many of us forget to pay attention to our surroundings. Officer Mom reminds us just how important it is to stay vigilant! Take it away, sis!
Car-jackings are at an all-time high this holiday season, and these criminals don't know (or care) if your children are inconveniently secured into the vehicle they are targeting. The best defense is a good offense in this case. Don't be an easy target. Be observant of your surroundings.
When gassing up your vehicle, sit inside with your children and lock the doors. When you get out of the vehicle make sure that it is turned off, put the keys in your pocket, and lock the doors (yes, even if you are standing next to the vehicle). Look around for people (and look for people who are looking around...that's your bad guy looking for a target or for the absence of witnesses) and make eye contact with them.
Look them up and down and take notice of what they look like and what they are wearing. Bad guys don't like observant victims so they will look for the victim with their head down not paying attention to what is going on around them.
When parking at shopping centers, again, look for anyone loitering around. Everyone is busy, everyone has something to do, somewhere to go, so the person just standing around is the one looking for a victim and an opportunity.
If you think you are being followed as you walk back to your car, make sure you cross over to the next aisle and walk back into the store. Don't be embarrassed to ask someone to walk you to your car. When you get to your car make sure you are looking all around, especially at the cars directly next to yours. Is there someone sitting in it? If so be very mindful of them...they could be lying in wait for you.
As you secure your children force yourself to look outside of the car for anyone walking around or toward you. Pay attention and be safe, not sorry. Trust your instincts...if you feel uneasy, immediately walk back to the store.
Keep this in mind...how many stories have you heard of someone being abducted from a parking lot? How many stories have you heard of someone who was not abducted because they saw something that made them feel uneasy and sought help? NONE! Because THAT person did not get abducted!!
Thanks, Officer Mommy!
If you enjoy these features from Officer Mom, please let me know. "Enjoy" might not be quite the right word, but safety is important, and I for one like hearing the perspective of a woman who is a mother and a police officer, not to mention one smart cookie (I know, she's my sister). Who better to hear from to help us keep our children and families safe!
If you have questions for which you'd like to hear her thoughts, email them to me at adgmommy (at) gmail.com and we'll answer them in an upcoming post!