Did you know…
According to FBI statistics;
—There is a rape every 5 minutes
—There is a murder every 2 minutes
—There is a robbery every 46 seconds
—There is an aggravated assault every 29 seconds
Crime prevention — safety for your family
Crime survival is best learned in a self-defense class. But crIme prevention involves some everyday strategies that can be learned by everyone.
Do you walk with the weight of the world on your shoulders? Are they slumped over when you walk? Is your head facing down?
Or do you send the message of confidence, with erect posture and eye contact. (Not staring, which is confrontational!) Usually, a criminal doesn’t want a challenge, and a confident person is a potential challenge. Make a conscious effort to walk with good posture and at a comfortable pace, not rushed. Avoid looking lost, fatigued, uncertain or preoccupied — the demeanor an assailant looks for.
If you have to use an ATM at night, try not to go alone. Avoid ATMs that are outside, poorly lit, or have doors that do not lock. When you’re approaching an ATM machine, do a quick survey. Is there anyone hanging around for no apparent reason? If there is, go somewhere else. Don’t worry about looking foolish or paranoid. If it helps, act like you forgot something. When using the ATM, make sure the door closes behind you, and use the mirrors to watch who is behind you. If there is someone behind you, are they waiting or watching what you are doing? Always count your money while at the machine, not outside on the sidewalk. Put your money away and secure your receipt. If someone interrupts you during a transaction, it might be a scam. Hit the ‘end’ or ‘cancel’ button immediately.
We can also make ourselves vulnerable for an attack when we are exercising outdoors. If you like to walk or jog, keep in mind: Schedule your workouts during daylight hours. Try to have a friend exercise with you; it decreases the chance of an attack. You never want to wear headphones; this diminishes your alertness and prevents you from using your hearing to warn you of someone attempting a rear attack. Just like any other time, avoid secluded areas.
Kids’ karate classes provide a great outlet and teach children to defend themselves against someone their own age. But a child must understand that he or she cannot outfight an adult — regardless of what they see on TV or in the movies. Children must be taught not to talk to strangers. But do they completely understand the definition of a stranger — a person you, the parent, has never met (regardless of how friendly your child perceives him or her to be)? To simplify things further for your child, teach them the four nevers: 1) Never do a favor for a stranger without your parent’s permission. 2) Never go inside a stranger’s car. 3) Never go inside a stranger’s house. 4) Never keep a secret with a stranger. Or any other adult for that matter.
If a child finds himself in a dangerous situation, his first choice of action (like an adult’s) should be to run. Should the child be cornered, tell them it’s OK to throw something into the face of an assailant to distract them — and then run. Use what’s immediately accessible — such as a school book or a rock. The best way to escape from a person who is grabbing you is to bite the hand or arm that is doing the holding; the bite should go deeply into the flesh until the grip is released. And teach kids to use their voice as a weapon. It is better to scream, “A stranger is trying to take me!”, instead of “Help!”. It draws more attention, and is less likely to be dismissed as children playing.
PAUL PINSDORF is a Whitestone dad, a NYC police officer, and a second degree black belt in Goju karate.
More tips on
keeping kids safe?
Ask a funeral director!
By Liz Boardman
Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t misbehave. Don’t make noise.
These are common commands from parent to child.
And the worst things a child can do if a stranger is abducting them.
That’s the lesson kids and parents learn at Escape School, a free community service program offered by Dignity Memorial Funeral Providers, like Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home in New York City.
“The most important lesson we teach is to break the rules,” explains Martin Kasdan, a certified presenter for Escape Schools and funeral director at Frank E. Campbell. “Bad behavior will get attention, which helps the child.”
What sort of “bad behavior” does Escape School recommend?
• Be Velcro. Grab the first available human’s arm or leg, and don’t let go. The usual advice — look for a grandmotherly person, or a mother with young children — isn’t offered here. Waiting for a certain type of person gives an abductor time to gain control of the situation. “In an abduction, you count on strangers helping your child,” Kasdan says. “The key is to find one who will help, instead of moving the other way. That isn’t always easy in a city.” By making it impossible to ignore the child wrapped around their arm, the adult has little choice but to help.
• Scream. According to Kasdan, girls will almost always do this naturally, but boys need to be taught. “Boys want to fight, which only makes the abductor more likely to get violent, making the situation even more dangerous,” he points out.
• Throw things. Kids can throw their book bag at the assailant. Or wedge their bike between them and not let go. The goal is to throw the assailant off guard, gaining time for the child to run in the opposite direction.
• Make a scene. If the child is targeted at a store, they should run through the aisles pushing items off shelves to attract attention. If they are in a busy outdoor area, they could climb a stoplight, and scream. “Someone is certain to call a manager or the police if they see a child behaving like this,” Kasdan says. “In an abduction situation, the more adults who are involved, the better.”
While the lessons sound intense, Escape School presenters try to get the message across without spooking kids, or their parents. They instill confidence, rather than fear, by role-playing and games, trusting that the advice is memorable enough to be remembered in the time of crisis.
The program was developed by Bob Stuber, a former San Francisco Bay Area police officer, and author of Missing! Stranger Abduction: Teaching Your Child How To Escape. Presentations are offered for ages 6–17, and are modified routinely, based on feedback from law enforcement and prosecutors, who know the most current tactics assailants use.
The program is free to participants. While classes are sponsored and taught by Dignity Memorial funeral directors, the sessions are held outside the funeral home — at schools, libraries, Scout meetings and community events. Multi-lingual presenters, or translation services, can be arranged. For more information, contact Laura Macho at (201) 723-3752 or email@example.com, or Martin Kasdan at 800-690-1646, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.escapeschool.com.