Everyone you know, your friends, teachers, coworkers, family, they all have tips that can help keep you safe! But who better to ask for safety advice than a police officer? They know which habits truly heighten your safety and which little mistakes cause some of the biggest crimes and accidents.
Don’t be a victim! Follow these police-approved tips and rest easy knowing you’re that much safer.
1. Don’t give the valet all of your keys.
You don’t know where the restaurant, party or hotel found their valet drivers. Some use established companies that thoroughly screen each employee, but some are just a random assortment of friends and friends’ kids who need jobs. It’s not uncommon for a valet company to hire adolescents who can’t get any other job because they have a criminal record. Take all other keys (like your house keys, office keys, keys to your other cars) off of your key chain before giving it to the valet driver. And install a GPS tracker in your car so that, if it is stolen, you can find it.
2. Don’t fall for a “warning” about your car.
This is one of the oldest assault tricks in the books. If you’re ever driving and someone pulls up next to you, pointing frantically at your vehicle as if to imply something is wrong with it, don’t pull over right away. Instead, find a well-lit, busy area to pull over and inspect your vehicle. The person may be pointing out an issue, but may also be trying to rob or attack you.
3. Clean your car before giving it to a mechanic.
Mechanics may need to go into your trunk, glove compartment or under your seats when inspecting your car. Don’t leave any documents around that reveal personal information. You should also scan it for spare keys to your home, credit card receipts or information about your child. For many people, their cars are like a map of their lives and should be thoroughly cleaned before going to the mechanic.
4. Lock your doors when you’re driving.
It is very unlikely that somebody would open your doors when you’re driving at high speeds, but you don’t always drive at high speeds. Think about sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or driving through a neighborhood with a 20 MPH speed limit, or stopping at a red light. At these moments, anyone can quickly run up to your vehicle and open the door. Don’t leave it up to chance!
5. Ask for an escort at night.
Don’t be shy about asking the store or venue you are leaving to send an escort to walk you to your car. This is very common and nobody will bat an eye. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and the security guard on call is usually more than happy to escort you.
6. Don’t fall for appearances.
There is no such thing as a burglar, carjacker, con artist or rapist “type.” In fact, police would tell you that, of the thousands of mug shots they look at each day, most of them look like perfectly normal individuals. Never base your level of trust for someone off of his or her appearance.
7. Avoid being polite in unusual or suspicious situations.
You are not obligated to let a stranger on the street use your cell phone, or to answer someone’s question about when the next bus arrives. If you do not feel safe, do not answer someone and just keep walking.
These are tips based on the experiences of true police officers and could be some of the most valuable advice you take.