Road & Travel Magazine - Adventure Travel  Channel

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Climate Views & Videos
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Automotive Channel
Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate News & Views
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Bookmark and Share

Holiday Safety Tips

Safety Tips to Protect Against Holiday Crime

The holiday season is a time for giving, sharing and enjoying family and friends. Unfortunately, it's also a season for criminals, who have more targets carrying extra money with lowered awareness.

But there are ways to protect yourself and to lessen your chances of a crime happening to you.

  • Stay alert.

  • Keep your mind on your surroundings, who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Don’t get distracted.

  • Walk purposefully, stand tall, and make eye contact with people around you.

  • TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you feel uncomfortable, leave.

Personal Protection
  • Make yourself a "tough target."

  • Don’t think that it can’t happen to you.

  • Should you resist? Every situation is different.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

  • If being followed call 911 or drive to a police station.

If You’re Attacked
  • Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible and evaluate your options and resources.

  • It may be more advisable to submit than to resist and risk severe injury or death. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances. But, don’t resist if the attacker has a weapon. Men are significantly stronger than women and can do a great deal of physical harm to a woman in a fight including choking, neck snapping, beating, etc. This is not to say, don't fight. That has to be your call in the moment, but keep this in mind based on his size and your confidence in a take-over, escape route, or access to a weapon such as a rock, stick, knife, gun, ice pick, letter opener, scissors, glass shard, whatever at hand, but keep in mind if he gets that weapon away from you, he will likely use it against you. Best to use your wits when you can to escape.

  • Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another. Possible options include negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming, and physical resistance.

  • You may be able to turn the attacker off with unusual behavior such as throwing up, acting crazy, or stating you have a sexually transmitted disease.

After a Sexual Assault

  • Go to a safe place and call the police.

  • The sooner you report the crime, the greater the chances your attacker will be caught.

  • DO NOT shower, bathe, douche, or destroy any clothing you were wearing. Do not disturb any physical evidence.

  • Go to a hospital emergency room for medical care as there could be transfer evidence or DNA on your clothes or body. This is how they catch perpetrators. As even as disgusting as it feels not to shower immediately, it will serve you in the long-run and bring you justice.

  • Call someone to be with you. You should not be alone.

  • Contact a rape treatment or crisis center to help you deal with the consequences of the assault.

More Information about Rape

Rape is one of the most frequently committed violent crimes and its incidence is steadily increasing. Hand-in-hand with the rising incidence of sexual assault is the rising fear among women of such victimization. A study of perceptions of violent crime among residents of Seattle, Washington, reported that all women fear rape, especially those under 35. They report that rape is a more terrifying possibility to them than any other crime including murder, assault, and robbery.

Such fear is not necessarily misplaced. It is believed that perhaps twice as many criminal sexual assaults occur as are officially reported. Also official tallies do not reflect the number of deaths as a result of rape; these deaths are reported as murders. Every single minute in America, there are 1.3 forcible rapes of adult women; 78 women are forcibly raped each hour. Every day in America, 1,871 women are forcibly raped, equating to 56,916 forcible rapes every month. Every year in our country, 683,000 American women are forcibly raped.

Rape Myths
Despite the prevalence of sexual assault in the United States, a number of misconceptions surround this crime and its victims. Some of the most common myths include:

1. MYTH: Rape is a crime of passion.
The notion that the rapist is controlled by overwhelming lust is far removed from the reality. Psychologists have found that the motivation behind sexual assault is most often the need to dominate and control, rather than the inability to control sexual urges. Rape is primarily an act of power, control and aggression, with the sexual aspects taking secondary role.

2. MYTH: Women who are careful don't get raped.
Rapes occur in a variety of places and situations during any hour of the day or night. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 35 percent of all rapes occur in or near a victim's home, and there are incidences of rape in offices, schools, and other work locations. While there are certain preventative measures women can take, even the most cautious women are not perfectly safe.

3. MYTH: Rape is impossible if the woman really resists.
Most victims resist sexual assault in some way, but the rapist usually has the advantage of surprise and strength. Physical force is used in 85 percent of all reported rapes, and 25 percent of victims are threatened or attacked with a dangerous weapon. In addition to the sexual attack, more than half who are physically assaulted, receive some injury. Injury is more likely if the victim resisted.

4. MYTH: Women secretly want to be raped.
There is a difference between romantic fantasy and brutal, violent reality. There also is a difference between the fundamental right of choice in one's fantasy and the loss of control as a victim of sexual assault.

5. MYTH: The rapist is usually a stranger.
Expert opinions vary. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a woman is twice as likely to be attacked by a stranger than by someone she knows. However, sexual assault by an acquaintance "date rape" is a serious and largely unreported occurrence. In a survey sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 6,159 college students at 32 schools nationwide were interviewed and reported that 84 percent of the victims of completed rapes knew the offender, most often (66 percent) as a date. Of these victims, 95 percent did not report the crime to the police. Similarly, the incidence of marital rape, as a form of domestic violence, goes largely unreported.

6. MYTH: Women invite rape by dressing or acting seductively.
There is little correlation between physical attractiveness and the likelihood of becoming a victim. To believe that a woman "deserves" to be raped is to say that a wealthy-looking man "deserves" to be robbed.

7. MYTH: If rape is imminent, the woman should relax and enjoy it.
This may be a fatal belief, according to interviews with murderers who sexually molested their victims. These offenders report that the victim's compliance or non-forceful resistance were not deterrents to the murder, with survivors being those who forcefully resisted. Even in sexual assaults without homicidal intent, it is unreasonable to expect a woman to enjoy involuntary participation in a violent, terrifying crime.

8. MYTH: Women "cry rape."
The reality is that sexual assault is perhaps one of the most under reported crimes in relation to its actual incidence. BJS found that only about half of the victims of rape or attempted rape surveyed between 1973 and 1982 reported the crime to the police. Various other surveys also found that a vast number of sexual assaults go unreported, with even higher percentages of victims not reporting. In general, victims of "classic" rape, i.e., violent attack by a stranger, are more likely to report the crime than women raped by men they know, at home or in social settings. Thus, the notion that "a woman scorned" will hurl false rape accusations, considering the tendency of victims not to report out of shame or despair, is unlikely to be true.

(Source: US Dept. of Justice)

While Driving
  • Keep the car maintained and have at least a half tank of gas in the car in case of emergencies.

  • Park in well-lighted areas and lock your doors, no matter how long you’ll be gone.

  • Put valuables out of sight or in the trunk.

  • Check all seats and floorboards before entering your car.

  • Drive with all doors locked and windows rolled up.

  • Never pick up hitchhikers.

  • If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, turn on the flashers, and move to the passenger seat. Do not leave your car. If someone stops, roll down the window slightly and ask them to call the police or a tow truck.

  • Avoid underground or enclosed parking garages if possible.

  • When parking or returning to your vehicle, carry your keys and be aware of your surroundings.

  • Carry a cellphone and keep it charged.

Public Transportation
  • Try to use well-lit and frequently used stops.

  • Try to sit near the driver or conductor.

  • Avoid sitting near exits. An attacker can reach in and grab a purse or jewelry as the bus or subway pulls away.

  • Be alert to who gets off with you. If you feel uncomfortable, find a place where there are other people.
In Elevators
  • Look in the elevator before getting in.

  • Stand near the controls.

  • Get off if someone suspicious enters. If you’re worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and don’t get on.

  • If attacked, hit the alarm and as many floors as possible.
Home and Neighborhood
  • Good locks, simple precautions, neighborhood awareness, and common sense can help prevent most property crimes.

  • Install and use good deadbolt locks in your doors (half burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows).

  • Secure sliding glass doors with locks or a rigid wooden dowel wedged in the track.

  • Lock double-hung windows by sliding a bolt or nail into a hole drilled at a downward angle through the top of each sash and into the frame.

  • Trim back shrubbery hiding doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb to the second story.

  • Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lit.

  • Maintain the neighborhood. Dark alleys, litter, and rundown areas attract criminals.

  • Do not hide house keys in mail boxes, planters, under doormats or in other easy to find places.

  • Do not put personal identification on key rings.

  • Leave only your ignition key with mechanics or parking attendants, keeping other keys safe.

  • Install an electronic camera on your phone and in your home so you can see who is outside without opening the door.

  • Do not trust door chains. They can be easily broken.

  • Don’t open the door to strangers. Insist service personnel verify their identity before letting them in.

  • Don’t give any information to "wrong number" callers

  • Do not answer ROBO callers. If you do by accident, hang up. Do not give them any info whatsoever.

  • Check references of any person calling about a survey or credit check before offering information.

  • Hang up immediately on threatening or harassing calls.

  • Make your home appear occupied when you go out.
    --Leave lights on and the radio playing.
    --Keep your garage door closed and locked.
    --Use timing devices to turn inside lights on and off.
    --If you will be gone several days, arrange to have the mail and papers stopped or picked up. Many burglaries occur during the day when neighbors could report the thieves.

(Source: Michigan State Police)