Rape and Assault Prevention Checklist
Although the Uniform Crime Report shows that many types of crime are down in Springfield, rapes have risen dramatically (tip is originally from November 2002). Do as much as you can to keep yourself safe.
In your home:
- Install adequate locks on all exterior doors and change locks each time you move.
- Don't advertise living alone; use initials on mailbox and in phone book.
- Do not hide a key anywhere.
- Don't admit uninvited salesmen or strangers into your home.
- Complete outside chores before dark.
- Use exterior lighting when home or away.
- Trim shrubberies low so criminals won't have a hiding place.
- Secure outside ladders and trash cans, and discard unused boxes to discourage peepers.
- Don't advertise your absence during weddings, funerals, and vacations.
- Close blinds, shades, and drapes at night.
- Hang up immediately on unknown phone callers.
- Be cautious when volunteering information to telephone surveys.
- Keep a flashlight near the phone in case you need to dial 911 in the dark.
- Report suspicious persons and loiterers to police.
- Establish a "buddy system" with a trusted neighbor and watch each other's property.
- Vary your routine a little each day. Most rapes are planned.
In your car:
- Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times; always check rear seat before entering car.
- Have key in hand before reaching car; don't put identification on your key ring.
- Use well-lighted main thoroughfares and always park in well-lighted areas.
- Do not hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
- If you are being followed by another car, don't go home. Head for a well-lighted, well-populated area or drive to the police station and blow the horn. Get a description of the vehicle.
- Don't stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Note the location and stop at the next phone booth or use your cellular phone to call police or highway patrol.
- Leave only your ignition key for mechanics or parking lot attendants.
On the street:
- Choose well-lighted streets and bus stops, staying near the curb. Avoid alleys and shrubbery.
- Invite a friend to walk with you.
- If you are followed, get away fast. Change directions or head for open businesses.
- If approached by a stranger, run to the center of the street and don't hesitate to call for help.
- If attacked, yell "Fire" instead of "Rape." It gets a better response.
- Don't walk alone if you are depressed, exhausted, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Stay alert and walk at a steady pace. Look like you know where you are going. Don't pass through groups of men. Carry a flashlight if it's almost dark.
- Do not give directions or other information to strangers; stand away from their cars to avoid being grabbed.
- A dog on a leash is a good deterrent to a criminal.
- Be extra cautious of elevators and stairways in office and apartment buildings.
- Leave work and meetings with others and watch until they are in their cars.
- Refrain from displaying large sums of money when shopping.
- Don't leave your purse unattended on store counters, in shopping carts, or fitting rooms.
- An aerosol spray, keys, a whistle, or a nail file can be used for your protection.
- Light and noise are the best deterrents to a criminal.
Lower your risk factors and you will lower the chances of being assaulted or raped. Following these tips will help.