Assault is a violent physical attack, and can be one of the most devastating crimes of all. Like most crimes, assault can often be prevented. Here are a few things that you can do to help reduce your risk of being attacked.
Make sure all windows and doors in your home can be locked securely, particularly sliding glass doors. Keep entrances well lit. Install a peephole in the door, and use it. Check the identification of any sales or service persons before letting them in. Don't let any stranger into your home when you're alone, no matter what the reason or dire emergency is said to be. Offer to make an emergency phone call while the person waits outside. Get to know your neighbors, people you can turn to when you're worried. If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don't go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police.
While Walking or Jogging
Always be alert to your surroundings and people around you. Try to stay in well-lit areas. Walk or jog confidently at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic. Walk or jog close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys. Wear clothes and shoes that give you freedom of movement. Don't walk or jog alone at night and always avoid areas when there are few people. Be careful when people stop you for directions. Always reply from a safe distance, never get too, close to the car. If you are in trouble, attract attention any way you can. Scream, yell for help, or yell "fire!" If you feel you are being followed, walk to a well-populated area.
- Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.
- Park in well-lit areas and lock the doors, even if you'll be gone a short time.
- When you return to your car, have the keys ready and check the front and rear seats and floor before getting in.
- Drive with all doors locked.
- If you get a flat, drive carefully on it until you reach a safe, well-lit and well-traveled area.
- If your car breaks down, put the hood up and the hazard lights on. Use flares if you have them. Stay inside the car with the doors locked. If someone stops to help, don't get out of your car. Roll down the window slightly and ask the person to contact the police or a tow service.
- Never stop to assist a stranger whose car broke down. Instead, help by driving to the nearest phone and calling police for help.
- Exercise extra caution when using underground and enclosed parking areas. Try not to enter alone.
- If you are being followed, don't drive home. Go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn. If that is not possible, drive to an open gas station or other business where you can safely contact the police. Don't leave your car unless you are certain you can make it inside the building safely. If possible, try to obtain the license plate number and the description of the vehicle following you.
- If possible, have a cellular phone in your car for use in emergencies.
If You Are Attacked
Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options. It may be more advisable to submit than to resist and risk severe injury or death. You will have to make a decision based on the circumstances. Be especially careful if your attacker has a weapon. Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn't work, try another. Possible options in addition to nonresistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention, and physical resistance. Stay alert and observant so that you can better describe your attacker(s) and the assault to the police.
After the Attack
Go to a safe place and call the police. The sooner you make the report, the greater the chances the attacker will be caught. Do not destroy any clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault took place. Write down a description of the attacker and the circumstances of the assault. Police need all the information they can get about the assailant.