Monday, December 30, 2013
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
DALLAS, December 18th, 2013 — The holiday season is often a joyous time filled with celebrations, gift-giving and vacations. Unfortunately, the month of December is also often marked by a spike in property crimes, theft and assault.
Whether you live in a large city or quaint suburb, criminals are on the move seeking easy targets. While engaging in holiday activities, including travel, shopping and home celebrations, practice these common-sense practices to protect yourself and loved ones.
1. Do you know where you are?
Several studies show that social predators select victims based on their lack of situational awareness. Knowing your surroundings help you anticipate threats. Practicing vigilance at all times doesn’t make you paranoid, but smart. Using GPS or a map, know your route before departing a safe location and avoid areas that are questionable.
Busy parking lots and unlit shopping centers and garages are ideal strike-points; be aware. Document your parking location so you don’t forget while shopping and choose areas well-lit and well-guarded. Don’t enter or park in poorly lit areas or take so-called shortcuts through sketchy neighborhoods.
Be wary of vans, trucks, campers, and other vehicles with heavily tinted windows parked next to you.
Distracted, busy shoppers and lost tourists are often ideal choices for pick-pockets, purse snatchers and other criminals. Know where you’re going. Don’t be a statistic.
2. Walk smartly, swiftly
A primary factor criminals consider when choosing a target is their victim’s gait, walking speed and perceived confidence. Walk without distraction. Make direct, polite eye contact with passersby and project assertiveness.
Don’t let others stop you for directions, regardless of how impolite you feel. Approaching a victim for meaningless questions is a common pre-attack method. Keep walking and avoid strangers.
Your safety is not subject to polite social courtesy.
Always have your keys ready to enter your vehicle and home. If you carry mace or another weapon to arm yourself, know how to easily access it.
Think someone is following you? Trust your gut. Cross the street, speed up your pace, or walk into a store. If you sense danger, don’t feel ashamed. Get to safety quickly and conscientiously.
This is your best defense. Also, see #6.
3. Stay off your cell phone, but keep it charged and close
You can’t move with ideal awareness while texting and walking. Some assume talking on a cell phone makes them safer because the other party will know if they’re in trouble, but this is not the case. Good targets are distracted and unaware, face-down in Twitter or a text message.
Stop Pandora, take out your ear phones, put down your cell phone and walk with purpose to your destination.
Having your cell phone out also presents an opportunity for thieves to snatch it and run.
Charge your phone. Cell phone towers track your physical location. Should something happen to you, your well-charged cell phone can save your life. In the event of a robbery, an attack or your presence near another individuals’ attack, your camera, video or phone call to police can completely alter a dangerous situation.
4. Who knows your whereabouts?
Someone should know where you’re going and your target time of return. If something does happen to you, they can alert authorities more quickly. Don’t post your shopping adventures and vacation destination online until after you’ve returned from that location, if absolutely necessary even then.
Social media helps criminals orchestrate everything from flash mob robberies to sexual assaults. Weigh your need to alert the world of your every move with your personal safety. Don’t give criminals an easy target.
5. Secure yourself and property
Lock your doors and windows. When entering your vehicle, check your backseat and once inside, depart. Don’t check your phone, fix your makeup or search directions behind the wheel. Get moving. Be sure to move any packages or shopping bags to your trunk. Tinted back windows aren’t a failsafe. Place purchases in your trunk.
Never leave your purse or expensive items visible in the front seat of your car.
Ladies, carry your purse close to your body while walking. Long straps are ideal for snatching. Shorten your straps or leave your purse in your trunk, carrying with you only what you need in your jacket or front pockets: an ID and your credit card. Men, try to place your money in your front pocket, not back. Try to avoid wearing expensive jewelry while shopping or carrying large sums of money.
When you leave home, don’t leave presents and packages visible through windows. Lock doors, set alarms and bring animals into your home. Dogs are aprimary deterrent for home invaders.
Don’t place boxes for expensive items on your lawn. Drop them at a dumpster away from your home or break them down so that their previous contents are not discernible.
6. Arm yourself
Police Departments across the country are issuing tip sheets for holiday safety, but the most important element to your security is often omitted. If you are licensed to carry a firearm, protect yourself.
If not, perhaps consider this ultimate defense.
Though one should never take aggressive action unless in a life-threatening situation, it is your right to defend your home and property. Know your state’s laws and your rights to self-defense, and act wisely.
While out-and-about, always have your weapon-of-choice, whether that be your concealed carry, mace or otherwise, ready for defense. Ask yourself often, “what would I do if …” and mentally prepare yourself for self-defense.
Most holiday home invasions happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.; secure your property, have a plan and act within the accordance of your safety. Your personal welfare is your responsibility alone.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
SPRINGFIELD — In a quick reversal, the Quinn administration said Tuesday it will begin accepting paper applications for concealed weapon permits beginning in July.
Just days after saying the Illinois State Police would accept only online applications when the signup period for permits begins Jan. 5, officials said they have reached an agreement to offer paper applications.
The switch was announced at a meeting of the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules after lawmakers and others began complaining last week that some Illinoisans who want to carry loaded weapons in public either don't have access to computers or are unsure of how to use them.
"Many of us are hearing of the hardship that would be imposed on many, many of our constituents," said state Rep. David Leitch, a member of the committee.
The Peoria Republican said he wanted paper applications to be ready to go March 1, but State Police officials said the July 1 date is the soonest they can begin offering a paper alternative to the State Police website.
"As I sit here today, I cannot commit to March 1," said Suzanne Bond, chief legal counsel for the State Police.
"It would be difficult for us to do it at this time," added State Police Chief of Staff Matthew Davis.
The State Police have been scrambling to create a system for permitting, training and regulating the new weapons law since last summer when a federal appeals court ruled that Illinois' ban on carrying concealed weapons was unconstitutional.
An estimated 400,000 are expected to flood the new system in the first year.
Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the July 1 date is too far away.
"I think they are going to be pushed to do something sooner," Vandermyde said. "It's a sign of progress, but it shows how incompetent they are."
State Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, asked agency officials to make it clear to applicants that they can sign up on computers at libraries and at some of the hundreds of firearms trainers who are participating in the new concealed carry permitting process.
"We will be happy to bolster our website," Bond said.