Did you know that gang members outnumber law enforcement officers by a ratio of 6 to 1, and they are better armed? As a result of this and other prevailing conditions law enforcement and politicians have tried to overhaul the juvenile justice system in California.
Recently the Desert Sun reported that the Coachella Valley crime rates are on the rise. Would you believe that Palm Desert, our community, ranks as the second worst crime community with crime rising 5%? In fact crime is sort of ‘our dirty little secret’ here in the desert.
We can reduce crime by just following some simple steps.
· Lock your homes and cars and USE the alarm systems.
· Don’t be a criminal yourself, for others to emulate.
· Wear your seat belt. Set an example.
· Be a good NOSEY neighbor.
· Set up a neighborhood watch.
· Pass information on suspicious types with a phone, texting or email tree.
People don’t plan to fail – they simply fail to plan… ahead. When you travel abroad make photo copies of your passport, California driver’s license and all credit cards and distribute them among your luggage as a measure to expedite replacement if it should get lost or stolen. Take a cell phone picture of your luggage before you leave home. No explanation should be necessary.
What should YOU do if you are involved in an automobile accident? If you contact me I can send you a simple pamphlet which you should keep in your car. If you have an accident and you complete the requested information you will save yourself time, trouble and grief.
We all want to be safe but we must work at being safe. Think defensively, act defensively, and drive defensively. What if you become lost in an unfamiliar and seedy part of a city? Are you prepared to deal with some hairy circumstances? Suppose a car stops in front of you blocking your way. At the same time four shady looking guys approach your car, two per side. Are you locked in with the windows rolled up? Suppose they clearly display weapons of some kind. Are you mentally ready to take some real defensive action? If the weapons are knives or clubs you might just “get the heck out of there”. If a gun is displayed are you prepared to turn your luxury pleasure car into a highly effective and deadly counter-weapon?
YOU can take the initiative away from the gunman by gunning your car and heading straight for him. Pretty hard to miss. This is guaranteed to bring a reaction from your assailant. Drive for safety, AWAY FROM, AND OUT OF THAT AREA. If possible, call 911 and then drive to a police or fire station and report the incident. At the very least get to a hospital emergency door or a well lighted convenience store and report it.
I KNOW this sounds extreme but situations like this develop every day in most big cities across the country. You MUST act with defensive intuition in the mundane surroundings of a supermarket, bar or store and especially the ATM machine. You can never know when you are being “cased” to determine if you are a worthwhile robbery victim. Expensive new cars, watches and a flashed bankroll make awfully attractive targets.
Be alert in ALL your surroundings, prepared to take defensive action. Women should know the many defensive weapons housed in a purse. Pepper Mace, hair spray, nail files, keys, flash lights.
If you’re at home and someone is breaking in do the opposite of what you think. TURN ALL THE LIGHTS OFF, get out quickly and RUN to a neighbor’s house for help. If you’re surprised in the kitchen use what’s at hand. Hot food on the stove! Knives! Fork!…… whatever! You have the right to defend yourself by any means within reach. Fire extinguishers are good too.
If you are in a market/stores parking area be especially alert. Thieves lurk there looking for the easy ‘mark.’ Carry your car keys in your hand ready to lash out with them if someone accosts you. Go for the eyes. NEVER walk along with your hands in your pockets. You would have No defense. Carry a ‘legal’ weapon in your car within easy reach. A large, heavy flashlight serves very well. Hang onto children and defend them from harm. Shout for older children to run for help, making lots of noise as they go.
Nowadays you must be very vigilant for the ‘Crash for Cash’ operation. Sometimes teams of experts work together to involve you in a car accident. The sole purpose is to generate false claims to bilk you, and your insurance company, out of big money. Typically an older car will ‘front’ you and serve as the car to be hit. Usually the “front” car will have several passengers to assure some claims can be made for injuries incurred. A second car will suddenly cut in front of the older car, resulting in a very sudden stop which appears to be unavoidable by the following “front” car. The result is a Rear End collision, whiplash claims and more. This scenario is called the ‘swoop and squat’ by the pros. It’s a true and real hazard in every city.
After the accident, try to stay cool. Pull out that accident pamphlet I mentioned. Try to get all the information requested. Try to get the police on the scene. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident, the scene and the other parties and witnesses, if possible. If you stay cool and demand answers to all the questions in the pamphlet you might just scare the ‘swoop squad’ away. Try to get bystanders involved even if they refuse to be a witness. There IS strength in numbers and you are unlikely to be harmed with others present.
If you become aware that someone is following you take defensive action. Use your cell phone to call 911. Try to read and record a license number. If the follower makes every turn you make then you do DON’T GO HOME. Go to a police or fire station and ask for help. If you’re not near home go to a well lighted convenience store or gas station and call for police assistance.
I started off explaining people don’t plan to fail, THEY FAIL TO PLAN. So PLAN now about what YOU would do in each of these circumstances……..and maybe discuss these suggestions with law enforcement to see what they suggest.