My friend Rick Davis sent me this email, its safety tips from an expat forum. There’s good info here and valid no matter where you live.
Posted by: “Frances Perry”
Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:58 pm (PDT)
A good security note on tires and then reminder. This was sent out today.
Some unfortunate security incidents have happened to members of our community over the past few days; some of them have occurred on streets. So I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of certain preventive measures that can keep us safe. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:
· According to published statistics, tire thefts increased 30% this year. Most of them were imported tires. One of the reasons for this happening are the import restrictions that went into effect in March 2010.
- Use the parking lot
- Leave nothing in sight inside the car. In some cases, a person who wants to steal a tire will proceed to breaking a window or lock to get inside the car if he sees something inside the car that catches his attention. Have an alarm installed in the car and add safety locknuts for the 5 wheels. These locknuts have a special key that you should keep with you and not in the car.
- If you see a person or vehicle that looks suspicious, let the guard know. There have been cases where the victim said he/she was suspicious of someone but decided not to say anything.
While I am writing about a security topic, let me also add a few additional security tips that can be useful:
· If you need to withdraw money from an ATM, do so during banking hours, at the bank where there is security. ATMs in shopping malls or gas stations are not recommended.
· If you need to go shopping, try to estimate the money you will spend and do not carry much more cash than that with you. Whenever possible use debit and credit cards. A random thief will prefer to rob someone who has cash on them, not someone who is using debit or credit cards. It’s also a very good idea to keep your cash separate from your documents, so that if you are robbed, you only lose your money, and not hard to replace IDs or other documents that contain details about your life.
· When you are on the street, stay aware of what is happening around you. Otherwise, you become an easy target. Using your cell phone while you walk distracts you, and sends others a signal that you are distracted. Also, remember that women are many times involved in street crime—do not think a person or their movements are less suspicious just because it’s a woman.
· If for any reason you think you are going to be robbed, walk faster and try to go into a store or near a police officer, and alert him. If you don’t see a store with guards or a policeman, walk faster and change direction to see if the suspicious person is really following you. Always keep a good distance between yourself and other people– nobody can rob you from a distance. Shouting somebody’s name will make other people think you are not alone. Shouting fire, fire will alert other people and/or neighbors.
· There are cases of phone calls saying that one of your family members has been kidnapped. These are called “Virtual Kidnappings” (secuestro virtual).
There are a few excuses that these “kidnappers” use to engage you in conversation when you answer the phone so that they can demand a ransom for the “kidnapped” person, such as:
- Reporting an accident.
- Saying that they are the police and asking for details.
- Sometimes there is a tape saying the phone call is being made from jail.(Este es un llamado del servicio penitenciario)
- Repair service from the phone company.
- Any other excuse to engage the person in conversation so they can threaten the victim.
It’s very important not to engage in conversation with someone you don’t know or whose number you don’t recognize. If someone is trying to get your attention like that on the phone, hang up immediately, no matter what their excuse is. If it is something truly important, they will most likely call back. They may also call back to try to get your attention again. If you are still not convinced that it’s a safe call, tell them that you are going to call the police. Do so even if the person who speaks to you speaks perfect English. In one of the incidents this week, the second person who spoke did so in English. If you leave your house, give the people who stay home a way to get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
· If you go downtown try to park in an indoor parking garage.
· When you return to your house, look around for suspicious people or activity. If you see something you don’t like, keep driving, and then call your house to let them know that you are around the block and ask them to call the police. Some people don’t want to bother the police if they are not sure but its better then getting robbed and its one of the ways to avoid becoming a victim.
· If you parked the car outside your house and it’s already dark outside, leave it outside. A family was robbed a year and a half ago because they tried to move the car off the street once it was dark.
· If you go to a restaurant or a bar, try to pick places located in busy areas and that have security guards or police.
· One of the most important points to remember is to not fight back if you are getting robbed. It is extremely risky to try to avoid a robbery once it has begun, and will most likely provoke a violent reaction from the robber(s). Preventive measures can keep us from becoming victims of urban crime, and the correct reaction once we are involved in an incident can save lives.
· Exchanging information and letting people know about incidents that happen to us can help other people stay alert These conversations are very important so that everyone can be aware of personal security issues, and perhaps avoid a difficult situation.