Don't Be Followed Home - Safety Tips for Women.
Both Dennis Rader and Joshua Komisarjevsky chose victims during a random encounter and sexually assaulted and murdered their victims in the victim's own home.
Avoid giving predators information they can use to find you.
Social Media. (Make your profile private, restrict ability to share, and avoid photos that will identify your residence or place of employment.)
Work ID. Many employers use a photo badge with first name and last initial. This makes searching for you on social media very easy. Don't hang your ID from the mirror of your vehicle.
Children. It's easy to become distracted when out with children. Be vigilant and if children are old enough, included them in your safety plan.
Be aware of non-associated specific targeting. (Random selection.)
Understand Your Maternal Instinct
The Basal Ganglia (part of our limbic system) is the primitive section of our brain that controls physical movement and habits. It is designed to keep us alive; however, this can present a conflict between your instincts for self-preservation (to flee) with the maternal instinct to protect your children. Vigilance, pre-need decision-making, and appropriate physical skill development are critical.
Showing disrespect and challenging violent criminal actors are the two main triggers of violent action. When approached by an unknown person your best and first course of action is to politely say, “I’m sorry I can’t help you” while making space. Don’t respond in any other way. If the person persists, loudly shout, “Stay back”. If you suspect a specific person is stalking you while in a store or other public place, making eye contact with the person may serve to alert them that you are aware of their presence and dissuade them; however, it may also be considered a challenge thus provoking unwanted violent action.
It is important to develop the habit of observing hands. If a person is making an effort to conceal a hand or you actually see a weapon, you need to act in a more urgent and pre-planned manner to escape or respond with appropriate force.
Remember that there is strength in numbers. Moving to the customer service area and engaging with others may be your best strategy. Doing so may prompt the person to leave the area, but that does not mean they aren't waiting in parking lot. Ask to be escorted to your vehicle and stay alert.
It is important to note that the simple change of a ball cap or shirt by a predator will degrade your ability to identify them as you travel from one location to another. (This is a staple of professional surveillance operators.) If you suspect a person is following you; make note of their shoes, pants, wristwatch, etc. These are items of identification unlikely to be changed during the course of a day. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance if you believe you're being followed.
Become Surveillance Aware
If you have the attention of a predator, being followed while driving is highly likely. Moving automobile surveillance is extremely difficult. With a little effort we can determine if we are being followed.
Be aware of vehicles that do not pull up next to you at stoplights. Stopping short (in your blind spot) is done for a reason.
Pay attention to vehicles that yo-yo behind you, especially as you approach traffic signals. Surveillance operators work hard to avoid stopping near the target vehicle or losing their target at intersections.
If you suspect or confirm that you are being followed, you should travel to a busy place (fire-station, etc.) or call the police and follow their guidance.
Seek competent training (especially if you travel armed). Competent firearm training requires working from concealment in the clothes you wear daily and doing so in a manner that allows 360-degree movement with a hot gun. Training should also include verbal challenges and interacting with bystanders and law enforcement. Anything less will leave you wanting.
As always, I encourage you to reach with any questions.