Tips for Your
Personal and Family Safety
- Never carry a large amount of
money. Whatever the amount, don't "flash" it
- Never resist an armed robber.
For Children and Parents:
- Women with pocketbooks and
purses: keep a good hold on your pocket-book and keep it
under your arm (and not freely hanging at your side when
walking down the street). In the super-market, don't leave
your purse in the shopping cart or walk away from the
check-out counter leaving your purse there . . . even if for
only a moment. If your handbag has a top flap, keep the flap
facing you when carrying it and put your hand on top of it.
MOST IMPORTANT. . . Lock up your pocketbook or purse while
at work. Many thefts occur there with persons walking in off
the street. In the powder room, watch your purse. In a
public restroom, don't put your handbag high on a hook
inside the booth.
- Men with wallets: keep it
close to your skin. Don't have a bulging wallet in a back
pocket or in a coat pocket (it too easily slips out).
- Everyone: clean out your
pocketbook or wallet regularly; carry as few credit cards as
possible and remove the ones you rarely use or carry them in
a different location.
- Never put your name and
address in your key case. If it is lost or stolen, you are
an easy mark for a burglar using your own keys.
- If your wallet or pocketbook
is stolen or lost, beware of someone calling you to have you
pick it up at a specific address. (This is an old trick:
while you are getting your wallet or purse back, someone is
burglarizing your home).
- If your wallet or purse has
proper identification in it, the U.S. Postal Service will
mail it to you if someone drops it into a post box anywhere
in the United States. This is also true for Social Security
and other checks.
- Be alert in public places
against pickpockets or someone who is simply waiting for the
chance to grab your wallet or pocketbook.
If someone bumps you or
brushes up against you, be wary . . . check your wallet or
pocketbook . . . this is a favorite "distracting"
tactic of the pickpocket and thief. Remember that many
pickpockets and thieves work in teams. While one distracts
you, the other quickly and quietly steals.
- At nighttime, simply avoid
dark alleys and streets.
- When walking down a sidewalk
with high bushes on one side, walk to the other side of the
- Warn children never to go any
place with strangers.
- Know where your children are
at all times.
- If children come home with
items or "gifts," check it out. Find out where
they got it. Report suspicious "gifts" or
unexplained items showing up at the house to the juvenile
division of the police department.
- Tell a child to stay at least
six feet away from a car that stops and asks for directions.
- Walking to school or other
distances away from home: it is better to have two or three
children walking together or even have an adult or older
child accompanying them.
- Organize the block parent
program where at least one home on every block is the place
to go if there's trouble and this parent generally sees to
it that no problems occur when children are coming home from
- Ask parents to be on front
porches or streets when children are returning home from
- Teach children to go to
parents, teachers, counselors or other responsible person if
threatened or if some problem occurs; this is not
"squealing" or "tattling."
- If a child comes home without
having eaten and without the money you may have given him
before going to school, check it out further. Make sure the
child isn't the victim of a "shake-down" racket
with older or bigger youths.
- Don't punish a group when only
one or two are guilty of something. Injustice does not teach
justice to the innocent. Consider a child as innocent until
- If there is any threat or
problem along the school route, arrange with parents or
other adults to accompany children to prevent further
- Remind a child not to show to
others what money he or she may have.
- Take an active interest in the
children of your home and block. Show your interest and help
out with problems. Make your home a neighborhood "youth
center" where children are welcome. Be a friend and
chaperon for recreational activities and let them know about
odd jobs around the home or neighborhood.
- Be suspicious of unanswered
questions from your child about what he or she has been
doing when out of the home.
- If your keys are even lost or
stolen, aside from other precautions mentioned in this
handbook, immediately change all locks. Even if your name
and address is not in the key case, someone may know who the
keys belong to. This could be an invitation to a burglary.
- Check out the babysitter with
references and people for whom he or she has done previous
- If your child is a babysitter
for someone, check them out too. Meet them so you know who
they are and where they live.
Most Important: Prosecution and
- Sign all credit cards.
- Keep a list of all credit
cards you have, their numbers and the name and address of
the company issuing them.
- If lost or stolen, promptly
report such by telephone to the company and then follow-up
your call with a letter stating the same report to each
- If you cancel a credit card,
destroy it immediately.
- Report any loitering people
you see around homes, parking lots, etc.
- Take a good look before
entering a poorly lit hallway, building, alley or parking
- Right to Self-Defense: the
Penna. Crimes Code allows any citizen to resist an attack in
any form by another person or persons; use no more force
than is necessary. You do have the right to arrest and hold
for the police any person who commits or attempts to commit
a criminal act against you.
- In any crime in which you have
had the opportunity to see the criminal, immediately write
down that person's description - don't trust your memory.
For additional thoughts about the best method to do this,
check this handbook's chapter on "Robbery,
Muggings and Purse-Snatchings."
- If anyone commits a
criminal act against you or your family - or you witness or
know of such an act against others - ALWAYS insist on
prosecuting the criminal. Be available to testify about what
happened or what you know at the district justice's hearing
and County Court.
And, if the crime was
committed against you or your family, INSIST on restitution
from the criminal-make the criminal pay for any damages,
losses, lost wages, medical bills, etc., resulting from his
actions. Do this at either the hearing and trial or take
civil action against the criminal on your own . . . BUT DO
Do not hesitate to be
involved. Report crime. Be willing to testify or to be
interviewed by police . . . Seek restitution (if any is
appropriate to the crime) . . . Make sure justice is done.
- Consider taking some courses
or instruction on self-defense. Besides preparing you in the
event you would ever have to defend yourself, it keeps you
in physical shape.
- Have something with you to
scare off or use against an attacker: Whistle . . . the
whistle has been proven very effective in many areas; it
scares off the criminal and alerts other people.
- If you carry any object such
as a knife, gun, razor blade or some other such object
designed to inflict bodily harm on another, it is illegal.
You can apply for a gun permit but we caution you against
carrying any of these objects with you unless legally
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For more information, contact the Office of
State Senator Vincent J. Fumo.
|1208 Tasker Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19148
|2637 East Clearfield Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19134
|Senate Box 203001|
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
|Copyright © 1996 by State Senator Vincent J. Fumo. Copyright is not claimed as to part of the original work prepared by an employee of the Senate of Pennsylvania, or Commonwealth governmental officer or employee as part of that person's official duties. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be copied, downloaded, stored, disseminated, transferred, or used, in any forms or by an means, except with State Senator Vincent J. Fumo's prior written permission.|