Awareness is first step in personal safety

Terrace RCMP report that a woman managed to escape after a man tried to grab her while she was alone on the 4800 block of Walsh Ave.

  • Apr. 21, 2016 7:00 a.m.

An incident last night involving a man attempting to grab a young woman has prompted Terrace RCMP to remind the public, specifically women, that personal safety is important.

“The man followed the woman for a bit then tried to grab her. She successfully ran away from the man and was uninjured in this assault,” says Const. Angela Rabut, Community Policing/Media Relations Terrace RCMP.

The incident happened while the woman was walking alone in the 4800 block of Walsh Ave. The man is described as tall and dressed in all black clothing with a hood on.

The following points are eight things that everyone should know about personal safety:

1. Awareness: Your first line of defense. Most people think of kicks to the groin and blocking punches when they hear the term self-defence. However, true self-defence begins long before any actual physical contact. The first, and probably most important, component in self-defence is awareness: awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and a potential attacker’s likely strategies. Often, a criminal’s strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Studies have shown that criminals are adept at choosing targets that appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. By being aware of your surroundings and by projecting a force presence, many altercations which are commonplace on the street can be avoided.

2. Use your sixth sense. Gut instinct. Your intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people. All of us, especially women, have this gift, but very few of us pay attention to it. Avoid a person or a situation which does not feel safe–you’re probably right.

3. Self-defense training. It is important to evaluate the goals and practical usefulness of a self-defence program before signing up. The self-defence program should include simulated assaults, with a fully padded instructor in realistic attack scenarios, to allow you to practice what you’ve learned.

4. Escape: What if you are suddenly confronted by a predator who demands that you go with him – be it in a car, or into an alley, or a building. It would seem prudent to obey, but you must never leave the primary crime scene. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the attacker than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you). Run away, yell for help, throw a rock through a store or car window – do whatever you can to attract attention. And if the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.

5. Your right to fight. Unfortunately, no matter how diligently we practice awareness and avoidance techniques, we may find ourselves in a physical confrontation. Whether or not you have self-defence training, and no matter what your age or physical condition, it is important to understand that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself physically. You have both the moral and legal right to do so. Many people worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back. Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Use the element of surprise to your advantage–strike quickly, and mean business. You may only get one chance.

6. Home invasions: The primary way to prevent a home invasion is simply to never, ever open your door unless you either are certain you know who’s on the other side or can verify that they have a legitimate reason for being there (dressing up as a repair (service) person is one trick criminals use). In the event that an intruder breaks in while you’re home, you should have a safe room in your house to which you can retreat. Such a room should be equipped with a strong door, deadbolt lock, phone, and perhaps fire extinguisher.

7. Avoiding a car-jacking. Lock all doors and keep windows up when driving. Most car-jackings take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45-degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver’s seat or jump in the passenger’s seat.

8. Safety in cyberspace. Although the Internet is educational and entertaining, it can also be full of danger if one isn’t careful. When communicating online, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone number confidential. Instruct family members to do the same.

If you have information about this crime, contact the Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers by telephone at 1-800-222-TIPS, online at www.terracecrimestoppers.ca or by texting TERRACE plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

If your information leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

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