Congratulations! You're in college. You're on a beautiful campus. You may be in a city for the first time. You may also be living on your own for the first time. It would be easy to believe that everything is perfect and that nothing can touch you. Don't be fooled. These people are criminals -- opportunists who seek out students like you. They assume you are wide-eyed and naive, with plenty of money in your pocket and not a care in the world. They assume you don't know any better. Let them know they are wrong. Just because there are lifeguards out there doesn't mean that you don't need to know how to swim. You have to take responsibility for your own personal safety. Be a tough target. I have spent more than a decade traveling all around the country talking about how common sense, awareness of your surroundings, and even having a big mouth can keep you from being the target of a crime. I talk about street smarts. I will be at the Palestra tomorrow night. (I have it on good authority that the sound system will be in good working order!) It's my second visit to Penn. The tough target strategies I'll be talking about follow four basic principles. Get your scissors. Cut these principles out and hang them in your room. Share them with your friends They could save your life. 1. Have a Plan A crime can happen to anyone anytime, anywhere. It can happen to you, so you've got to be prepared. You've got to have a plan. If you have a plan, you can adapt it to where you are and what you are doing: walking down the street, riding in an elevator, going to your car. Street smarts apply in every circumstance: · Pay attention to your surroundings. (Don't wear headphones while jogging!) · Look tough by carrying yourself confidently. It's not how tough you are but how tough you look. · Conceal your money by wearing your purse with the strap across your body or under your coat, or use a fanny pack. · Cross the street if you see someone acting suspiciously. · If it feels bad, trust your instincts and get out of the situation. 2. Do Not Get in the Car If someone tries to take you into a car or down an alley, do not go! Ever! Some of the worst crimes happen when criminals take their victims to a "secondary crime scene," a place other than where they were initially confronted. They take their victims in cars, and many of these people never come back. You cannot allow this to happen under any circumstances. Do not get in the car. Do not go down the alley. Just make a pact with yourself that you just won't do it. 3. Attract Attention If you are in trouble, or if you see someone else in trouble, yell "Fire!" The mention of a fire gets everyone's attention. And the last thing a criminal wants is to be the center of attention. So shout, scream, do whatever it takes to draw attention to the situation and get help. 4. Take Action The rules are simple: ·If you are confronted, give up your property. If someone demands your purse, your wallet, or even your coat, give it up and get away. Do not wait around for request No. 2! ·If fleeing is an option, it's always your best option. If the attack is physical, you have got to respond. You cannot let the criminal have control. There is a fifth principle, what I like to call the "Golden Rule" of safety: Help one another. If you see someone in trouble, do something. For the next four years, this is your home and you are family to one another. Do what any family does: take care of yourselves and take care of each other. I'll see you tomorrow night.Comments powered by Disqus
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