All of us at OFMD hope you have a safe and secure holiday season. In that spirit, Protective Services offers the following personal safety and crime avoidance strategies.
On weekends and holidays, your chances of being involved in a motor vehicle collision with an impaired driver increase markedly. Since we often cannot distinguish impaired drivers from sober ones (until it is too late), please consider the following tips.
When possible, stay off the roads late at night and particularly during the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m., when bars close and parties end. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that about 55 percent of alcohol-related collisions occur during this three-hour window.
If you must be on the roads late at night, remain vigilant, particularly at intersections. Drive cautiously and defensively. Assume your fellow motorists are impaired and anticipate the worst from them.
Avoid two-lane highways late at night. These routes offer a scant margin of error for impaired drivers. Resultant crossover accidents are difficult to avoid and frequently fatal.
Keep to the far right lane when possible, even on divided highways. Doing so will minimize your risk of crossover accidents and of being struck head-on by wrong-way drivers.
Security at the Mall
If you must go out for some last-minute holiday shopping, go during daylight hours and/or with others. Pay close attention to your surroundings. Do you see suspicious persons loitering in the area? If so, drive on. Park in well-lit, well-traveled areas. Request a security escort from the store to your vehicle. Retrieve your keys while you are still in the store to avoid fumbling for them when you reach your vehicle. Keep bags and purses close to your body. When you reach your vehicle, get in, start it, and be on your way. Sitting in a parked vehicle makes you an attractive target for carjackers.
Of course, if someone approaches you and demands your belongings or your vehicle, comply. Try to remain calm. Make slow, deliberate movements while describing your actions… “I am reaching for my wallet.” Do nothing that might be interpreted as an act of aggression. Be a good witness… What does the robber look like? What clothing is he wearing?
“Smash and grab” artists are busy this time of year. Whether you are parked on campus, at the mall, or at your residence, leave no items of value in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. Bring packages inside with you or secure them in the trunk of your car or under a cargo cover in the rear compartment of your SUV.
If you have any questions about personal safety or crime prevention, please contact Steve Manley, Assistant Director, Protective Services, at 314-362-0381 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.