THIS INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE CRIME PREVENTION UNIT OF THE FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
A GUIDE TO PERSONAL SAFETY
Prepared and distributed in the public interest by the Fairfax County Police Department
The Fairfax County Police Department is accredited by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.
Here are some important points to remember in order to avoid becoming a victim of a crime:
Be aware of what is happening around you. You are more likely to become a victim if you aren't paying attention to your surroundings.
Always trust your first instincts. When you observe suspicious people or events do not override your feelings. Instead react to them.
Have an air of confidence about yourself. Gain the psychological advantage over would-be attackers. Keep your head up and know where you are going. The bad guy is looking for the opportunity to commit a crime. Don't provide the opportunity.
Try to avoid putting yourself into dangerous situations such as elevators, parking lots and parking garages when suspicious persons are present.
Safety in numbers: Whenever possible be with other people, while shopping, at work, etc. Have a plan of action. Training is very important, so why not train yourself with "what if" questions?
Always lock your car doors.
Park in well lit areas.
Check interior of vehicle before getting in.
Have keys in hand before you get to your vehicle.
Do not stop to help a stranded motorist unless it is an emergency. Call the police and notify them of the stranded motorist.
If you feel you are being followed, drive to a police station or other place where people will be. Do not panic, keep your cool and obtain full information on the vehicle and a description of its occupant(s).
Never leave any of your household, business or other keys with your car when it is in for repair.
While Walking Outside:
Do not carry large amount of money. Avoid carrying a purse whenever possible. If you carry a purse hold it firmly in front of you.
If approached by a car and you perceive a threat, reverse direction and watch the car's occupants.
Whenever possible stay away from less populated areas such as alley ways, wooded areas, pathways, etc.
Always let a family member know where you are, where you are going, and when you are returning.
Display only passive resistance when confronted.
Lock windows and doors as much as possible both when you are at home or away.
Install a peep hole in your door or use a window to see who is at your door before opening it. Never open your door to someone you do not know.
What do you do if someone gets into your house during the night while you are sleeping? Plan ahead; it's not possible to prepare you for every situation. Make a plan and then stick to it.
Rape Prevention and Quick Facts:
Three out of five rapes occur in the victim's own home.
Rape is not a crime of sexual gratification. A rapist puts the victim in the position of helplessness.
The rapist's goal is to degrade or humiliate the victim, usually not to kill. This is why passive resistance is urged.
Six out of ten rapes occur when the victim knows the attacker. Date rape is an example of this.
Most rapists commit this crime repeatedly.
If a woman uses drugs or alcohol she is increasing her risk of attack.
If someone stops by your home or telephones, never admit that you are home alone or that you live alone.
Reporting of this crime is essential. It is estimated that nationwide only one in twelve rapes is actually reported.
OTHER AREAS TO EXERCISE CAUTION:
Workplace violence: Violence in the workplace is a more recent area of concern. Most workplace ads of crime involve larcenies of purses, computers, cash, etc. To prevent the opportunity for workplace violence always offer to help someone you do not recognize. Do not allow people you do not know to wander about your workplace.
Never challenge strangers but do offer to help them. Plan ahead. If working late stay with other colleagues, park together and leave together.
Do not circumvent existing policy or security measures for convenience.
ATM Machines: Use ATMs that are used often. Go where other people are such as convenience stores at night time. Pay attention to those ATMs that are monitored by cameras and visible to passers by.
Jogging: Do not use headphones or radios which take away your ability to hear what is around you. Jog with a partner. Select where you jog carefully.
TEN SECONDS TO LIVE BY
Fairfax County is the safest comparable suburban county in the country in the over 500,000 population category. But how do you keep yourself safe? How do we keep our community safe? Ten seconds! That's all it takes.
If at every natural transition point (from differing public areas, going from public to semi-public to semi private apace, etc.) you spend just two seconds, you will be much safer. Use two seconds to look around and observe your surroundings. It has been said you should stop to smell the roses. You may just notice a few thorns!
In the real world the "ten second rule" works this way. Before leaving the store; STOP. Look around. Who is watching you? Do you have all your possessions? Two seconds used. After you leave the store and get to the curb, STOP. Take as few packages as possible (none would be best). Look around. Is it safe to step off the curb? Is anyone watching you? Four seconds have been used Step off the curb and walk to your car. About thirty feet from your car, STOP. Look around and behind. Is anyone approaching? You still have room and time to make a decision. Your choices are fewer the deeper you get into the parking lot or the nearer you get to your car. Six seconds have been used. When you get to your car; STOP. With the keys you wisely put into your hand before you left the store, unlock and open your door.
Look in the car. Look around and behind you. Get into the car and lock all the doors. Eight seconds have been used. Before you back out of the space (given the choice, please back into the space, it reduces accidents), STOP to look around. Make sure no one is behind your car and no one is running up to your door. Ten seconds of your precious day has been wasted. But not really wasted. Used wisely, instead.
After devoting those ten seconds are much safer than you could ever be if all you did was purchase a chemical deterrent such as Mace or pepper spray or attend a self defense course.
The link below can be used to access weekly updated crime reports and arrest listings:
Fairfax County Police Department
S.A.F.E. Women's Self Defense Program
Sexual Assault Free & Empowered (S.A.F.E.) is a free women's self defense program offered by the Fairfax County Police Department. S.A.F.E. is dedicated to empowering women with knowledge to reduce the occurrence of sexual assault crimes. The program provides effective options by teaching women to take an active role in their own self defense and psychological well-being.
S.A.F.E. is a comprehensive course that begins with classroom instruction in risk awareness, risk reduction, crime prevention strategies, and defensive concepts followed by hands-on training in physical defense techniques. S.A.F.E. is not a martial arts program. Physical defense techniques that are easily learned, applied, and retained for all age and skill levels are taught. Students have the opportunity to test their new self defense skills in a simulated and controlled, yet realistic, environment. The courses are taught by certified S.A.F.E. instructors and include a take home-reference manual.
S.A.F.E. is offered to women 12 years of age and older. A female guardian must accompany females between the ages of 12 and 18. We have had the pleasure of training several senior citizens, the oldest being seventy-two. Survivors of sexual assault may take the course to help overcome fears and learn to regain control of their lives. As many students have stated "This program is a wise investment of your time."
Consider These Statistics:
- 90% of self defense is in the prevention of an attack;
- 90% of crime is opportunistic;
- Acts of violence occur every 15 seconds in the United States;
- Six million American women are beaten each year by their husbands or boyfriends and four thousand of those women are killed.
No men other than S.A.F.E. instructors are permitted to be present during a class. Children, husbands, and boyfriends are not allowed to attend or observe the program.
Many women want to take part in this type of training, but are concerned about the physical aspects of the course. The instructors take into consideration age and physical condition, promoting the safety of all participants. While no one can give you a 100% guarantee that injury will not occur, consider the following:
- To prepare for a possible assault, the training must be as realistic as possible.
- It's better to learn your limits and abilities in a controlled environment instead of in an actual assault.
The classes are offered once a month over a two-week period on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Classes are free of charge, but involve a commitment to attend four 3-hour sessions. The classes are currently held at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy located in Chantilly, Virginia.
Contact information: 703-246-7806
Fairfax County Police District Stations
Fair Oaks District Station
12300 Lee-Jackson Highway
Fairfax , Virginia 22033
Franconia District Station
6121 Franconia Road
Franconia , Virginia 22310
Mason District Station
6507 Columbia Pike
Annandale , Virginia 22003
McLean District Station
1437 Balls Hill Road
McLean , Virginia 22101
Mount Vernon District Station
2511 Parkers Lane
Alexandria , Virginia 22306
Reston District Station
12000 Bowman Towne Drive
Reston , Virginia 20190
Sully District Station
4900 Stonecroft Blvd
Chantilly , VA 20151
West Springfield District Station
6140 Rolling Road
Springfield , Virginia 22152
Note: This brochure was converted to web format from a word processor document with the permission of the police department. In the interest of speed, some graphics were lost in the conversion.
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