Cop Offers Advice on Safety

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Kohlbrenner, Staff writer

Lock your doors. Wear a small purse. Avoid drive-up automated teller machines. Don't get out of your car if it breaks down. And above all, don't be shy about protecting yourself from harm.

Those were just a few of the tips doled out Tuesday during a personal safety workshop at the Extension Learning Center on North McDuff Avenue, held by the Duval County Cooperative Extension Office and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

During the free session, titled "How to Avoid Being a Victim of Crime," sheriff's office crime prevention officer Peter Knox gave advice on safety at home, while shopping, while banking and with children.

He started off with some common-sense tips such as locking all doors and windows.

But he also suggested less obvious hints, such as not giving too much information on your telephone answering machine message and keeping garage doors closed.

He added that if an intruder enters your home, get out of harm's way.

"If something does happen . . . I don't want you to feel bashful, because if you can't remove the cause of the problem, the next most likely thing to do is remove yourself."

When not at home, Knox suggested people know their surroundings and watch how they hold their belongings.

He demonstrated the proper way to carry a purse when shopping and suggested always wearing it on the right shoulder and walking "like you drive" -- on the right side -- so your bag is between you and the storefronts. He said this makes your bag a "smaller target."

"In reality, we rather you not carry a bag, or use a fanny pack," Knox said. If you have to carry a purse, he added, carry something small. He said criminals think the bigger the handbag, the more money may be inside.

The 30 women who attended the program took home safety information. Many called it an excellent presentation.

"I enjoyed it, and I like the way he had the audience participate in things," said Sara Sanderson of Arlington. "He updated us on [security] things we should be doing," such as not tying a handkerchief on the outside of your car if it stalls.

Jackie Rutledge, also of Arlington, said she thought the session was informative. …