THERE IS MORE TO PEDESTRIAN SAFETY THAN WATCHING OUT FOR MOTOR VEHICLES
The Chief of Police recently had a discussion with a resident who was accosted by several male suspects while walking home from the METRO station in Cheverly. The resident had described how the suspects anticipated his forward movement and then converged on him quickly with the intent to commit a crime. The chief recognized this ploy as a typical robbery scenario (multiple suspects, lone victim) and provided the victim with a number of common sense tips designed to reduce such victimization. All of these tips call for the pedestrian to FOCUS:
Find a friend to walk with. Street robbers seek to take advantage of opportunities and target individuals walking alone. Always try to walk with others or in close proximity to others and always try to stay within well lighted areas. If possible, carry a flashlight at night, keep jewelry and other valuables hidden, and always keep a cellular telephone available.
Observe what is happening around you. Street robbers tend to watch their intended victim for a short while and intercept him/her along a path the victim is currently following. Be observant of people loitering ahead or for occupied vehicles waiting by the roadside. If you see something suspicious, reverse your course or immediately go to the nearest house and seek assistance from the resident.
Carefully note details. If you are accosted by a stranger or a suspected robber, pay close attention to the person’s facial features, clothing, a weapon (if displayed), and any conversation that the person has with you. Most importantly, note any vehicle that may be involved and the direction of travel of that fleeing vehicle.
Use common sense. Assume that any gun or other weapon a robber(s) displays or infers is real and do not attempt to disarm them. Additionally, do not use physical force, any pepper spray or chemical agent, or any other potential weapon unless you have no other alternative. Money, valuables, credit cards, and other identification can easily be replaced, you cannot. Remember, life has no reset button.
Safety, especially your safety, is the primary concern. As soon as you are no longer in danger, immediately contact the police by cellular telephone or a nearby home/business. Do not wait until you get home to call the police. Give police communications as accurate a description of the suspect and suspect vehicle as possible, notify them immediately if you are injured in any way, and stay on the scene until the arrival of a police officer or detective. Do not try to follow the suspect(s) or attempt to detain them by yourself.