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Personal Safety

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A murder occurs in the United States every 34 minutes, a rape every 5 minutes, a robbery every 58 seconds, and an aggravated assault every 35 seconds. Because of devastating crimes, it is important for everyone to protect himself or herself.

Do Not Be Tricked By Appearances

Remember, not every criminal looks like a psychopath with crazed eyes. In fact, most victims know their assailant. Serial killers are often attractive, charming people.

Use The Buddy System

There is strength in numbers. Never walk or drive alone if possible, especially at night. Numbers discourage criminals because their goals become harder to achieve.

Vary Your Schedule

Many criminals stalk their victims before striking. In order to avoid a dangerous, "predictable" pattern, change your schedule often or vary your route whenever possible.

Be Accountable

Find someone with whom you can be accountable. For instance, if you must walk alone, call someone and tell him or her where you are going, and what time you will return. Plan to call them when you arrive or return. If you are late, your contact person can call the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-719-4412 and advise them of the situation.

Do Not Advertise Your Belongings

Use common sense. Avoid the obvious. Carry your money in an inner coat pocket, or fanny pack. If you use a purse, carry a shoulder bag held close to your body or worn inside your coat.

Never Agree To Pull Over

Unless a law enforcement officer is in a marked car; never agree to pull off the road. Many criminals obtain victims by indicating their car or the victim's car is having problems.

Take Care Of Your Car

Never leave your keys in the car. Always lock doors and keep valuables out of view. To avoid car problems, keep your car in good working order. Consider purchasing an emergency roadside kit, a cellular phone or CB radio. If you must pull over, light flares and put up emergency triangles. Lock yourself in the car and wait for assistance.

For more information about how to form a watch group, or information about existing groups in your area, contact the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Division at 843-719-4713.