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BY VICTORIA MORTON -- SCRIPPS HOWARD FOUNDATION WIRE, WASHINGTON, D.C.

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE SAFETY OF YOUR FAMILY? DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT PRECAUTIONS CAN BE TAKEN TO HELP KEEP YOU FROM BEING THE VICTIM OF A ROBBER OR ATTACKER?

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FROM CERTIFIED PROTECTION PROFESSIONAL CRAIG LAWRENCE. HE IS THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AT UNITED RISK PARTNERS, A GLOBAL RISK MANAGEMENT FIRM HEADQUARTERED IN ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL.

SET ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY UP WITH EASY, ACCESSIBLE COMMUNICATION SUCH AS MOBILE PHONES.
KNOW YOUR TRAVEL ROUTES, AS WELL AS ALTERNATE ROUTES TO AVOID GETTING LOST OR ENDING UP IN UNFAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS.
ALWAYS CARRY PEPPER SPRAY ON YOU AND IN YOUR VEHICLE. IN ORDER FOR THIS TO BE EFFECTIVE, TRAINING EXPERTISE, ADVICE AND COUNSEL IS REQUIRED.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION IN GOOD WORKING ORDER. ALWAYS CARRY PHOTO IDENTIFICATION, AS WELL AS ANY MEDICAL ID TAGS.
STAY OUT OF POORLY LIT, DESOLATED AND/OR UNSAFE AREAS. DON'T ENGAGE IN UNSAFE OR ILLICIT BEHAVIOR.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU AT ALL TIMES. IF YOU SUSPECT THAT SOMEONE IS WATCHING YOU OR FOLLOWING YOU, DON'T IGNORE THEM. MAKE EYE CONTACT AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY ARE DOING. TRY NOT TO DO TWO OR THREE THINGS AT ONCE, WHICH OCCUPY YOUR HANDS AND YOUR SENSES. IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION, DON'T START TALKING ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE UNLESS IT IS WITH THE POLICE. KEEP YOUR HANDS FREE.
DON'T LET PEOPLE INVADE YOUR PERSONAL SPACE OR GET TOO CLOSE TO YOU. IF A STRANGER ON THE STREET ENGAGES YOU, SUCH AS ASKING THE TIME OR ASKING FOR SPARE CHANGE, DON'T BE AFRAID OF INSULTING THEM BY BACKING UP OR REPOSITIONING YOURSELF TO MAINTAIN YOUR DISTANCE. MANY TIMES WOULD-BE ROBBERS OR RAPISTS WILL PURPOSELY INVADE YOUR PERSONAL SPACE TO TEST YOUR REACTION. IF YOU DO NOT REACT, YOU GIVE THEM THE GREEN LIGHT TO MOVE FORWARD, POTENTIALLY ONTO A MUCH MORE PERSONAL TYPE OF INVASION.
ALWAYS CARRY A ROLL OF CASH (A BUNCH OF SINGLES ROLLED UP WITH A $20 BILL ON THE OUTSIDE) SEPARATE FROM YOUR PURSE OR WALLET. IN CASE OF A ROBBERY, YOU CAN GIVE OR THROW THIS CASH ROLL AT THE ROBBERS, WHICH IS SEPARATE FROM YOUR ID CARDS. IF A ROBBER HAS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GOING AFTER YOU OR GOING AFTER CASH, MOST TIMES THEY WILL CHOOSE THE CASH. THIS CAN GIVE YOU THE OPENING YOU NEED TO ESCAPE.
KEEP CAR KEYS ON A SEPARATE KEY RING FROM HOUSE KEYS. IF YOU ARE CARJACKED, YOU CAN GIVE THE CARJACKERS YOUR CAR KEYS WITHOUT HAVING TO GIVE THEM THE KEYS TO YOUR HOUSE. IN ADDITION, IF YOU GIVE YOUR CAR KEYS TO SOMEONE FOR ANY REASON, (VALET, MECHANIC, PARKING GARAGE) BY HAVING YOUR HOUSE KEYS ON A SEPARATE RING IT WILL ELIMINATE THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE COPIES, WHICH COULD BE USED TO BURGLARIZE YOUR HOUSE AT A LATER DATE.
TRY TO NOT TO STORE DOCUMENTS IN YOUR CAR THAT CONTAIN YOUR HOME ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER, SUCH AS RECEIPTS, TRAFFIC TICKETS OR SALES TICKETS. THIS WOULD PROVIDE THIEVES OR CARJACKERS WITH PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU, AND HOW TO FIND YOU AND/OR YOUR FAMILY.