Crime Prevention for People With Physical Disabilities
Disabled persons face many physical Challenges. This could make them vulnerable to would-be assailants who assume the disabled are incapable of protecting themselves.
Look Out For Yourself
- Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office/campus building or shopping mall, driving, or waiting for a bus.
- Send the message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.
- Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that may put you at risk.
- Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of Public Safety, Pocatello Police and Fire Stations, public telephones, ISU's Blue Light Emergency Phones, hospitals, restaurants, stores, Safe Place locations that are open and accessible.
- Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.
- Put good locks on all your doors. Sturdy deadbolt locks are best. Make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
- Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.
- Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a frontline defense against crime.
- If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address, and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
- Ask your police department to conduct a free home security survey to help identify your individual needs.
Out And About
- If possible, go out and about with a friend.
- Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots or alleys.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling from straps. Put your wallet in an inside coat pocket or your front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
- If you use a backpack, make sure it is securely closed.
- Always carry your medical information with you, in case of an emergency.
- Consider installing a cellular phone or CB radio in your vehicle.
Before You Go On Vacation
- Plan ahead. If you are traveling by car, get maps and plan your route. Have the car checked before you leave.
- Leave copies of the numbers of your passport, driver's license, credit cards, and traveler's checks with a close friend or relative in case you need to replace these papers.
- Put lights and a radio/tv on times to create the illusion that someone is at home while you are away. Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions. Stop mail, newspapers and other deliveries or ask a neighbor to take them in.
On Public Transportation
- Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers. Sit by the driver.
- Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream!
- If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the emergency signal on the bus or train.
Don'T Let A Con Artist Rip You Off
Many con artists prey on people's desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To out-smart those con artists, remember these tips:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don't let greed or desperation overcome common sense.
- Get a second opinion.
- Be wary of high-pressure tactics, need for quick decisions, demands for cash only, or high yield low-risk investments.
Take A Stand!
- Join or help organize a Neighorhood Watch group (through PPD for off campus at 234-6100; or Public Safety for on campus at 282-2515) . Make sure the meetings are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Work with Public Safety and local law enforcement to improve responses to all victims or witnesses of crime. Role-play how people with disabilities can handle threatening situations.
- Work with rehabilitation centers and advocacy groups to offer a presentation to schools and other community organizations on the needs or concerns of individuals with disabilities.
- Take a self-defense class. Some classes (including Public Safety's Rape Aggression Defense class for women) will accommodate people with disabilities and help them discover ways the can defend themselves.