Recently, the Minneapolis Police Department has seen an increase in robberies and specifically home invasions. Two or more suspects are following victims by car, to their home and robbing them. These suspects are reported to be armed and some victims have been physically assaulted. Here are some tips to stay safe.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look at who and what is around you and take note of anyone following you closely, especially while driving home.
- Always keep your doors locked, even while you are home.
- Be aware of what’s happening to others around you and call 911 if you see signs that someone is being threatened or assaulted. Try to pass along any license plate information as well as vehicle and suspect descriptions so responding officers know who or what they are looking for.
- Never leave your car running while unattended and never leave a key inside a parked vehicle.
- Keep some distance between yourself and a stranger who approaches you. Staying more than arm’s length away means someone can’t grab your bag or you, as easily.
- Be alert if someone approaches you to ask a question or directions. This may be a trick to get close to you.
- Don’t give your cell phone to anyone who approaches asking if they can use it to make a call. This is a commonly used to get control of the phone by a thief who promptly runs off with it.
- Don’t carry more documents, credit cards or valuables with you than what you need. The loss of a social security card, birth certificate or passport can create more identity theft complications later.
- Consider the usefulness of self-defense tools or weapons carefully before purchasing. To be effective, the tool or weapon must be at hand at the moment needed (not in a bag, under the car seat or in the glove compartment) and you have to know how to use it properly. Seek reputable advice and be prepared to practice.
- Always have your mobile phone handy – and charged.
- Have your license plate memorized. This can help in a fast recovery and arrest.
- Avoid being alone in your vehicle in certain areas, such as high crime neighborhoods, isolated roads and intersections and desolate areas of parking lots.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay special attention to people who seem to be lurking or cars that suspiciously follow you into driveways. Call 911 and use your key fob or other car alarm if you feel a threat.
- Be wary of how carjackers lure victims. These include bumping your car, pretending to be stranded motorists or flashing their lights as if there were something wrong with your car. In each of these scenarios, you might be tempted to pull over—only to have your car taken. Stay inside with the windows shut and the door locked and, if you feel a threat, drive to the nearest police or fire station.
- Practice safe parking. Stick to well-lit areas. If you have any doubts about where you parked after the fact, find a security guard to accompany you to your vehicle.
- Don’t sit in your car with the door unlocked or the windows rolled down.
- Keep your distance between the car in front of you so that you can drive around it if needed to get away fast.