Safety Tips

Situational Awareness

       Unfortunately, the LGBT community and more specifically the transgender community is subjected to more violence and murders than the general population due to ignorance, intolerance and hatred of our group by close minded individuals in our society. Due to this fact, it is up to us as individuals to keep ourselves safe from these very real threats that exist throughout society. Much of this safety can be gained by awareness….. firstly of the threats posed, then what steps we can take to minimize these threats to our existence. Many of these steps are simply a matter of paying attention to what is going on around you and adjust your plans accordingly. One potential scenarios is written below. Take a few minutes and go through this scenario for yourself, imagine that you are actually in this scenario. Answer the questions, then go through the potential answer scenarios and see what possible steps you could have taken. Then read on as there are many common sense ideas and suggestions that could potentially save you from real life bad scenario’s!

     The Scenario: It is wintertime and very chilly outside. You are meeting friends for an evening dinner at a nice restaurant with a large fenced in parking lot across the street in which you park your car. The lot is full and you spot a car leaving so you are taking that spot. While the lot has some lights, where you have to park it is dark and back in a corner of the lot. You get out of the car and as you are heading towards the restaurant in the lot, you notice a group of about 5 men all standing near a vehicle, they spot you and begin staring….the tall one whispers something to the group and they start towards you in a threatening manner. As they get nearer to you the tall one starts making fun of your appearance and calling you a f***** f**got while the others chime in with other derogatory remarks as well. You are still in the dark area of the lot and they now spread out and cut off your path forward! What are you going to do now? What can you do? Take a moment and jot down what you might do at that exact moment. Now jot down some actions that if done beforehand would have prevented you from being in this exact situation.

     What were your answers to the exact moment of this altercation:

Ignore the group and try to walk through – this may or may not work, either way it will be a scary scenario to have to endure and it may only reinforce their mob mentality

Negotiation – more than likely if this group has already moved to this point, either they have done this before or the mob mentality has set in, either way it may not  turn out well for you

Prepare to fight – more than likely not a good choice, no matter your size or defense skills you are outnumbered

Scream Out – a viable alternative but because of the chilly weather there may not be any or very many people outside to hear you scream

Turn and run – this is a viable alternative, but not very effective if you happen to be in heels and you are wearing heavy clothing on because of the weather

            As you can see there really aren’t any good alternatives at this point. Now let us examine the “what if” you had planned beforehand or employed a good safety strategy in advance:

Meet others in the parking lot – there would have been an advantage to this depending on how many you were meeting but still might have turned out bad

Called ahead for a friend or friends to come out and meet you – this might have worked too depending on who this person was…could still have been a bad outcome

Scan the lot as you enter to see who is there – had you noticed this group as you were going into the lot you certainly could have called for someone to meet you or wait in your car with it running and watch the group to see if they are moving to get into vehicles and leave, since it was chilly they probably are not going to stay outside long…or maybe better…. leave this lot and attempt to find somewhere else to park. Another alternative is if there is security at the restaurant have someone inside contact them and have them meet you in the lot. In any of these reactions….had you not left the car till you were sure it was safe you would have been better off safety wise.                                                                                                                            

     It is not only important that all LGBT everywhere be aware of their surroundings, but it is equally important to be prepared if this frightening situation comes your way. Here are 12 police tips on how to protect yourself from robbery or assault. Like my mother always told me, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”

12 Tips on How to Protect Yourself From Robbery or Assault

  1. If possible, don’t walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can. There is always more safety in numbers.

  2. Let a family member or friend know your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return. That way, the police can be notified as quickly as possible if there is a problem.

  3. Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas and other shortcuts or secluded areas. These are usually not well-lit or heavily traveled. Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.

  4. Walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to strangers.

  5. Avoid carrying large sums of cash,or displaying expensive jewelry, etc., in public. If you must carry large sums, divide the cash into smaller quantities and carry in multiple places on your person (wallet, purse, side pocket, etc.)

  6. If someone tries to rob you, REPORT THE CRIME TO THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY! Try to describe the attacker accurately – sex, race, age, hair and eye color, special features, clothes.

  7. Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.

  8. Don’t go home or to your hotel if you believe someone is following you. Instead, drive to a police station, fire station or a business with visible security personnel on duty.

  9. Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up, and ALWAYS have your car keys in hand when approaching your car.

  10. Before getting in the car, check the front and back seats to be sure no one is hiding inside.

  11. Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement. Don’t burden yourself with too many packages or items.

  12. Self-defense measures are most effective when applied as preventive steps. These measures include running away, hiding, screaming and raising an alarm. Remember, more people will respond to someone yelling “Fire” than they will to “Help!”

Burglary and Intruder Safety Tips

  • Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.

  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.

  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.

  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.

  • Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.

  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.

  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.

  • Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.

  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.

  • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.

Don’t Tempt a Thief:

  • Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight

  • Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.

  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”

Locks…Get the Best:

  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation.

  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.

  • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.

Targeting the Outside:

  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.

  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.

  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.


  • Most windows can be pinned for security.

  • Drill a 3/16″ hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame – place a nail in the hole to secure the window.


  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market.

  • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you.

  • If you have a home alarm system, use it!Activate your alarm system — Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them.

  • Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.

If Your Home Is Broken Into:

If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:

  • Do not enter – the perpetrator may still be inside.

  • Use a neighbor’s phone to call police.

  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.

  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.

  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.

Other precautions you should take:

  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys.

  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.

  • Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.

  • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  • Mark your valuables with your driver’s license number with an engraver you can borrow from your precinct. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.

  • Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.

  • Consider installing a burglar alarm system.

Car Burglaries

Tips on how to avoid car break-ins:

  • Do not leave valuables in plain view:

    (GPS devices, lap tops, PDA’s, cell phones, MP3’s, wallets, purses)

  • Do not leave windows or sunroof open.

  • Do not leave doors unlocked.

  • Do not leave keys in the vehicle.

  • Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.

  • Do not leave out items with personal information.

  • Do not move valuable items to the trunk while in public view.

  • Slow Down and use common sense before you leave your car.

Safe Dating Tips

  1.  Tell someone the 5W’S of your date:

    a) Always make sure that someone close to you, like your college roommate, knows WHOyou are going out with, WHAT you are doing, WHERE you are going, WHEN you will be home, and WHY you are going out with this person- is it an individual or group date or are you hanging out as “just friends”?

  2. b) For SAFETYS SAKE, have a time either for you to check in with your friend or for them to call or text you. If you use text to communicate, a simple code word system that you and your friend develop will work too. The example below works well. It is also best that if you move to another place for the date, for safety’s sake, keep your friend advised, so if things go bad for you they know your last location.

Stoplight Text Code System

            Text the word Green –  it’s all good

           Text the word  Yellow – be on standby

                Text the word Red – Send Help!

  1.  Fully charge your cell phone.

    A cell phone won’t work unless it is FULLYcharged.  Get into the habit of charging your cell phone when you are in your dorm room or apartment before you go out.  It is always wise to have a charged cell phone with you on a date, especially if you need to dial 911.  Cell phone videos or audio recordings can be used as powerful evidence when crimes are committed.

  2.  Drive yourself.

    If possible, drive yourself or meet your date wherever you are going.

    Better to be safe than sorry, especially if you really don’t know this new person.  If you drive yourself, then you have your own vehicle to come and go as you please.  You don’t have to rely on anyone else to get you back home safe & sound.

  3.  Always keep an eye on your drink!

    Always watch your drink being poured & handed to you – even if it is a nonalcoholic drink.  Never leave your drink unattended- bring it with you everywhere you go, even to the bathroom.  If your drink tastes funny, throw it away.  Date rape drugs can taste salty and have excessive foam or they can be colorless, odorless, and tasteless.  If you feel “weird” after having a drink, stop drinking it immediately, tell a friend, and dial 911 for an ambulance.  Better to be safe than sorry.

  4.  Know your alcohol limit.

    Always be in control of yourself on a date and know your alcohol limit.  It’s better not to drink alcohol at all, especially on a first date.  Don’t ever let someone pressure you into drinking more than you want to.  More often than not, people make choices they later regret under the influence of alcohol.

  5.  Never be afraid to say NO.

    Never be afraid to say NO, even if you have started something you don’t want to finish.  You are in charge of your body and you need to have boundaries.  If someone really likes you, whether you say no or not, will not determine the future of the relationship.  Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect.

  6.  You don’t owe anyone anything.

    Never feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do.  You never “owe” anyone anything, even if they buy you a present or pay for dinner.  You are in charge of yourself and your body.  Never let anyone make these decisions for you.  Your body is a temple and your sexuality is a special gift.  Don’t give it away to just anyone.

  7. Avoid isolated places on a date.

    Try to stay in a public place or around a group of people when you are on your date.  Never go into a room alone or a car alone- this is how women get raped.  There is safety and protection in numbers.

  8.  Be ready to avoid sexual pressure.

    Always have some good excuses to avoid sexual pressure.  Here are a few failsafe ones – “No, I don’t want to”, “I have my period”, “I’m waiting for marriage”, “It’s against my religion”, or in an extreme situation “I have a contagious STD”.

  9.  Learn how to defend yourself.

    Sign-up for a self-defense class to learn how to defend yourself when and if you ever need to.  The U.S. Dept of Justice reports that a woman is raped every 2 minutes in the United States.  20-25% of college women will experience attempted or completed rape during college according to the CDC.  Please don’t become a statistic.  Safe dating is smart dating!

           We hope that these suggestions help you feel and be safer in your home or when going out in public situations. Remember….it is up to you…your personal safety should be #1!!!

 Doc Created: 11/23/2015