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As Does Everyone, Disabled People Need to Think About How to Prevent and Handle Crime

November 13, 2000

Disabled persons face many physical challenges. This could make them vulnerable to would-be assailants who assume the disabled are incapable of protecting themselves. If you are a disabled person, or know someone who is, the following information may be helpful. Take your time to read and remember these tips. You may be able to prevent yourself or a friend from becoming a victim of a crime:

General Crime Prevention Tips

* Know and avoid situations and locations that could invite crime, i.e., dark alleys, unlit parking lots, etc.

* Decide what you plan to do if confronted: Some cases may call for showing confidence, others for screaming.

* Consider your options and practice your responses often so that you can recall them in a real situation.

Home Security Tips

* Consider having a peephole installed in your door. Make sure you have the proper locks on doors and windows and use them while at home as well as when you are out.

* Never open the door for a stranger. Always demand verification of the stranger's identity and the purpose of the visit.

* Never tell a stranger calling by phone that you are alone or that you are disabled.

* Plan an avenue of escape from each room in your residence in case of a break-in or a disaster.

Consumer Protection Tips

* Always ask for identification from all solicitors and call their agency for verification.

* Don't commit yourself to purchases or charitable donations over the phone. Ask the caller to mail the information to you so you can make an informed decision. If you are not familiar with the company or organization, consult the State Department of Consumer Affairs or the Better Business Bureau.

* Be sure to read and understand all contracts before you sign them. If your sight is impaired, have someone you trust read the entire document to you.

* Beware of anyone who is offering products or services as a "once in a lifetime" offer.

* Consider having your checks mailed directly to your bank to avoid mail theft or robbery.

On Public Transportation

* Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers.

* 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.

Source: Los Angeles Police Department

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