CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Protecting your family is something that everyone is committed to every single day.
NBC Charlotte took a look at some of the most common ways we put ourselves at risk — from walking to the car, at the store, even on the road, and share a little guidance from a team of safety experts.
Let’s start with what sounds simple. Walking.
Keep in mind, preventing a crime often starts with paying attention. Look directly at people as they approach or pass you. Criminals don’t want to be recognized. If they think you can give their description, they just might keep walking.
In a parking lot, this is especially important, as being distracted could make you a target for a carjacking. Safety expert Karen Fisher, from Carolina Protection Services, shared her technique for the safest way to walk.
It’s called “swivel head.”
“Swivel head is my term that I use when I walk into a parking lot,” Fisher said. “I basically swivel my head from left to right as far as I can go. Even looking beyond my shoulder each way.”
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael said how women carry their purses is equally important.
“Purses with straps, what’s the best way to carry it?” Carmichael asked while giving a demonstration. “Take the strap, drape it over your shoulders. Drape it toward the front. Some of you say, ‘no, I disagree.’ You take the strap, you drape it over your neck.
“The criminals say when they come up and grab that purse, that strap, what’s it going to do? It’s going to choke you.”
Remember: Carry your purse or bag over one shoulder with the purse in front of you. That’s the safest way.
If you have to run some errands, the safest time to go is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when places are less crowded and there’s less traffic on the road.
Getting gas is one of those errands you likely do every week. Do you know which pump is the safest to use?
“The one where the cashier can see you from their window,” said safety expert Dan Starks.
When it comes to your safety on the road, the backseat is safer than the front, with the middle seat being the safest. Research also shows that the left lane, yes, the left lane, is the safest to drive in.
As for where you park, get as close to the front of your destination as possible. Park in well-lit areas and don’t park next to big trucks or bushes that might give criminals a place to hide.
When it comes to traveling by plane, statistics show that the middle seats in the rear of the aircraft are the safest to sit in. Historically, those seats have the highest survival rates in the event of a crash.
Next, if you’re booking a hotel room, experts recommend rooms between the third and sixth floors. They’re high enough to deter a quick getaway but easy enough for fire trucks to access.
And finally, what’s the safest ATM to use?
“ATMs inside banks are less likely to be tampered with by scammers,” Starks said. “They are also well-lit and typically monitored with security cameras.”