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Disability and Personal Safety - Decreasing Possibility You Will be Affected by Crime

  • Published: 2011-10-20 (Revised/Updated 2013-08-01) : Wendy Taormina-Weiss.
  • Synopsis: Following these steps for personal safety can decrease the possibility that you will be affected by crime.

Main Document

Quote: "Family members, friends, and other people you can trust are people you can include in a support network."

The horrific story of the people with disabilities who were held captive while their captors stole their Social Security checks has brought to my attention how very necessary it is to understand personal safety issues.

The people who were held against their will were chained to a boiler with nothing but a bucket for a toilet. While they are now free again, the trauma they have experienced comprises another disability in their lives - a disability that might have been prevented.

Being aware that you might be affected by crime in the future is a beginning to prevention. There are steps that you can take to decrease the potential that you will be affected by crime. Your local police department usually has the ability to provide you with services that can minimize your level of vulnerability to crime. Most police departments have community representatives who will visit your home and inspect it, determining any areas of weakness such as bushes near windows or doors, locks that need to be replaced, outdoor lighting issues, permanent identification tags on your personal items, or installation of a peep hole in your doors.

Criminals, whether they have a misdemeanor or a felony crime planned in their minds, are cowards at heart. They will pick the easiest targets they can and unfortunately these criminal opportunists with no compassion whatsoever will choose people with disabilities as a target for their crimes. Be aware of this fact - take extra precautions and be careful. Common sense can reduce your risk of being affected by crime, but there are additional things you need to consider as a person with disabilities.

Be very realistic about your abilities. Avoid situations or places that might put you at risk such as dark places, parking lots, streets that are not brightly lit, or places that do not have an escape route you personally can use. Understand that the disability you experience might require you to be extra cautious. For example, if you have a hearing, mobility, or vision disability - you need to be more aware of your surroundings when you are in public. It may be wise to have a safety device or a cell phone with you in case of an emergency.

It is important that you know your own neighborhood very well. Take the time to look for escape routes, stores, and accessible telephones in the areas where you live and work. Make sure you know where the fire and police departments are located.

The doors in your home should have peepholes installed in them, peepholes that are at your personal eye level. If you use a wheelchair, the peepholes need to be at your level. If you have difficulty speaking or cannot speak, have a family member or a friend record or write a message for you to use in case of an emergency. The message should include your name and address, as well as the form of disability you experience. You can carry the written message with you and keep the recorded message at home, near a telephone.

Family members, friends, and other people you can trust are people you can include in a support network. It is important to have a support network; it makes it safer for you. When you go out at night, go in a group, not alone. Let people in your support network know where you are going and when you are going to be back. Take the time to get to know your neighbors and look out for each other.

Following these steps for personal safety can decrease the possibility that you will be affected by crime. It is unfortunate that there are people in the world today that would actually choose to pursue crimes against people with disabilities - but it is a reality we have to live with. Take care of each other, watch out for one another.

Fourth arrest made in Philly basement captives case - www.cnn.com/2011/10/19/justice/pennsylvania-disabled-chained/index.htmlhpt=hp_t2

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