Dummy Wallet: Keep a "dummy" wallet, purchased from the dollar store, smaller and compact, on your person with at least $10 or even $20 worth of $1 bills inside the wallet. $1 bills make it appear to be more money on a quick glance. Place several business cards and a fake credit or insurance card, an AAA or fake AARP rubber card inside. Any of the spam credit cards that come in the mail will do. Those cards look like the "real thing", until you look very closely. Then, if approached, you throw down the dummy wallet, and run away in the opposite direction.
Don't resist: Women who have been a victim of robbery have reported to Officers on how they have resisted, or initially resisted, demands to give up their purse. The least confrontation, conversation and time spent in front of a would-be robber or assailant, the better. Throw the purse on the ground, don't talk, and run.
Don't take a lot with you: I teach women who walk alone, day or night, or when shopping, out with friends, etc., to not carry much of anything in their purse at all, and to never carry bills or any other personal information. Do not walk with headphones on. Never leave keys to your home or vehicle in a handbag or purse. Try not to have your driver’s license inside of a billfold or wallet. Don't carry a purse at all, when possible.
Rent a P.O. Box: Everyone should consider renting a PO Box to receive mail. Box number can also be used as an address for your, State Driver’s License instead of your actual home address. Never carry your U.S. Social Security Card with you, at any time
Tracking programs for computers and cellphones: We encourage citizens to purchase a tracker on their laptops and iPhones.
Pepper Spray: Carrying pepper spray or a concealed weapon with a permit is a personal decision, but having either inside a purse or backpack is discouraged, as time is a major factor on a face to face confrontation. Either can also be used on the victim. Consider taking a self-defense course to learn how to use these safely. If you do decide on pepper spray, make sure not to spray yourself, and carry it in your hand when walking alone or at night.
Scream: Should you be confronted, screaming loudly is encouraged, and screaming "fire" does get the attention of others. Victims often become so scared they forget to scream. Screaming may bring a witness to a window or door, or to your aid. They may be able to see a person running away, or a vehicle tag number or description, and a direction of travel. Do not argue or become combative. Try to comply with demands.
Never leave the scene with the confronter, if it can be avoided. Do not get into a vehicle. Victims can fake being sick, throw-up, fake a seizure, or even a heart attack. Try to use bodily fluids to wet yourself or create a foul smell. Roll around on the ground if you cannot escape. If you are placed into a vehicle, try to leave something behind: a piece of clothing, chewing gum (spit it out), a lipstick, watch, or kick off a shoe.
Try to memorize a vehicle license tag number by using names and ages of family or friends, not by Military/Alpha, unless you have been trained to use this method.
If you think you are being followed by vehicle, never go home or to a friend's home. Go the nearest place of safety; A Fire or Police Station, A 24 hour Gas Station, Drive Down The Middle Of A Busy Street, Go to a Fast Food Restaurant, and wherever you are, blow your car horn without stopping, over and over again. Call 911, to get help on the way.
The APD Crime Stoppers Unit is confidential. If someone has information, a tip on crime, or they want to report something of interest, they may not come forward, if they are scared, and they may not want to get involved. If they do make that call, they do not have to give any more information than they feel comfortable in giving, and they may even be eligible for a reward.
Yours For A Safer Atlanta,
Senior Inspector Christina Walker, Atlanta Police COPS Unit Zone 6, 404-371-5002