Get proactive about safety in January
When: January 1 – 31
What: Walking through the mall’s deserted parking lot, you hear footsteps behind you. It is dusk and you are only halfway to the safety of your car. The hairs on your neck stand on end and you walk faster, but so does the person behind you. A thousand thoughts race through your head: “Is this person following me?” “Why am I being so paranoid?” “What should I do?” Crime is a grim reality we all accept, but there are many steps we can take to protect ourselves from potentially violent situations. In January, get proactive about safety during National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month.
Background: Sponsored by the National Self-Defense Institute, a national public safety nonprofit, this monthlong event aims to encourage the public to take preventative measures against crime. It is recognized by many of the public safety departments, schools, and faith-based organizations that partner with the National Self-Defense Institute.
Story Pitch: This event can be pitched by colleges and universities, local public safety departments, and any company or organization willing to engage in an honest discourse about local public safety as well as crime and prevention strategies.
The Story Hook: According to the Bureau of Justice, 21 million crimes were committed against people ages 12 and older in 2008. While a majority of these crimes were nonviolent or property crimes, 23 percent involved acts of violence committed against a person. Preparedness at the personal and community levels can help bolster personal safety. Consider the following facts before making your pitch:
- The National Self-Defense Institute teaches that “90 percent of self-defense is comprised of awareness, risk reduction, and avoiding confrontation.” How can individuals use their powers of observation to thwart crime?
- How are average citizens making the streets safer in your community? Do any neighborhood watch groups exist in your area?
- Most Americans spend a sizable amount of time at work each week. What steps can employers take to ensure that the workplace is safe from crime?
- Personal safety also extends to disaster preparedness. Where can families find information about items to have on hand and survival strategies in the event of a disaster?
Tips: When pitching the media, provide contact information for a neighborhood watch group, a woman taking a self-defense course, or local law enforcement who can speak on programs being implemented to help citizens stay safe in an increasingly dangerous world.
Bureau of Justice Statistics
National Crime Prevention Council
National Neighborhood Watch Program
National Self-Defense Institute
–Researched, compiled & written by Marissa Maybee
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