‘Tis the season for shopping – and holiday thieves
Criminals love to target busy, unsuspecting shoppers in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle. But there are things we can all do to help prevent and counter attacks.
The SWIFT method (Self-Defense, Wellness, Instinct, Fitness Transformation) teaches people of all ages easy, life-saving techniques to protect themselves in situations like these and ways to help reduce the risk of becoming a target.
Safety in numbers… and in daylight. Shop with another adult if you can. Go during daylight or park near well-lit areas when possible. Do anything that would give would-be attackers fear they may be caught.
Be alert. Criminals look for soft targets, so stay focused on your surroundings. Put the phone away while walking to and from your car. One distracting text can make the difference between your seeing someone approaching.
Trust your gut, and mind your personal space. Proactively greet people you pass so it’s clear to everyone around you that you’re alert and paying attention. If you feel someone close by or following, don’t just dismiss it as “being paranoid” or hope “it’s nothing.” Turn to face them and greet them while walking as quickly as possible toward a crowd. Ask a fellow shopper to walk together to your cars. Always trust your instinct. Don’t be afraid of appearing rude. Better safe than sorry.
If approached, let your belongings go. Have your keys ready. Get away if you can. Don’t worry about your purse or those gifts you worked hard to find. It’s better to have few gifts than to be injured—or worse.
If attacked, fight back! After the shock, use their force against them. Speed can be greater than strength, and attackers don’t expect victims to fight back.
All SWIFT members learn self-defense techniques using real-world scenarios like attacks with a gun or knife while being distracted putting bags into your car or managing kids. These are techniques anyone of any age, size or strength can use.