Public Safety

8 tips to protect your personal safety

Cedar Rapids police give advice to Kirkwood students

(iStock)
(iStock)

CEDAR RAPIDS — With spring break just around the corner, Cedar Rapids police spent time Monday offering personal safety tips to Kirkwood College students.

Cedar Rapids police Officer Aaron Leisinger, a college resource officer assigned to Kirkwood, was joined by other officers and gave advice to about a dozen Kirkwood students. Leisinger said the point wasn’t to scare the students, but to prepare them for the possibility of an attack.

One in five college age women are sexually assaulted and 4.2 percent of students experience stalking, Leisinger said.

Among his tips:

1. When out and about, your head should be held high and your eyes should be looking forward and scanning. Keep your hands free and be aware of your surroundings, including a potential escape route.

2. If meeting someone for the first time, pick a public place. Tell people where you are going and research the person you’re meeting, including a Google search. Leisinger also said to keep an eye on your possessions, including your purse, phone, keys and drink.

3. To avoid making your home a potential burglary target, don’t post photos of your vacation on social media until you’ve returned home.

4. When getting out of your car, take a look at your surroundings first. Leisinger recommended having your phone handy in case you need to call for help and keep your keys out. At home, don’t open the door if you’re alone and not expecting visitors.

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5. In the event you are being followed or an acquaintance is being aggressive, Leisinger advised making a scene, making your feelings known and keeping your arms away from your body. Never leave the area with the person, Leisinger said.

“You need to stop it before it becomes physical,” he said.”

6. In the case of a physical attack, such as an assault, carjacking or kidnapping attempt, Leisinger said to “move with extreme aggressiveness.” When fighting back, use your hands, feet, keys or umbrella and target the “soft spots” of the assailant such as the eyes, ears, nose, throat and groin.

7. Don’t fight fair, Leisinger said. Act quickly, escape and call for help.

8. After you’ve escaped an encounter, call 911. “If the worse does happen, coming forward (about the assault) is huge,” he said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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