The uptick in local crime is making the news, and especially at the holidays, burglaries, and even brazen in-person robberies have been reported at local homes, businesses and shopping centers.
Lost Hills Sheriff’s Captain Jennifer Seetoo is cautioning all residents, and especially women, to use her acronym “Sassy” to stay safe this holiday season.
She spoke to the Calabasas Chamber’s Women’s Group last week and said she uses the acronym to remind residents to take into account various factors when shopping, leaving work or traveling.
The first “S” surprisingly is for “style.” Seetoo said that expensive jewelry and watches can make you a target – so walking through a parking lot or into a busy store, she suggests tucking in long necklaces that can be used as a weapon against you, and turning your bling around facing your palm so it’s not visible.
More style suggestions: Wear collapsible flats when going to a party and carry your heels. You can move faster in flats and the heels can be used as a weapon if you are challenged. If you need to run, hike that pencil skirt up and take off!
“A” is for being alert. Seetoo cautions against walking and texting, driving and texting. Walk with purpose, take out Bluetooth headphones and look around. She suggests late at night if walking alone be on the phone with someone, but stay alert and look around. “Look people in the eye,” she advised. “Let people know you see them. Don’t be surprised.”
The second “S” is for situational awareness. Going out at night? Park under a light close to the venue. Stay around people. If you have a choice between isolated stairs and an elevator, take the elevator, unless there is a single man in it, then wait for the next one. If you’re going downtown, think about what car to take – the new or the older model. “We’re seeing some follow-home robberies,” she detailed. “Check what environment you are going to and don’t take the same route home. If someone is following you pull into a police or sheriff station.”
The third “S” is for self-defense. “There are no rules if you are being attacked. Fight dirty,” she said. “Pinch, hit, bite, use your heels and your keys. Go for the groin, the instep, the eyes.” If you have taken self-defense courses, practice up on them. If you carry pepper spray, know how to use it. “I’ve seen too many cases where pepper spray affects the victim more than the assailant,” she said. Seetoo says don’t believe someone who looks like they’re going to abduct you and says, “I’m not going to hurt you.” She says to fight, yell and scream “I’m not going” and do everything you can to fight back.
The final “Y” comes from family. Protect your family and your home by closing garage doors. “Fifty percent of burglaries are at unlocked homes,” she related. Make sure to leave a car outside so the house looks occupied, and let your neighbors know if you’re going on vacation. Know that you can ask the Sheriff’s Dept. for a “vacation check” where they will drive by your home while you’re gone.
Seetoo’s final words: Pay attention to stay safe!