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Make Personal Safety Part of Your New Years Resolution

Monday, December 10, 2001

The New Year signals a sense of renewal and a time for making improvements in our lives through resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions for many of us focuses on exercise, which increases our outdoor activity. “A New Year’s resolution to get more exercise is a great idea, and exercising is certainly good for your health, but you should prepare to exercise safely so that you do not become a victim of crime,” Sheriff Neustrom says.

Violent crime is a reality today. People rank it as one of their main concerns. Sheriff Neustrom states, “We have a natural tendency to think that crime is something that happens to someone else, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. It can happen to anyone.” Many walking and running enthusiasts have the mistaken idea that they are not subject to attack because they carry little or no money with them when they exercise. They must be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to protect themselves. “Do not become so preoccupied with your exercise routine that you lose sight of your surroundings and put yourself at risk” warns Sheriff Neustrom.

Sheriff Neustrom offers these safety tips for walking, running and jogging enthusiasts so that they can safely pursue their exercise goals and New Year’s resolutions:

Use the buddy system - Take a known companion with you! Avoid the early morning or late night walk, run or jog when you are alone and the streets are quiet and deserted.
Let a family member or friend know when you leave your home and the time you expect to return.
Do not wear headphones, or if you do, keep the volume at a level that allows you to hear what is going on around you.
Avoid secluded areas.
Face traffic when walking, running or jogging.
If you feel you are being followed, go to the nearest house or business place and call the police.
Wear brightly colored clothing to improve your visibility.
Carry a cell phone, whistle, or shrill alarm to summon help, if needed.
Vary your route and pattern of exercise, but do not take shortcuts down deserted paths.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep alert! Stay away from shrubs where someone could hide.
Take a key. Do not leave your house unlocked. Someone might be watching you and your house to see when it will be empty or unlocked.
Carry proper identification, which includes your current address, phone number and person to notify in case of an emergency.

Sheriff Neustrom concludes, “Don’t take your personal safety for granted. Make safety a part of your New Year’s resolution.”

Donna Delahoussaye
Public Information Officer
Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office
(337) 236-5814 (337) 232-9211