Criminals are moving from the streets to the beaches, looking for distracted beachgoers and tourists as targets of opportunity. Whether visiting a beach in the United States or abroad this summer, U.S. LawShield®, America’s premier Legal Defense for Self Defense® organization, recommends the following strategies to keep yourself safe and your valuables secure:
- Be alert everywhere. Jugging is a trending crime, which most commonly includes a tactic whereby one person creates a distraction as another commits a theft while your guard is down. Be on the lookout for people loitering, who move directly toward you, change direction to intercept you, or begin moving once they see you. All are a sign of potential danger. While these signs aren’t guarantees that someone is going to assault you, they can indicate possible risk of an unwelcome encounter.
- Research the beach first. Read reviews, blogs, and internet forums to learn which beaches are safer than others. Some locations may be unsafe at certain hours of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings when fewer people—including lifeguards and law enforcement—are present.
- ATMs near beaches. Many beach parking lots have ATMs so visitors can pay for parking and visit public vending machines. Criminals often spy on these locations, positioning themselves at a distance and using binoculars. They’re determining who is using the ATM and how much cash is withdrawn, so the thief can follow the user to their next destination. Be aware of your surroundings and keep withdrawals to smaller amounts. Instead of using ATMs, use credit or debit cards when possible.
- Parking lots. When at the beach, do not leave valuables and money inside your vehicle or forget to lock your car. Predators are always watching for an opportunity and won’t hesitate to break a car window to get what they want. Lock your valuables out of view in the vehicle trunk or console.
- On the beach. Choose a spot on the beach near other beachgoers. Never isolate yourself away from the crowd. Pick a position near the water so that the one person left behind to watch everything isn’t too far away. Don’t leave purses and wallets unattended while swimming, playing with children, or for any other reason. Avoid wearing jewelry to the beach. Wear an inexpensive watch.
- Packing up the vehicle. Be aware of predators looking for the opportunity to grab your purse or wallet while you are distracted during loading or unloading. Always be aware of your surroundings.
“With it being prime beach season, we need to remind people that everyday distractions can lead to unwanted encounters. Tourists and beaches are prime targets for criminals because of these distractions, including parents who must pay close attention to their children,” said Kirk Evans, president of U.S. LawShield. “As our mission at U.S. LawShield is to educate, prepare, and protect, we continually provide information to the public on ways to stay aware and how to avoid these altercations altogether. Take as little valuable items to the beach as possible and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, move to a safer place immediately.”For more information about U.S. LawShield, or to become a member, visit uslawshield.com.