Don’t be a target for thieves this holiday season

5 things to protect yourself in public

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard, officials say you need to heighten your sense of awareness.

We’re probably all guilty of being a little distracted as we walk from the store to the car. But with recent headlines of people being attacked and kidnapped, It’s time we were all more aware.

“I always told Aniah, her whole life, don’t go anywhere alone, don’t go anywhere by yourself, not even to get gas. Not to do this, not to do that, ad Aniah knew that,” says Aniah’s mother, Angela Harris.

But things can go wrong even if you do everything right. Jon Newland is the owner of Blue Line Combatives, a self-defense program.

“Criminals are looking for people who they can attack really fast, that are not paying attention,” says Newland.

That’s why the first two things to remember are to walk with purpose. Don’t be distracted.

“You also want to be scanning your areas, look around, be aware of who’s around you," says Newland.

Having a plan is just as important. Just in case someone comes at you, you need to be prepared to fight them off. Walk to your car with your keys in your fist. Have the keys coming out between your fingers, it makes an easy weapon. And you don’t want to give thieves a chance to steal from you while your back is turned. That’s why they say to lock your car when you return your buggy at the grocery store.

After shopping, put everything in your trunk out of sight. Just make sure you empty the trunk before hitting the shops.

“You having the right mindset to begin with is probably the most important thing,” says Newland.

Newland will be offering a self-defense class Sunday January 12 at 3:00 p.m. at the Homewood rec center. You can find more information here.

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