As reported, Oak Park, IL Police Chief Rick Tanksley offered several safety tips, after a couple of women have been attacked in Oak Park so far this year (note that these attacks are in addition to the many armed robberies):
- On January 8, a woman who was delivering newspapers at about 5 a.m. on the 1000 block of Pleasant Street had her van hijacked, while she was inside. She later was released in Chicago.
- On February 9, a woman exiting her residence at about 5 a.m. in the 200 block of North Kenilworth Avenue was attacked by a man as she walked towards her vehicle. The victim fought off her assailant, who escaped.
The Police Chief’s Safety Tips
- Always be aware of your surroundings – especially at night or in the early morning.
- Always travel with the doors locked; never leave an unattended vehicle running and unlocked – even for a moment.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if you notice anything suspicious, whether it is a person nearby or a vehicle.
- Be aware of anybody who approaches you or your car or is loitering near traffic lights, stop signs, parking areas or alleys.
- Attract the attention of motorists or pedestrians if you think you are in danger. Blow you horn, flash your lights, put on your emergency lights and shout.
- Do not enter your garage or a parking area if you believe you are being followed. Drive to the police station or call 9-1-1 on your cell phone.
- Remember, you can always contact the police if you would like an escort.
Overall, these tips sound like good, common-sense suggestions. However tip #5 relies upon hoping that a fellow citizen will (1) notice that you are being attacked, (2) come to your aid, and (3) be capable of stopping the attack. Those are a lot of things that would all have to work out just right in order for this suggestion to help a victim. (I’m not saying that victims shouldn’t try to summon help, but that I am skeptical about the real-world effectiveness of this suggestion.)
Also, a lot of these tips only work if the crime victim is able to identify the threat before it is too late. One can only avoid entering their garage, driving to their home, etcetera, if they are aware that a criminal is preparing to attack them. The real problem doesn’t seem to be that citizens knowingly walk or dive into an ambush, but that they are take by surprise. While it is good to suggest that Oak Park residents keep an eye out for threats, some threats just can’t be seen early enough to take out one’s phone, call the police, wait for the call to connect, give one’s location, and wait for the several minutes it takes for the police to arrive.
Simply put, police take minutes to help under the best circumstances, and hours under the worst, while bullets can stop an attacker in seconds. That is why I support gun ownership for self defense purposes, as those who fight back are statistically better off than victims who comply with criminals’ demands. It is time to repeal the Oak Park handgun ban and put an end to the situation where criminals have a monopoly on guns.