While we don't want to think about the fact that criminals can follow us from a gas station or shopping mall to our homes, it happens more than one would think. Just last week a 58-year-old Chicagoland businessman was followed home and then severely beaten inside the home as his helpless family was forced to watch.
Abbas Darwish, a convenience store owner, is in fair condition at Good Samaritan Hospital following the April 15th attack. His injuries include broken ribs, a broken nose, and bruised lungs. His wife and two sons were also treated for injuries following the early morning attack.
The police have two men in custody and are looking for four more. While Mr. Darwish and his family are expected to recover, some aren't as lucky. So, it is always best to be aware of your surroundings and anything that seems to be out of place, whether walking, driving, exercising, etc. as we move into the summer months.
If you think that you're being followed, there are several precautions to take to keep yourself safe:
- Frequently check the rearview mirror to see if you are being followed. If you believe that you are, DO NOT drive home. Instead drive to the nearest police station, fire station or other place of safety such as a crowded parking lot.
- If you believe you're being followed but aren't sure, make three consecutive left hand or right hand turns. If the car is still behind you, DO NOT drive home.
- Remember it is important to know where you are so police officers can respond if needed. Know your direction of travel.
- If you have a cellular phone, call 9-1-1. Try to get a good description of the vehicle that is following you including the vehicle's make, color and license plate number if possible.
- Don't stop if the vehicle following bumps your car or otherwise tries to get you to pull over.
- Do not try to be a hero. Don't take any action that would jeopardize your own safety.
- Carry a small camera, use your cell phone camera, or equip your car with a dash cam and record, or take pictures, of the followers.
While statistics show that women are more likely to be followed than men, as evidenced by the above story, it can happen to both men and women. The most important thing to remember is to remain calm, and avoid the instinct to stomp on the gas to get away. The more relaxed and controlled you stay, the greater the likelihood that your followers will grow bored with the "chase;" especially if it is a meandering path to nowhere.