Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween It’s that time of year again.  The days are shorter, the leaves are turning brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow and the mornings are crisp and cool.  As fall begins so too does the holiday season.  For those that participate, Halloween is a time for fun and games and to perhaps live out a childhood fantasy through dress and play.  (I still secretly think I’m Wonder Woman, but aren’t all women???)  This week’s post is a quick safety reminder as you prepare for parties, to take the kids out trick-or-treating, and engage in other fun activities.


  1. Small children should always be accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult guardian while trick-or-treating.
  2. Older children should travel in a group and should never be out on the street alone.
  3. Avoid placing children in long costumes that may drag on the ground as they may trip and fall.  The costume may also get caught on a curb causing injury.
  4. For costumes that incorporate make-up or a mask, ensure that the eyes are not obstructed.
  5. If possible, wear light colored costumes so that you are easily visible.  Consider placing a light or reflective material on children wearing dark colored costumes so that drivers can see them as they navigate area neighborhoods.
  6. Stay in well-lit areas and on familiar streets.
  7. Let people know where you will be and always carry a cell phone.
  8. Parents and guardians should always inspect their children’s candy before it is consumed and it is best not to eat homemade treats.  Throw away any candy that has been opened, has a hole in it or appears to be tampered with.  If you have any doubts, err on the side of caution and throw it away.  (There have been police reports across the country of authorities uncovering candy laced with ecstasy so you can never be too careful).
  9. For those adults participating in Halloween parties, be mindful of your alcohol consumption.  If you know you’re going to be drinking, use Uber or have a designated driver.
  10. If you’re at a private home, club or other venue, never leave your drink unattended or consume a beverage you are unsure of.  Unfortunately, predators still try to entice victims by placing harmful substances in their drinks.

People tend to let their guard down when they are excited or distracted.  These reminders are simple tips for preventing harm, injury, and victimization.  Have a great time this weekend and as always, be safe!

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#Halloween #October31st #safetytips #tips #crimeprevention #victimization #costume #safety #trickortreat #candy #alcohol #drugs #ecstasy #crime #justice #fall #autumn #ljsamuel #deardiary #DMV #WashingtonDC


Centers for Disease Control. (2015). Halloween health & safety tips. Washington, DC: CDC. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/

Cohen, P. (2015, October, 23). Is that candy or Ecstasy? Halloween warnings spook parents. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/halloween-warning-is-that-candy-or-ecstasy/

Photo source: http://cdn.history.com/sites/2/2013/11/Halloween-Hero-1-A.jpeg

Gun Play

Badazzled gun I am a regular attendee at my local gun range as I believe that if one owns, possesses, or carries a firearm for their job, they need to be proficient and safe in the handling and use of it.  I always marvel when I see a group of people at the range as part of a social outing.  From time to time some of the online organizations that offer e-coupons and deals will run a group special for the gun range for birthday parties, male bonding outings, bachelorette parties and the like. I am always left wondering- why?  Guns are not to be played with.  Time on the range using real guns and real ammunition is serious business.  It is not a game. Yet, you see groups of men laughing it up in shorts and sandals or groups of females in tight jeans, heavy make-up, and stilettos coming to the range to play.

I understand that gun ranges are a business and owners have to find creative ways to bring in new customers but it should be with an understanding that time at the range is serious.  Safety should always be the emphasis.  Whether the gun is pink, blue, or black, it fires real bullets.  Now, I am all about people experiencing new things however it should be couched in a safe manner.

Some key areas that should be considered when coming to the gun range are:

• Proper instruction; • Gun safety; and • Minimizing distractions and impediments (i.e. open toe shoes, high heels, tight clothing, etc.).

A gun range is a controlled environment for instruction, practice, and leisure. However, it is still a dangerous setting.  So always remember- safety first, play later.

Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#gunsafety #personalsafety #crimeprevention #crime #justice #ljsamuel #deardiary

Google Him

painted-heartThe last couple of weeks I have been debating with my male friends about my girlfriends and I ‘checking out’ guys we meet. After all, when you first meet someone, they always send their representative who is on their best behavior. They always present a perfectly wrapped package that smells good, looks good, speaks eloquently, and really seems to be into you. But how does one really know who a new love interest really is???

Dating has become serious business in the 2000’s. No longer do you solely meet your potential mate in high school, college, law school, church, or through a friend. Technology now plays a major role. First, in how we meet people. And second, in how we learn about the people we meet. Over 41 million people have dabbled in online dating (at least those that will admit it so this number is probably higher). Whether or not this form of dating is successful is debatable. Can one truly go online and find the love of their life, marriage, and the baby carriage? Who knows? But one thing is certain, there are measures one can put in place to protect their safety regardless of how they met someone.

Online dating is a billion dollar industry with over 2500 dating sites in the U.S. alone! You fill out a questionnaire, list your likes, post a picture, and then what? What, if anything, do these sites do to account for the safety of the consumers using their products? Use at your own risk. All I am saying is: be cautious. Whether you meet someone online, at the supermarket, or he helps you pump your gas, be cautious. Your safety is paramount. Love is great, but life is better.

It is interesting, we prepare for everything in our lives but sometimes we neglect the most important areas. We study for a test, practice before a big presentation, exercise before going on a beach vacation, and even floss in preparation for a dental appointment. So, why not in this area too? Information is power. Information is protection. Information is priceless. Google him. When you meet someone, it is ok to Google them. Do a little background first. Find the information that is legally in the public domain. You will be surprised what you find. Look at the pictures, articles, postings, and write-ups. It may not tell you everything but it will give you some insight into the character of the person that could potentially become your husband. Does he take care of his children? Does he really work where he says he told you? Did he go to that Ivy League school he bragged about? Has he ever been arrested for domestic violence? These are important questions and good information to have as unfortunately, love is not blind.

As always~ Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#googlehim #love #dating #onlinedating #personalsafety #crime #justice #crimeprevention #empowerment #ljsamuel #deardiary

Note: Stay tuned for details on Self-Defense Workshop tentatively scheduled for the end of January 2015.


Dewey, C. (2014, September 30). Does online dating work? Let’s be honest: We have no idea. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/09/30/does-online-dating-work-lets-be-honest-we-have-no-idea/

Online Dating Magazine. (2012, March 22). How many online dating sites are there? Retrieved from http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com/faq/howmanydatingsitesarethere.html

StatisticBrain.Com. (2013). Online dating statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/

Safety at the Pump

 Gas station

 You have heard the story before. A woman pulls up to a gas pump and hops out of her car to quickly fill up her gas tank on her way home from work. While pumping her gas, she pulls out her cell phone and sends a quick text to a friend. Then she hops back in her car and reaches for her purse to put her credit card back and notices that it is gone! How could this have happened?

Let’s analyze the scene. The victim in this fictitious scenario made herself an easy target for any thief lurking nearby. To start with, she left the driver’s side window of her car down. Never leave any windows down or unlocked when pumping gas and always take your keys with you. Next, our victim left her purse and valuables on the front passenger seat in plain view. Never leave your wallet, purse, or other items of value in an unlocked car. Lastly, the victim used her cell phone while pumping gas which meant that she was not paying full attention to her surroundings. Limit distractions when at the gas station. You are only there for a few minutes. Minutes that can make the difference between you leaving with everything you came with, or perhaps having to call the police to report stolen valuables, a stolen automobile, or worse an assault on your person.

Online searches reveal countless stories of this offense across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. It is a common occurrence locally and across the country. But this type of crime is preventable. The next time you get gas, there is one simple thing you can do to protect your valuables and life so that you are not the next victim. Lock your doors!

Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#gaspumpsafety #personalsafety #crimeprevention #crime #ljsamuel #deardiary

Note: Stay tuned for details on Self-Defense Workshop tentatively scheduled for the end of January 2015.


American Petroleum Institute. (2014). Staying safe at the pump. American Petroleum Institute. Retrieved from http://www.api.org/oil-and-natural-gas-overview/consumer-information/use-energy-safely/.

National Crime Prevention Council. (2014). Gas station theft prevention. Retrieved from http://www.ncpc.org/topics/home-and-neighborhood-safety/gas-station-theft-prevention.

Zurko, R. (2013, August 8). Sliders at gas stations: Women targeted by sliders while pumping gas. The Examiner. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/artice/sliders-at-gas-stations-women-targeted-by-sliders-while-pumping-gas/.

Work Out Like Your Life Depends on It

In the continuing theme in looking at ways to reduce our overall personal victimization, today’s post looks at the interaction between exercise and self-defense. There is some research that suggests that females who play sports are less likely to be victims of crime (Harder, 2007; Taylor et al, 2012). Those women that were victimized as a child (ex. physical or sexual abuse) are more likely to enroll in self-defense classes (Brecklin, 2004). Furthermore, females that exercise more frequently tend to have higher self-esteem, are more assertive, and are more self-confident (Harder, 2007). A study of female students from a western university found that those that played on a varsity sports team were “three times less likely to report victimization than non-varsity athletes” (Harder, 2007). As I highlighted in the Personal Safety Tips in my December 16, 2014 blog post, there are practices we can all engage in to reduce our chances of becoming victims. Self-defense classes teach women (and men) techniques to protect themselves against violence or some other harm or injury. Reputable classes are taught by a law enforcement and/or martial arts expert. After taking a self-defense class, one must not be reckless. I am in no way suggesting that a woman can beat up a male attacker after taking a class, so please do not get over-confident!  These classes do however give you more awareness of your environment and different situations you may be placed in when you are alone. The key is to be alert, know your surroundings, and to recognize warning signs to avoid danger.

So, the next time you hit the gym, work out like your life depends on it.

Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213 #selfdefense #workout #crime #victim #violenceagainstwomen #ljsamuel #deardiary

Note: Stay tuned for details on Self-Defense Workshop tentatively scheduled for the end of January 2015.


                                                                Works Cited

Brecklin, L. (2004). Self-defense/Assertiveness training, women’s victimization history, and psychological characteristics. Violence Against Women, 10 (5), 479-497.

Harder, N.R. (2007). The roles of exercise habits, gender stereotype of exercise, and self-esteem in sexual victimization (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (3380304).

Taylor, M., Matthew, J., Wamser, R., Welch, D., & Nanney, J. (2012). Multidimensional self-esteem as a mediator of the relationship between sports participation and victimization: A study of African American girls. Violence and Victims, 27 (3), 434-452.

Shopping While Distracted

On Friday, November 28, 2014 at 1 o'clock in the afternoon of Black Friday, Ms. Odila Orozco was walking down a Bronx street with her 3-month old son strapped to her chest as she made her way home. Unbeknownst to her, a robber was waiting nearby watching her, calculating his attack. When Ms. Orozco passed him, he turned around, ran full speed, and kicked her in her back knocking her to the ground on top of her baby! The thief took her cell phone and ran off. This incident was caught on video and is horrible to watch. Thank God both mother and baby were alright and were not seriously injured.

When I viewed the video some things stuck out. Ms. Orozco had a shopping bag in her left hand and her cell phone in her right hand. She was speaking on her phone engrossed in a conversation and did not see the criminal lurking next to her because she was distracted. In addition, her precious baby boy was strapped to her body so they were a lot of moving parts. Now let's be clear. I am not blaming Ms. Orozco for what happened. I am merely making some observations so that we can all be more vigilant in our day to day activities and engage in practices that reduce our chance of becoming victims.

There is a lot of excitement this time of year. Between the shopping, Christmas parties, and family gatherings, it is easy to get distracted. Throw alcohol into the mix and it is easy to see how one may forget their regular practices as they navigate around their cities and towns. Your personal safety and life are more important than a $30 sweater or some big sale. Slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you. We can all play a bigger part in reducing victimization and looking less attractive to criminals on the street.

I leave you with these tips on personal safety:

1. Pay attention to your surroundings. 2. Walk in well lit areas. 3. Scan the street and make a mental note of what and who you see. 4. Try and stick to familiar areas. 5. NEVER walk down the street talking on your cell phone (or listening to music on headphones). 6. Try to walk with others as there is strength in numbers. 7. Let friends and loved ones know where you will be. 8. If you are drinking, ensure that you have a sober buddy with you. 9. If you're out shopping, try to carry packages in one hand so you have a free hand. 10. If you're scared, ask a security officer to walk you to your car. It is ok to ask for help and to put authorities on alert.

Remember, criminals are looking for vulnerabilities. The minute you let your guard down they will pounce. Pay attention and reduce the distractions so that you can get home safe and enjoy all the fun the holidays have to offer.

As always, be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#personalsafety #victimization #victim #crimeprevention #selfdefense #ljsamuel #deardiary

Note: I will be hosting a Self-Defense Workshop the end of January 2015. Stay tuned for details!


Stepansky, J. (2014, December 2). Woman with 3-month old child in chest carrier kicked in back by mugger in Bronx: NYPD. New York Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/woman-toting-baby-chest-carrier-kicked-back-mugger-article-1.2029519