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The Need To Be Prepared

As we navigate through our busy schedules we sometimes lose sight of common sense approaches to ensuring our personal safety. Public safety experts warn that people can be the target of unwanted personal solicitations and assaults anywhere people congregate and gather, including shopping malls, grocery stores, and, yes, church. Experts agree that the key to effectively dealing with unwanted pleas for assistance is to be deliberate and know, in advance, how you intend to respond.

As you travel to and from church for Sunday worship, choir rehearsal, midday or evening meetings, please be alert and follow these recommendations of the National Safety Council to help increase you personal safety in and around your car. 

• Before you exit your car, notice if there are any strangers sitting in parked cars near where you intend to park. If so, choose another spot.

• If someone approaches you before exiting your car make certain your doors are locked and do not roll down the window. If the person is persistent or makes any attempt to enter your vehicle, honk your car’s horn. It’s one of the loudest and fastest ways to scare someone off or let others know that you need help. As a matter of personal safety, always lock your car doors immediately after closing your doors — don’t wait for the automatic door lock that engages when your car begins to move. The National Safety Council reports that most carjackings could be avoided by simply locking your car’s doors!

• Stay away from isolated or poorly lit areas.

• Always be alert and aware to minimize making yourself a target. Have your car keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door without delay. When leaving the church with others, don’t stand in the parking lot and chat for lengthy periods. If you have business to conduct or stories to share do that inside the building.

• As you approach your car, look under it and around it. Before getting in your car, look in the back seat and on the floor.

• Don’t place your purse or packages on the roof of the car while loading other items — that makes you an easy target.

• If you are approached by a person while walking to the building, a firm “no” is recommended when dealing with panhandlers and other people making unwanted advanced. An emphatic “no” does not mean raising your voice and yelling at the person. Such a tone may aggravate the situation and does not effectively communicate your intent. Instead, it conveys a loss of control. As mentioned previously, be deliberate and know how you intend to respond.

• If you feel your personal safety is being threatened at any time, be decisive and do anything you can to draw attention. Don’t be embarrassed. Scream, yell, honk your horn, blow a whistle, whatever it takes to get noticed!

These recommendations are not meant to alarm you, and are not intended to produce unwanted anxiety about traveling to and from church. Quite simply, they are intended to be a reminder to use good sense and to be prepared for the unexpected. These same safety precautions are equally applicable to increasing your personal safety in and around your car as you travel around town, go to the ballpark, visit your favorite restaurant in Clayton, or visit the local mall. Remember, be deliberate and know how you intend to respond to unwanted advances!

Please, please don’t underestimate the need to be prepared when entering and exiting your vehicle!

We tell all our visitors to the URBAN MISSION INN to never let a stranger into the building, and that advice applies to all members and friends of Union Avenue Christian Church. If someone you do not know is attempting to enter the building, do not invite them in as you enter. If they are here for a legitimate reason, they will know how to gain access. This may sound harsh, but please use your best judgement when entering and exiting the safety of our building.

If an incident does occur on church property, please share your concern with others, at once, so that corrective measures may be taken.