WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A leading security expert is sharing tips tonight to keep you safe from those who want to harm you.
Because the nightmare for the three women in Cleveland started with their kidnappings, we went to Tony Cowden to find out what you need to know to stay safe.
Cowden, a former member of the Army Special Forces, has trained government officials on kidnapping prevention tactics before they've gone into some of the most dangerous places in the world. Now, he owns Alastar TDS-C, which does firearms and training courses for military, law enforcement and civilians.
His number one advice is to be alert at all times.
He advises you to "keep your head on a swivel" when you are out and about.
He said to take note if something is out of the ordinary.
Cowden said most of the time, kidnappings are committed by someone you know, so take notice if someone in your life is acting out of the ordinary.
"If something someone's doing simply doesn't feel right, it's probably not," Cowden said. "If it raises the hairs on your neck, just leave the situation. In the United States, we have a culture of friendliness. There's no rule that says you can't offend someone for the sake of your own safety."
Cowden says when women are the target of kidnappers, more than 90 percent are raped or murdered.
"If you find yourself in a situation where you are being attacked, pulled into a vehicle or aggressively assaulted, you need to fight," he said. "Fight right then and there."
Cowden also recommends that you assess your day, think about any time when you may be vulnerable and take action to make yourself safer.
"Do you get off work late? Is the door you exist well lit? Is the path to your car well lit? What are the things you can do to change that or improve your situation?" he asked.
Cowden also said more attacks are happening at the home. One thing you can do to protect yourself is to take your garage door opener in your home with you, if you park your car outside. He said crooks can easily swipe that from your car and use it to get inside your house. He also said if your home looks like it was tampered with in any way, don't go inside and call 911.
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