Protect Yourself: Real Life Crime Tips

Since I write about a security firm specializing in bodyguards, I thought it might be interesting to run a regular series of posts offering insights from real-life professionals. I hope to have a post the first Tuesday of every month from police officers, private investigators and various other professionals trained in helping protect the public.

I first met today’s guest, Kathy Bennett, during an on-line course, “A Cop’s Life.” Kathy was “the cop” and was sharing an insider’s look at what she dealt with on a day-to-day basis. I started trying to summarize her bio, but there’s so much that she’s done that needs to be shared, I copied it here.

When Kathy entered the Police Academy eighteen years ago she fully intended on doing her mandatory “time on the street”, then find a nice inside job. But a funny thing happened. She liked being a street cop. Not only that, she was good at it. Kathy helped to overcome dissension during the Los Angeles riots and helped citizens rebuild their shattered lives after the Northridge earthquake.

Kathy’s worked at the Police Academy teaching female recruits basic firearms. She’s worked in the “war room” analyzing crime and directing resources to combat the crooks. She’s been named Officer of the Quarter twice, and Officer of the Year once.

Currently, Kathy is a Senior Lead Officer. She is responsible for crime and quality of life issues in her Basic Car Area covering approximately seven square miles of the City of Los Angeles. She directs officers to problem areas and advises them of suspects capering in the Basic Car. Kathy is the “face” of the LAPD and point of contact to the citizens who live in her area.

Kathy is married to a Los Angeles Police Officer, Rick and they have one daughter and one granddaughter. Kathy has written two romantic suspense manuscripts and is currently working on her third book.

In short, Kathy is the type of heroine that should star in her own series. Can you imagine the type of depth her stories must have? I look forward to when she gets her first book published.

My only instructions to Kathy as to what type of post I wanted? To write about something that as part of her daily job, she (or her fellow police officers) sees people doing over and over again that makes her want to shake her head and say “I wish people would …” Her article is not a work of fiction, it’s what she’s seen happen, and probably often. It’ll scare the daylights out of you, if especially if you have daughters. Heck, I shivered reading it and I have two sons. While Kathy is talking about teenaged girls, I think it is good advice for any woman who is dating.

Hi everyone!

I’m honored that Leah asked me to guest blog today about crime prevention and awareness. I’d like to talk about the safety of preteen and teenaged girls.

The law enforcement community is seeing a disturbing trend with female preteens and teens. When young girls are with a group of other kids, many times the girls are encouraged and expected to consume alcohol…often in large quantities. Parents often underestimate the risks of their preteen daughters’ exposure to the influence of alcohol and don’t have a clue about the seriousness of the issue. The young girls are not aware of the fact their bodies generally don’t metabolize alcohol in the same way as males or adults. Weight is the biggest factor in metabolizing alcohol, but females also have less body fluid than males. Therefore, if a girl and a boy of the same size and weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the female will have a higher concentration of alcohol in her blood.

What we (the police) see happening is these young girls try to “keep up” their alcohol consumption with the males in the crowd – and failing. Did you know that research shows that having male friends increases the risk of alcohol use by young girls? In some cases the girls are trying to win the “honor” to claim they were the most “wasted”. The girls find alcohol loosens their inhibitions and makes them feel more confident and sexy. Being the life of the party and sexually provocative sometimes increases a young girl’s popularity with her friends…especially the boys.

Sometimes these girls will drink themselves into unconsciousness where they are left at the mercy of whomever they’re with. Unfortunately, many of today’s young males don’t have a second thought about having sex with a girl who is in no condition to protest. In fact, often these situations turn into a group event, with multiple males “taking a turn.” Turns your stomach, doesn’t it?

So, how can you protect the younger girl in your life from becoming a victim of her own alcohol consumption? Talk to your child! Explain these types of activities can and do occur. My experience indicates you should start talking to your girls at about age eleven. And you should talk to them often.

Be a parent, not a friend. Set the rules. Make it clear that underage drinking is not okay under any circumstances. Have calm discussions with clear messages making plain your expectations about not drinking. Teach your daughter “refusal skills.” To girls who care about their appearance, it may be more beneficial to discuss the toll alcohol takes on the way they look, than to talk about liver disease…something they really can’t relate to.

I’m sure they’ll roll their eyes at you and tell you they don’t drink – and if they did, they wouldn’t be that stupid. Counter their assurances with the fact that you have confidence that THEY wouldn’t find themselves in that position, but they need to be aware those types of incidents do occur, and maybe their friends aren’t as savvy as they are.

There was a study done that found the single most important factor of girls behavior was the behavior of their five closest friends. A number of experts were not surprised that friends can sway girls more easily than boys. It’s important to supervise your daughter and know who her friends are, where they are going, and what they are doing. Many times when kids get into trouble and we go to the parents for information about their child’s friends, the best the parents can do is give us a first name – and that’s all. If we’re really lucky, they might have a cell phone number of the friend. Make it your business to know your child’s friends, where they live and who their parents are. It’s not a bad idea to meet their parents and exchange phone numbers. Encourage your girls to maintain friendships with other girls who make good choices and decisions.

Finally, be sure you’re being a good example to your children – male or female. Do they see you turn to alcohol when you are stressed, or looking for a good time? Have your children seen you intoxicated – or worse yet, drinking and then getting behind the wheel of your car? If you’re guilty of not being the best role model, change your behavior because your kids are watching and will follow your example.

If you feel your daughter or granddaughter is heading down a path of self-destruction, contact your local law enforcement agency and ask to talk to the Juvenile Section. Most police departments will be able to refer you to agencies or programs that can help.

***
One other thing I would add to Kathy’s post, teach your daughters to NEVER leave their drink unattended – and I’m not talking just alcohol. Rohypnol and the other date rape drugs are too easily administered — it’s odorless, colorless and for the most part tasteless, and can be added to any drink, even water. If they do have to leave it unattended? Discard it, don’t drink it no matter what their friends urge them to do.

Image: © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

37 thoughts on “Protect Yourself: Real Life Crime Tips

  1. As a parent of teens, even though they are all boys, I let them know the truth about protecting themselves and their friends… especially my 16 yo who's two best friends are both female… glad to say they are respectful and they have no problem sticking up or getting help for someone who needs it… thanks for the blog…

  2. Thank you Kathy and Leah. It's really scary out there. I knew a teen that almost died from alcohol poisoning. The kids don't seem to realize drinking too much can kill them on top of all the other dangers out there to them. She was lucky she was with good friends who took her to an ER immediately when they realized she was in trouble. A lesser friend would have not wanted to risk getting into trouble by seeking immediate help.

  3. Hi Laurann;

    You make a good point. Alcohol poisoning is another danger to the risks our kids face.

    I've seen it a number of times where "friends" will dump the person who has OD'd (on alcohol or drugs) in the doorway of the hospital and then take off. I'm not sure how they live with themselves afterward.

  4. Hi Hockey;

    I wish all parents were as responsible and aware as you. Kudos to you for raising responsible young men.

  5. Thanks, Kathy and Leah for a great blog!! As a mother of a preteen, such scenarios terrify me and I talk often with both of my kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

  6. Excellent point Leah made about Rohypnol. The scary thing is that more and more often the boys don't have to resort to drugs when the girls are so willing to get highly intoxicated.

  7. Hi Traci;

    I'm right there with you Traci. My granddaughter is almost twelve, and I drive my daughter nuts because I know how many predators are out there. Knowledge is power, but sometimes it can be downright scary.

  8. Hi Kathy. Thanks for the reminders. Some of these things I'v forgotten, but even more true today. As you know, We've seen the worse possible scenes. It doesn't just stop there. Another point is getting into the car with older teens who have been drinking. Many, too many, don't make it home.

  9. I have 4 kids under the age of 10, 3 boys and 1 little girl. They always tell their friends that I am so over protective, and although I don't know first hand about the troubles in the world, there are lots of scary people out there. And, that can include friends who are trying to get you to drink (we are a little young for that, but it will come up before I know it), or do drugs, etc. My sisters, who do not have any kids, tease me about it. And I just think, wait until you have some :)

    Great topic!
    Amy M

  10. Great advice, Kathy. Your post may help save a young girl from trauma!

    Thanks for the words of wisdom,
    Leigh

  11. Wonderful guest post, Kathy – and your new feature sounds amazing, Leah.

    It's an interesting aspect of 'girls can do anything guys can do' when it comes to drinking. Equity is one thing, but physiology rules when it comes to gender differences. Thanks for warning about the simple fact of bodies not metabolizing alcohol in the same way.

  12. Great article Kathy, and thanks to Leah for asking you to inform the public. I hope that more parents heed your sage advice.

    Flo

  13. Wow! Scary stuff. Makes me glad I don't have a daughter, but I'll certainly pass this on to my friends who do.

  14. Thanks so much, Leah and Kathy—my children are still all under 10, but this is good information to keep in mind as they get older. Thanks for helping us to keep our children safe!

  15. Another wonderful post Leah.

    Thank you Kathy for your service to the people and bringing a great message about teens and drinking. It's a scary world out there. I know from my own experience that even though I thought my mom was dull as dishwater, I huffed, sighed, rolled my eyes, and stomped off to my room whenever she said anything to me about anything…I still heard and it came to me at times when situations were heading exactly where she said they'd go…so moms, keep talking…

  16. Hi All,

    This is a great topic. 2 things and the 1st is very scary. Amy, your children are not too young to have to deal with this. It is frightening how many children start drinking and/or playing drinking games as young as 10. The current numbers seems to indicate that 10% of 9 and 10 year olds have started drinking. I am sure it isn't your children, but it makes you wonder about the children that they are in school with.

    While it is important to keep young women informed of the dangers facing them, if you are a mother of boys, it is just as important to keep them informed. If your son has been drinking, his judgment is impaired and this is when perhaps 'no' does not mean 'no' to him. Suddenly, your son is dealing with a rape charge.

    Underage alcohol use and abuse puts all children at risk!

  17. My very first meeting at middle school, when I was signing up my oldest for the year, the teacher stood up and announced that yes the rumors we heard were true.

    Rumors? I hadn't heard any rumors.

    She went on to say that the oral sex that had taken place on the back of several school buses had now been stopped and anyway, our sixth graders would be encouraged to ride in the front.

    That was when I knew I was entering a whack new world. I'm surprised so many kids survive intact.

  18. Kate R. O.M.G. Oral sex in sixth grade? *sobs* That's too young. Waaay too young. I don't think I knew anything about sex when I was in sixth grade – that came in 7th grade.

  19. Thanks Kathy! My youngest is a college senior, turning 21 in a few short weeks. I'm going to pass this link along to her as a good reminder of the dangers out there. Sometimes the message is better delivered from someone besides the Mom.

  20. Hi Phyllis;

    You make another good point about the drinking and driving. That could be another whole post.

  21. Hi Amy M!

    Well your kids are getting close to the age (especially the 10 year-old) to where you'll want to talk to them about the dangers of alcohol. It's a delicate line to walk between warning your kids and making them freak out. I only had one child and keeping her aware wasn't easy (and still isn't – and she's an adult!) Why do kids think they're indestructable?

  22. Hi Leigh!

    I can only hope that one girl (or boy) out there will somehow see this message and at least think about what they're doing when they're at some party and are offered alcohol.

  23. Hi Julia!

    Yes, we're raising independent young women…who often think they always have to keep up or beat the boys. It's not true!

  24. Hi Flo!

    You've nailed it on the head. The parents are the ones who have to set the rules…and then follow up on them.

  25. Hi Lucie!

    Fabulous! The thing is, that many parents aren't even aware this is a problem.

  26. Hi flchen1!

    Oh, trust me, your time will come. Probably the best advice I can give any parent is: pay attention to your children. When they talk about their friends, parties, etc, listen to them. Ask questions. And…occasionally, check up on them. I know you'll all be shocked, but kids sometimes lie!

  27. Hi Cybercliper!

    Oh how true! I can't tell you how many times the phrase "My Mom said no," or "My Mom will find out," saved me. I was GLAD I could blame my Mom for not participating in things I knew were wrong.

  28. Hi Mia!

    Well said. Yes, mother's of boys, you need to make your boys understand that it is very easy to wind up in handcuffs with a rape charge hanging over your head. It happens all the time. Again the key is to listen (and hear)your kids and talk to them.

  29. Hi Kate R!

    Oh my…although I'm not too surprised. Our children are being bombarded by so much sexual/adult information. Yet, I'm appalled there is oral sex going on in school buses. I know the bus driver's have to watch the road, but…

  30. Thank you, Kathy. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate you taking the time, especially after a long shift with all those California wildfires that are causing so much trouble.

    I look forward to hosting you again in three months.

  31. Hi Paperbackwriter!

    I'm flattered you'd pass it on. Can I say, I don't envy you with a young girl in college? I have a state university in the area I'm responsible for at work. The stories I could tell you…but I won't. I'm sure your daughter wouldn't do those things!

  32. Hi Leah and fellow bloggers!

    First, let me apologize for the big lapse in time from your posts to my replies. I was working.

    Thank you to all of you who responded and I hope that my message might save just one child from something they'll regret their whole lives.

    Thank you to Leah for having me!

  33. Hi Marley!

    Thank you. I'm all about educating young people to dangers they may not realize exist.

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