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Another Rideshare Rape is an Epidemic

Women should never take a ride from a stranger because it’s dangerous – unless she’s paying the driver???

Wrong, of course. Uber and Lyft drivers provide paid rides to strangers as requested via the Uber and Lyft apps.

As of August 2018 WhosDrivingyou.org tallied the number at almost 400 rapes and probably stopped recording the sexual assaults because it has become so common. A quick Google search for “rideshare rape” pulls almost 7K results.

YeT another rideshare rape allegedly happened this week when an intoxicated woman was overcome by her driver. And before you blame the victim, JUST SHUT UP.

Almost the Perfect Crime

  • The predator has no problem getting a woman into his vehicle.
  • There’s an easy explanation for her DNA in the vehicle: the ride service.
  • She might be intoxicated, which is a common reason for hiring a rideshare service, and intoxication means vulnerability and lack of credibility.

Has the rideshare industry created a monster?

What makes rape even easier to get away with is if the passenger passes out from intoxication.

But by no means does this mean a predator should feel confident he could get away with his crime, such as Uber driver John David Sanchez, who got 80 years for ride-related sex crimes.

A CNN investigation revealed that at least 31 Uber drivers have been convicted of crimes such as rape as well as forcible touching.

On the other hand, CNN reported the case of an Uber driver who was accused by his fare of sexual assault. He claimed it was consensual; the charges were dropped.

CNN also reported that many of the women who were sexually assaulted by the over 100 accused drivers had been drinking or were drunk at the time of the alleged crimes.

A similar investigation of Lyft by CNN also revealed numerous sexual assault accusations.

What can a woman do?

  • Use Uber, Lyft (or a taxi service) only as a last resort, i.e., you can’t find someone you know to transport you.
  • Make sure you’re not impaired by any substances. This is a two-edged sword because an impaired person should not drive, either. If you’re convinced ahead of time you’ll be impaired, then arrange for a trusted friend to drive you home. If you can’t find someone, then reconsider your plan on getting wasted; is it worth it?
  • Arrange to use rideshare services with a companion.
  • Hire only female drivers.
  • Under no circumstances let a driver into your home.
  • Make sure your phone has a one-touch emergency alert button that will activate first responders who can home in on your location.

Don’t assume that just because someone works for Uber or Lyft that they’re safe. Though these companies do background checks, you have to consider that some predators have a clean record because they haven’t been caught (yet).

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Put the Stupid Phone Away! Pedestrian Deaths Rise

If you like taking an evening stroll, walking your dog, or even hitting the pavement for exercise sake, you could be putting yourself at risk according to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The statistics are shocking; the report looked at how many pedestrians were killed by vehicles while walking in 2018, and it was not only a 4 percent increase from 2017, but the highest rate of death since 1990.

Why are these numbers rising? There are a couple of reasons. First, there are more SUVs and trucks on the road, and these vehicles are more likely to kill someone due to the weight and size. In fact, since 2013, the number of pedestrian deaths caused by SUVs has risen by 50 percent. Another reason for this is that people are not paying attention, both behind the wheel and on the pavement. Why? Smartphones. Alcohol was also to blame, as about half of the deaths reported in 2017 was caused by alcohol consumption by either the pedestrian, the driver, or in many cases, both. Of course, there is also the fact that the population has grown, so there are naturally more people out and about on the streets.

Population growth might not seem like a big deal, but the statistics show otherwise. When you look at the states that have had the highest population growth from 2017 to 2018, you also see that there is an increase of the number of deaths from pedestrians getting hit by vehicles. There has also been an increase in the number of people who are walking to work instead of driving when you look at statistics from 2007 to 2016.

The Governors Highway Safety Association also reports another unsurprising fact; the majority of these deaths are occurring after dark, and when comparing the number of pedestrian deaths during the day and at night, the nighttime deaths are rising quickly when compared to daytime deaths. When you look at the number of nighttime deaths between 2008 and 2017, there was an increase of 45 percent. When looking at daytime pedestrian deaths, there is also an 11 percent increase between those same years.

If you are looking for a safe place to walk around, consider New Hampshire. There was only one death in the first half of 2018. On the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. Almost half of all pedestrian deaths in the United States occurred in Florida, Arizona, Texas, California, and Georgia. None of us should have to worry about crossing the street, and this might be a sign that it’s time to improve vehicle design and improvements to the road.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

15 Year Old’s Naked Photos Spread Like Wild Fire

You have probably heard the story before. Teenage girl takes some scantily clad photos and sends them to her latest boyfriend. “What could go wrong?,” she thinks. Well, a lot could go wrong, and an article on Vice.com really lays that out. You might think that the boyfriend is to blame for this 15-year old’s photos spreading like wildfire, but the truth is this: he deleted them soon after getting them…the photos got out because the teen kept them on her phone and some classmates took that phone.

Ultimately, the photos got into the hands of the victim’s best friend. At this point, you probably think “Phew…the photos are safe.”  Wrong again. Her “best friend” ended up posting the photos to a blog. Many years later, the victim found out why…her “best friend” was mad that she had sent some angry texts to her the night before, and that her main motivation was to simply hurt her friend because of those texts. That’s all it took for a teen’s life to be effectively ruined for months.

When things like this happen, many women are made to feel guilty that they took these photos, and this is a type of digital violence. In fact, more women are now seeking counseling to help to combat these feelings. The thing is, if you have a nude photo, you are certainly not immune. Teens often become victims here, but so do adult women and celebrities. In most cases, someone else is spreading these photos, but the victim is often blamed.

In late 2017, the EU passed new laws that help to better protect people who find themselves in this situation, and in 2015, the British government made these actions a crime, too. However, in most other countries, no such laws exist.

In this case, the victim ended up forgiving her classmates, but as an adult, she still has not overcome the invasion of her privacy. She also still struggles with the fact that most people in the community blamed her…not the boys who stole her phone, nor her friend, who posted them on the internet. She says that people came up to her for years after the incident and told her they saw those photos, too, and she still has that feeling that she did something wrong.

Finally, as a society, we have to find ways to make sure that victims of these crimes are taken seriously, and ensure that video sites, like YouTube, and social media sites, like Facebook, respond immediately when notified of content like this.

And, please, I’m not blaming the victim here, and a bit of advice, no naked pics of yourself, girlfriend, husband or wife please. It’s a bit too risky and can have significant consequences.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Are You Taking Responsibility for Your Personal Safety?

For the most part, the local police department does not prevent most assaults or burglaries. That would require a cop to be everywhere all at once. Not happening. However, they do their best to capture and arrest those who commit these crimes. And, preventing crimes goes way beyond getting a home security system or making sure your doors are locked and your lights are on timers. But this is a start. The truth is, your personal security and preventing crimes starts with you. It begins with taking responsibility for your property and your personal safety.

Civilized Conditioning

You might have heard of civilized conditioning. Civilized conditioning is what mom and dad teach you about being a civilized human in a civilized society. That means not hitting, harming, biting etc. Just be nice and in general, respect authority.

You have probably (hopefully) been taught that it’s not okay to hurt other people, and this, of course, is a great thing. Most of us have been taught this from the time we were small children. This type of conditioning allows each of us to successfully get along with others in a society, but it also causes us to do nothing when we need to.

Civilized conditioning has had a negative impact on our ability to take responsibility for our personal security. This is really a double-edged sword. Sure, it helps to keep us under control when we are tempted to get violent with another person. But, it also prevents us from using a violent stance when we need to.

We are all aware that there are people out there who we could say are uncivilized. These people don’t have the same boundaries as the rest of us. When we come across those people, we have to take responsibility for our own safety. That might mean being violent.

You Are On Your Own

Bad things happen all of the time. Consider, for instance, installing a home security system. This is a great start and helps you to take responsibility for the safety of your property, your family, and yourself. Also, consider a self-defense class. There are several options for these classes from local courses and books to videos and online training. Additionally, teach your children self-defense skills. Even children as young as 5-years- old are definitely capable of learning techniques that can protect them. Finally, teach responsibility. You can’t always rely on the government or the police to protect you. Instead, rely on yourself.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Don’t mess with this Pint Sized Woman

April Marchessault got attacked just after midnight inside her bathroom. At 5-1, she wasn’t intimidated by the 5-7, 200 pound man. Edgardo Montes, 47, got his clock thoroughly cleaned.

1SDHe was charged with breaking and entering and intent to rape, plus other charges. It all began when April took out the trash, reports eagletribune.com. She left the back door open. What are the odds that this formerly convicted rapist just happened to be out there? Well, it happened. Never leave doors unlocked!

She went into the bathroom to clean the sink. Edgardo crept up from behind and wrapped his arms around her chest so hard she couldn’t turn around. But when he tried to force her face into the sink, she kind of hulked out.

April turned around and pushed him back, but somehow he struck her in the jaw. She pushed him again and pulled his shirt off (which was already partially pulled up to conceal his face). He headed for the back door but April got there first, pushing him out. Then she started beating him, making him fall down some steps.

“I ran down the stairs and I kept hitting him in the face and head with my fist,” says the Massachusetts woman. “I was stomping on his knee.” She “kept hitting him” as he was trying to get up. April then began hitting him in the head repeatedly with a trash can.

Edgardo was so beaten he couldn’t get up, and by then, April’s father stood guard over him while waiting for the police. Amazingly, April’s three young sons slept through everything.

Points of Interest

  • April has no martial arts training; what enabled her was anger and wit.
  • Martial arts training, however, can reprogram a woman’s way of thinking so that if she’s ever assaulted, she could maintain her wits and think tactically rather than in a panicked state.
  • Never leave your doors unlocked even for a moment, especially at night. It takes just seconds to lock the door right behind you after you re-enter your home!

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures

Street Fights can result in Death

People who don’t believe they have been brainwashed by the film industry, which repeatedly shows men in a brawl who are still standing after each have received a dozen punches to the head and face.

Sometimes it takes five full minutes to just daze a man, after he’s been hit in the face over and over, and struck in the back with a chair so hard the chair breaks. Men get slammed, even tossed, into walls, into cars, but bounce right back with their dukes up.

An article on gawker.com points out that just one punch could be lethal. And that hitting your head on the ground can be fatal. Bare hands can be deadly. The article also explains that because of this, you should do whatever it takes to stop the attacker—knowing that it might kill him—but at the same time, you shouldn’t deliberately try to kill him.

If your only way out is the nearby 2 x 4, and he’s a bull, then whack him. But geez, no need to impale him with the nearby pitchfork when instead you can just swing the other end into his knees.

How can one punch or a hard fall to concrete kill? The force could jar the brain, tearing a blood vessel, causing rapid bleeding—an acute subdural hematoma or subarachnoid hemorrhage. These don’t exist in Hollywood scripts.

Street Fight Smarts

  • Consider pepper spray, but your brain is your best defense weapon.
  • Park only in well-lit areas and never next to a van.
  • Avoid walking in the dark when possible.
  • If someone demands your car, money or jewelry, give it up.
  • Micro-seconds count. You can always say, “I’m sorry for permanently damaging your eye,” later at the courthouse.
  • Don’t scratch or slap; punch with a closed fist.
  • Gouge at the eyes.
  • Go for the nose.
  • Slam fists into the sides of the neck.
  • Kick at the knees.
  • Ram a hand up between his legs—you know what the destination is.

If he’s “dragging” you to his car, drop to the ground and wrap your arms around his leg to become dead weight. If you think he’ll hit your head at that point, then make a break for it, because at that point, he doesn’t have his arms around you.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Be your Family’s Chief Security Officer

Schlage is all about safety and security. But you need not be in the profession of security analyst to be vigilant about your home and family’s security. And when it comes to security, this doesn’t just mean protection from home invasions and burglaries, but anything and everything, such as online security and guarding against viruses, hackers and other fraudulent invasive cyber crimes that can really mess things up for you or a family member.

1HBe your family and home’s Chief Security Officer, even if your job outside the home is unrelated to security measures. Make sure everything is safe and sound inside your home. This includes child-proofing the house; senior-proofing if there are elderly occupants; and just in general, making the environment safe—e.g., cleaning up spills on the floor to prevent a disastrous fall.

I won’t lie: This kind of vigilance requires a lot of thought to get it rolling. It’s not second nature to many people, but they can work on that element and improve over time so that it’s automatic to put the alarm system on when going to bed.

You must be fierce so that fires don’t start in your home, and so that you don’t end up in the news as a victim of a crime.

Sometimes, a person’s greatest enemy is themselves. So you have all the windows penetration-proofed, triple bolts on all the doors, maybe a protection dog and an extensive video surveillance system…but one second…you get lazy and don’t lock your doors and after you leave and you took the dog with you, then some bad guy chooses your home simply because he saw you leave. Locking your doors, that little extra effort might have saved all kinds of heartache.

So it takes a little extra time to create a safety system, and then stick with it, to prevent bad things from happening. If you can’t make time for safety and security, you’ll have to make time for catastrophe. When you make security a habit, it really doesn’t require that much effort after a while. Lead your family and home as its Chief Security Officer.

Robert Siciliano home security expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Are You as Secure as a Fourth Grader? (Hint: No)

Security is the big picture. Security is in the finest details. Security is software and hardware. Security is awareness, intelligence and vigilance. Security is obvious, is obscure and is theater. Security is a journey and not a destination. It’s a path you take, but not a place you ever really arrive at. Security is an illusion; it’s elusive, attainable and impossible.

Ever have dialogue with a nine-year-old? Kids that age are pretty smart. Most can navigate through life with enough awareness to get themselves in and out of trouble and have the understanding of how things work like a 30-year-old might. They also possess a certain innocence and lack the fear of failure or of retribution due to the fact they’ve yet to be burned as much as a typical 30-year-old has.

It’s that carefree outlook and lack of concern with authority that allows mastermind criminals to walk all over those of us who follow the rules—and those who enforce them.

Which brings us to a nine-year-old Minneapolis boy who was able to get through security screening and onto a Vegas-bound plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport without a ticket. The only reason he was even caught was because he was…well…a boy. His Delta flight was not full, and the flight crew became suspicious mid-flight because the boy was not on the list of unattended minors. The crew contacted Las Vegas police, who met them upon landing and transferred the boy to child protection services.

That’s not all. Our stowaway rode on the train to the airport (probably snuck on there too), stole a bag from a luggage carousel, and went to an airport restaurant, where he chewed and screwed (dined and dashed) the restaurant out of their money.

I’m not done telling his story. Two weeks prior to the airport incident, he snuck into a water park, stole a truck, smashed it, and was caught driving on a highway and pulled over. And that’s just what was reported when he was caught.

So if you think your government, the TSA, Homeland Security or the police can protect your personal security—or your bank, your credit card company or all the organizations that have your information on file can protect your identity—then you’re no smarter than a fourth grader.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Fighting the bad guy…and winning

If someone were to jump on you and start whacking away, what would you do? Would you fight back? Run? Curl up into a ball and beg for mercy?

1SDDo you have a plan? Have you even thought about what your reaction would be? When I ask my audiences these questions, most of them shake their heads and admit they are pretty much clueless as to what their response would be.

First off, running is perfectly fine. It’s the first thing a deer does when it sees the predatory human. Begging for mercy is fine too, as long as you are planning an escape at some point and not begging with the intention of giving your attacker control over your life.

Fighting is going from defensive to offensive. And this is a strategy one reserves when backed in a corner or facing a life-threatening assault—meaning if someone wants your stuff, hand it over. If an attacker wants to hurt you and running isn’t an option, then fighting your way to safety might be a better option.

NBC29 reports, “Charlottesville police say two men picked the wrong students to rob at gunpoint. The robbery suspects are behind bars, badly beaten by their victims. Both suspects have severe injuries to their faces, but the victims—we’re told—are doing just fine. The pair who allegedly attempted an armed robbery had the tables turned on them Tuesday night, becoming victims themselves, so to speak.”

They had guns. And the “victims” fought them. Crazy. I’d run…I think?

And WSMV reports, “A fencing instructor foiled a robbery this week, and he was even dressed to do battle as he chased down the suspected thieves. The instructor then jumped out of his car, grabbed his fencing sword (called an épée) and started charging toward the suspects.”

Dude has a sword!

The point of all this boils down to the fact that you, as a potential victim, have a lot more control over these situations than you think. The Charlottesville students had a certain mindset that they would not be victims. The fencing instructor had prepared his mind to deal with dangerous situations all his life.

Prepare your mind, your body and your home to deal with whatever situation may come up. Take self-defense courses and think about what your response would be. Invest in a home security system. Being prepared starts with making a decision that you will not be a victim.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Back to College Campus Security

Whether getting out of high school and entering college, or if you’re a veteran starting another year of college, there are 2 absolutes remain true: 1. You will more than likely get into a situation where your security will be at risk and 2. You aren’t fully prepared to react or respond to the situation.

Why? First, life can be hard and a hard life makes people a little nutty and they do bad things to other people. Second, your mom and dad really didn’t get a formal education on personal security so they sent you off into the world with the limited information they had. Most people regardless of age aren’t prepared. Throw lots of alcohol into the mix and it gets even dicey-er.

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month. The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is the landmark federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.

Do your research into the crime climate of the learning institution you plan on attending.

Don’t sit idly back and hope everything will be OK.

Educational institutions aren’t meant to be secure fortresses, which makes them vulnerable to predators

Directly call the institutions security office and get statistics for on and off campus crimes. You want to know exactly what has taken place in the last 3-5 years.

If you go to the campus have an onsite meeting with the security office. It is in your best interest, and required by law for colleges to offer personal security training for their students.

Determine what campus security personnel and technology systems are in place to head off danger.

 

Whether living on or off campus invest in your personal security. Wireless home alarms and portable home security systems are cost effective and add an additional layer of protection. Security cameras are inexpensive and can greatly enhance your security too.

 

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussingADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures