There has been a surge of social media posts in the local Greater Susquehanna Valley lately of women and their children being stalked in local shopping centers. There are a few things that can be done in order to help keep you and your loved ones safe before it ever gets to the point of a physical abduction or attack.

Here are 3 powerful tips to help keep you and your children safe. Although these are basic strategies and ideas, they are a great start toward saving the life of those you care about most, including yourself.

1. The first tip is to pay attention. Keep an eye on your surroundings and your children. It takes less than 10 seconds in a public location such as Wal-Mart for someone to grab your child and leave without anyone even noticing. It is essential that you keep your children within eyesight at all times and never let them get more than a few steps away from you.

It is also important to pay attention to your surroundings and anything that seems out of place or out of the norm. One tactic that is used, for example, is to place a $100 bill in the windshield wiper of your vehicle. As you are distracted chasing the money they grab you or your child and run. If you notice that someone or a group of people seem to be watching you and following you around the store it is essential that you don't ignore it. It could be what saves your life.

2. If you notice something out of the ordinary you should immediately get yourself and your kids to safety. This doesn't mean jumping in your car and running home. It means getting to the front counter or help desk and informing them of what is happening. You may be wrong and you may appear paranoid, however, it is better to appear paranoid than to ignore it out of fear of looking silly. Ignoring it could leave a mountain of regret so get past your fear of looking stupid and go tell someone who can help.

3. Start paying attention to situations and opportunities that someone would have to get to you or your children. Where in your life do you travel that would be the perfect location to grab you or your children? Do your children go to the bus stop alone? Do you work some place that has an open parking lot making it easy to grab you there? Do you drop your children off at after school activities without walking them in and out?

It is essential to evaluate those parts of your life that make you vulnerable and open to surprise attack. Do not be lulled into a sense of security simply because you believe it cannot happen to you or those you love. Being in denial is the biggest reason most people never take action, and why those same people end up being a victim.

Sadly the majority of women who take our rape prevention classes are women who have already been a victim and never want it to happen again. We wish more women would enroll into these programs BEFORE they become a victim so that we can provide them with the necessary skills to prevent that from happening.

Take advantage of our 6-week special right now in order to gain some basic skills for keeping you and your loved ones safe. This program includes:

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