It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when you are following a routine.
Walking home from school and searching for your car in a parking lot are daily occurrences for most teenagers. To pass the time while they walk, many teens listen to music, text or talk on their phone. In such a distracted state, it is simple for an attacker to gain the advantage of surprise.
There are many steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming the victim of an attack.
Be aware of your surroundings, no matter how often you take a certain route home from school or work.
Avoid shortcuts through alleys and unlit areas. Even if it takes longer, walking along main streets is the safer option.
Have your keys in your hand by the time you reach your car, instead of having to stand still and search through your bag when you get there.
Immediately lock your car doors when you get into your car.
When listening to music through headphones while you walk, keep the music at a low volume so that you can still hear any cars or people who approach from behind you.
When in doubt, just remember the age-old adage: It's better to be safe than sorry.
Maggie White is a member of the Teens in the Newsroom Program.