Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Crime Stop USA's Bob Byrnes is almost constantly on the move as he tells District 7 employees how to avoid being the victims of criminal attacks.

Caltrans to Criminals: Go Pick on Some Other Guys!
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 12/2009

Safety seminars provide tools and strategies for foiling potential attacks.

The predators are out there 24/7, near your office, your home, your shopping mall. Will you be their prey, or will it be someone else?

That’s entirely up to you, says Bob Byrnes, of Crime Stop USA. Byrnes gave a series of presentations at the district combining safety tips with a hilarious stand-up comedy routine. Nearly 500 employees signed up for the seminars, which were sponsored by Administration Deputy Duncan McIntosh. Crime Stop USA previously made this presentation to the district in 1998.

“These seminars were set up to provide general personal safety information to staff and building tenants to hopefully prevent anyone from becoming a victim of criminals and/or persons trying to harm others,” said District 7 Safety and Health Chief Junius Pierson.

Predatory humans, like their animal counterparts, look for the easiest targets – the weak, those separated from the herd, and anyone who’s just not paying attention. The way to avoid being prey is to look like a risk. Byrnes doesn’t really recommend you wear motorcycle boots and leather jackets and carry a switchblade but he does suggest you look like you would not be a willing victim.

For example, when you walk to your car, have your keys out. Don’t stand at the car door rummaging through purses or pockets. “Keep your keys in one hand and a chemical deterrent in the other,” Byrnes says. “You are 50 percent less likely to be a target if you have your keys out.” He also recommends that if you have a purse with a strap, you carry it in front of you.

Above all, to avoid abductions DON’T GET IN THEIR VEHICLE! “More than 95 percent of the time, you will survive if you stay out of the car,” Byrnes says, noting that even if the assailant shoots you, you are still more likely to survive than you would if abducted and driven to a remote spot to (most likely) be killed.

Further tips: In an attempted carjacking, give up the car (or “if you work for Caltrans, give them the truck”); in an attempted street robbery, give them “whatever they want;” and if someone is following you, “Yell fire.” If your car breaks down by the side of the road, move over to the passenger seat so that a potential predator will think there’s another person who could be coming back. In case of cell phone reception failure, stay in the locked car and be provident enough to have a Call Police banner handy.

In an attempted sexual assault, “don’t remain mute,” Byrnes stressed. “Try to reveal things about yourself and communicate with the attacker,” who is less likely to carry out his act if he is forced to confront a woman’s humanity. Should this fail, try to get close enough to his face to push in his eyeballs or go for his testicles.

Byrnes recommends (and sells) several anti-crime devices, including pepper spray key chains and home models, a “swedge,” which looks kind of like a doorstop but, when placed inside a door or window not only emits a piercing alarm but puts up enough pressure to make it impossible to open from the outside; and the previously-mentioned Call Police signs.

“The emphasis of these trainings is on crime prevention,” Byrnes says. “Even if we hire more police, we will run out of money before we run out of crooks.”

For further information or to order products, contact Byrnes at 888-577-7273.

Bob Byrnes (R) instructs employee Clive Russell in the finer points of crime survival. Look out, predator! Bob Byrnes takes a double barrel approach with  two Crime stop products: pepper spray in his right hand and a A closer look at the products: a small, or window, lock in the foreground with a larger door stop in back. In the far back, a home-size pepper spray canister.