A Former Police Chief Shares 10 Must-Know Safety Tips for Women

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

It seems almost every day we’re bombarded with news of women who are victims of harassment, assault, or even worse crimes. Since we hear about incidents almost daily, it’s easy to overlook the significance of each individual story. The fact is, no one ever believes they will be the victim of an attack, but the truth is, it could be any one of us.

My 24-year-old assistant, Natalie, is such a blessing to me! I honestly couldn’t do what I do without her. The posts we’ve written together continue to be some of the most popular posts on my website! In fact, our What Your 20-Something Wants to Tell You and Needs to Hear From You post still gets dozens of views every day! Also, she has a ton of input on the Gifts for Teens & Young Adults Holiday Gift Guide, so that’s awesome, right?

family of five dressed in coats outside

What you may not know about Natalie is that her father, Rick Pyle, is the retired Chief of Police of the Town of Highland Park and an FBI Academy graduate. As you might imagine, he raised her to be aware of her surroundings at all times, as well as teaching her how to stay safe in the case of unforeseen situations.

When Natalie and I were talking recently, she mentioned how few of her friends (and how few women in general) don’t seem to be aware of the common-sense safety tips that she was raised to know. We decided that the topic of personal safety would be an important and significant one to share here on Empty Nest Blessed.

headshot of rick pyle, former police chief for the town of Highland Park, texas
Chief Rick Pyle

Chief Pyle has an extensive background in law enforcement and public safety and now works as a private investigator for Sierra Delta, LLC. He kindly offered to lend his expertise, and today, he and Natalie are sharing ten must-know safety tips for women. I’m so grateful to both of them for sharing this important information.

Our hope is that you would learn from this post, share it with your daughters, mothers, and friends, and through it, gain greater awareness of your personal safety.

Safety Tips for Women #1: Be Aware

This is by far the most important line of defense.


A Distracted Person Is An Easy Target

Life is so fast-paced and busy these days! Our minds may not be focused on what we’re doing or where we’re going. Whether people are walking, sitting in their cars, driving, or entering their homes, they frequently have their heads down paying attention to their phones, unaware of who or what is around them.

In addition, many people, especially young adults, do everything with their earbuds in. It is impossible to pay attention to your surroundings when all you can hear is your music, podcast, video, or phone call. Keep your earbuds out of your ears when you’re in a potentially vulnerable situation.

Safety Tips for Women #2: Trust Your Sixth Sense

Humans were blessed with the gift of the gut instinct, sometimes called the sixth sense. Unfortunately, many people overlook this instinct or even label it paranoid or judgmental. The truth is, if you feel a situation or person could be unsafe, it’s often best to trust this feeling. If you feel that someone is following you, or acting strangely or suspiciously, report them. Better safe than sorry!

Safety Tips for Women #3: Never Get Too Comfortable

It’s important to remember that just because you’re in a familiar setting does not mean that you are safer than anywhere else. The area around your home, your favorite stores, your favorite walking route, etc. are all areas where you may feel at ease, but they aren’t necessarily safer than anywhere else. Stay alert and aware.

Safety Tips for Women #4: Buddy Up

three women walking together

Avoid walking alone. When you are out, especially in the dark, it is best to have someone with you. If you must be out alone, try to stay in well-lit, public areas or carry a pocket-sized, high-powered LED flashlight.

Safety Tips for Women #5: Always Be Prepared

When walking alone, make sure to carry some sort of self-defense tool, like pepper spray, a taser, or a personal alarm. Keep it at the ready, not tucked away in your purse.

Safety Tips for Women #6: Don’t Be Flashy

Never be flashy with items like your smartphone, purse, or jewelry when you’re out walking. It can serve as an open invitation.

Safety Tips for Women #7: Car Safety

  • When walking to your car at night, have the key out and ready to go before exiting the building – that way you don’t have to dig in your purse when standing by your car.
  • Immediately lock your car doors once you’re inside and begin to drive. It is not safe to sit in an unlocked car and turn your attention to something else! 
  • If you feel uneasy, ask someone trustworthy, such as a store employee or security personnel, to accompany you to your car.
  • If someone in a car or outside of a store asks you for help, get an employee to assist them.
  • If anyone asks for assistance with car issues when you’re alone, stay in your car and offer to call for help. Do not get out and help them.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and that you have sufficient fuel before departing. Check the spare tire and make sure it is properly inflated, in case you have a flat tire.
  • Always lock your car doors. Store your belongings out of sight and in the trunk if possible.
  • Consider installing blind spot mirrors on your vehicle.

Safety Tips for Women #8: Communicate

  • Make sure your phone is charged before leaving the house. If possible, let someone close to you know where you are going and your approximate timeline.
  • Pre-dial 911 if you find yourself in a situation where you feel you may need to call for help quickly.

Safety Tips for Women #9: Protect Your Home

  • When leaving the house, leave a car visibly parked in the driveway so it looks like someone is home.
  • Always lock your doors, even if you feel that you live in a safe neighborhood, or you’ll just be gone momentarily.
  • Look into purchasing a motion sensor light system for your home.

  • If you don’t have an alarm system, consider purchasing one. They are more affordable than you may think.

Safety Tips for Women #10: If You’re Harassed or Attacked

  • If you are harassed, project confidence and be vocal. Say loudly what is going on, go to a public space, and ask for help.
  • Escape is always your best option. Scream and run when possible.
  • If push comes to shove, fight like your life depends on it because there is a good chance it does. Do not be afraid to deal with the potential legal repercussions of fighting or defending yourself. Your priority is to keep yourself safe.
  • Never get into an attacker’s car if they order you to, even if they pull a gun – they usually don’t want to shoot you. They want you to get into the car. Scream, run, and fight with all you have to avoid complying and getting into the car.
  • If they tell you they won’t hurt you, don’t believe them. Most bad guys are also liars.

Natalie and I thought this post was so important to share! Many thanks to her dad, Chief Rick Pyle, of Sierra Delta, LLC, for his wisdom and insight.

Feeling vulnerable is frightening. Our heart is that this post would help empower you and equip you with the knowledge you need to stay safe.

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  1. Great and important post, especially for young people. I’m always amazed by all the kids I see on bikes and skateboards with earbuds on!

    1. Laura,
      I’m so glad you found it helpful! We thought it was so important to share!

  2. Thank you Suzy and Natalie! These are excellent tips that are simple and need to be second nature. I am sharing with my daughters and friends!
    Have a great day,

    1. Robben,
      Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you found it helpful and encouraging!
      xoxo Suzy

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