Jacqueline Sit, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- It happens when you least expect it-- your innocence taken away in seconds. That's how fast it can take to become a victim of assault, and May is the worst month for assaults in Oklahoma.
With the help of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's defensive tactic coordinator Sgt. Jason Ruegge, News 9 hit the streets to check out the three most dangerous places for women.
Starting at number three, women can be vulnerable in one of the most common places-- gas pumps.
"Criminals are like cockroaches, they don't want to be in the light," Ruegge said.
Ruegge said thieves are lurking and looking for women who may be caught off guard.
"We're inside of our bubble. We're not looking at everything around us at the potential danger. Somebody can walk right up on you and you never see it coming," Ruegge said.
Don't make yourself a target. Ruegge said when you pump your gas, keep your back to the car.
"Their car door standing wide open, you know, a purse or billfold is on the front seat, they're on their $300 telephone and they're not paying attention to who's paying attention to them," Ruegge said.
Keep your eye out for trouble and hide your purse underneath the car seat.
Ruegge also suggested before you fill up, be sure you keep your door shut and make sure you keep your cell phone and your keys in your pocket, so you can keep your hands free.
The number two most high risk area is store and mall parking lots.
"So we're going to the car and life is happening. She's talking on the cell phone, her purse is exposed and she has no idea what's going on anywhere around her," Ruegge said. "This is the time when she's going to be a victim. It doesn't take much to have someone to put her all the way in the car and now we're out of the light."
Ruegge said park near a light and if possible, walk with a buddy or a crowd. Ruegge also said stay in the middle and away from the cars so you don't become an easy target.
"That way if somebody is going to come to me, they're going to have to come a long ways to get to me," Ruegge said.
When you walk, Ruegge said keep your head up, walk with purpose and make sure you keep your purse close to your body
"The question I always ask is, what is in that purse that's worth you getting hurt?" Ruegge said.
And the most dangerous place, experts say, is right in your own home.
"We've identified a spooky spot, if you pull in the drive way, but you don't pull all the way up, a bad guy can be hiding right here. You can't see him from the drive way," Ruegge said.
Scan your surroundings and know your neighbors. Inside your home keep your lights on, lock all your doors and windows and invest in a security alarm.
"When the alarm is set, at least we know, if our exterior windows and doors, if they're open or attacked, there's some advanced notice," Ruegge said.
Outside, keep your trees trimmed and keep the bad guys away.
"Complacency is the real evil. The minute we believe we're not going to be the target, it's going to happen to somebody else, it couldn't happen in our neighborhood, it probably will," Ruegge said.