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Family Safety: Carjacking & Vehicle Safety

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Thousands of unsuspecting motorists are car jacked each year. Carjacking is a violent form of motor vehicle theft. It is a serious threat to one’s personal safety because the perpetrator uses force to steal the vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle occupants are kidnapped during a carjacking. The worst case scenario occurs when victims are transported to a secondary crime scene, which is usually more dangerous than the original confrontation.

Many people mistakenly assume that carjacking crimes occur only in blighted areas. Carjackings can and do occur in all types of communities of varying socio-economic status. On July 19th, a couple was carjacked at gunpoint on Watchung Avenue in Chatham. And in May, The Cranford Patch reported on a carjacking that took place on Raritan Road in Cranford where the victim was threatened at knifepoint.

The recommended approach to remaining safe while driving is to remain cautious, use common sense, and educate yourself on techniques used by carjackers and what to do in a threatening situation. In any dangerous situation, you are going to fall into one of two categories: you will either have absolutely no idea what to do in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, or you will have some idea of what to do. Obviously, you want to have a good idea of what actions to take.

In order to form a plan of action, we must first understand some facts about carjacking crimes. According to a 9 year study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a weapon was used in nearly three-quarters (74%) of carjacking victimizations. Guns and knives were the most popular weapons chosen by thieves. Nearly one-third (32%) of victims of completed carjackings were injured.

A majority (68%) of carjacking incidents occurred at night (6 p.m. – 6 a.m.). 44% of carjacking incidents occurred in an open area, such as on the street or near public transportation and 24% occurred in parking lots or garages or near commercial places such as stores, gas stations, restaurants/bars, etc.

Some of the most common techniques employed by carjackers include:

1.) The Bump: The attacker bumps the victim’s vehicle from behind. The victim gets out to assess the damage and exchange information. This is the tactic that was used to carjack the victims in Chatham.

2.) Good Samaritan: The attacker(s) stage what appears to be an accident. They may simulate an injury. The victim stops to assist, and the vehicle is taken.

3.) The Ruse: The vehicle behind the victim flashes its lights or the driver waves to get the victim’s attention. The attacker tries to indicate that there is a problem with the victim’s car. The victim pulls over and the vehicle is taken.

4.) The Trap: Carjackers use surveillance to follow the victim home. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway, the attacker pulls up behind and blocks the victim’s car.

Awareness and avoidance are always the first steps in remaining safe, so let’s go over some common sense tips to reduce your risk of being carjacked:

– Drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up. Keep your cell phone within reach.

– When stopped in traffic, look for possible escape routes. Leave enough room between your vehicle and the car in front of you to maneuver easily enough to escape.

– When stopped at a red light, use your rear-view and side mirrors to monitor your surroundings. This makes it less likely for an attacker to surprise you.

– Always keep your cell phone close by and have emergency numbers pre-programmed.

Be wary of panhandlers or people asking for directions and handing out flyers.

– If you are bumped in traffic, be suspicious of the accident. Contact the police immediately.

– Don’t pull over in any isolated area. Get the other drivers attention and motion to him to follow you, and drive to a gas station or busy parking lot before getting out.

– Be cautious of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car. It’s okay to get help, just be alert and cautious.

If all else fails and you find yourself confronted by an armed carjacker, do not resist! Give up your keys or money (if demanded) without resistance. Never argue, fight, or chase the carjacker. You can be seriously injured. In a vast majority of carjacking scenarios, the vehicle is the primary target. There is a good chance that the victim might not be harmed. However, if you cannot escape in your vehicle, it is imperative that you get out of the vehicle right away. Remember, non-confrontation is often the best response. The object is not to thwart the criminal, but to survive!

In the wake of a carjacking, get to a safe place and call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information.

*Statistics and tips compiled from various sources including: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Apex Self-Defense, C. McGoey  (Crime Doctor ).

Martial Arts in Union County, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

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July 25, 2013 Posted by | Personal Safety | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show Up For Yourself

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“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

Do you have anyone in your life who you can count on…to come up with excuses? You know the type of person I’m talking about. These folks seem to have absolutely the worst luck in the world. When it’s time for them to show up for you they have a flat tire, a sprained ankle, or a sewer pipe that broke and flooded their basement. If you made plans a month ago to get together, some minor calamity will befall them hours before you’re supposed to get together. These folks always seem to contract a mystery illness, have automotive problems, or random commitments that pop up at the last minute. I’m going to guess that we all have had experience with these types of people and eventually we come to the inevitable conclusion that we cannot depend on them to show up for us.

It is certainly disappointing and frustrating to find out that you can’t depend on a friend to come through for you, even if it’s just engaging in purely social things. However, it’s even more unfortunate when we fail to come through for ourselves.

Much like our flaky friends, we can become experts at making up lame excuses to avoid taking action. We tend to do this by justifying our reasons with logic, when deep down we know we are letting ourselves down. Naturally, this can occur in any area of life and I find it is a major challenge when it comes to health, fitness, and proper diet.

Human beings can justify almost anything within our own minds. Whether it’s purchasing some gadget or toy we don’t really need (and won’t use more than once) or parking next to a fire hydrant because, “it’s just going to be for a minute.” These are small things with minor consequences, but the habit of justifying laziness and apathy is invariably fatal to success.

For example, let’s imagine that as part of my New Year’s Resolution to get in shape, I committed to go the gym and exercise three times per week. And today, when my alarm clock went off at 6:00 a.m. I went through a series of reasons why it was definitely not a good idea to go to the gym today.

Perhaps my inner dialogue could go something like this:

“I did not sleep well at all last night and it would be pointless to even try to work out. I’m just not going to be into it at all. I’ll just go tomorrow instead.”

“Plus, I’m still a little bit sore from my last workout and I don’t want to overdo it. After all, if I hurt myself I won’t be able to train at all.”

“And, I think I’m starting to feel a little bit of a cold coming on, and working out will only make it worse.”

“Oh, and last time I went to the gym on a Wednesday it was way too crowded! I don’t want to have to wait to use any of the equipment. I’ll be there all day.”

The challenge is the potential truth in all these statements and that’s why it becomes easy to justify laying in bed. However, deep down I know none of those reasons is serious enough to keep me from training if I really wanted to keep my commitment to myself. The reality of the situation is I want to lay in bed because it is a lot easier to stay in a warm, comfortable bed than it is to drag myself to the gym in freezing weather so I can punish myself with cardio and weights for 90 minutes. However, admitting that I just want to sleep in makes me a lazy bum, while skipping because I am sleep deprived, sick and sore does not.

Way too often that’s how it is with the reasons we give ourselves. We have the reasons that “sound good” that we tell ourselves and then we have the real reasons that we dare not admit. And the problem is it becomes easier with each time we make excuses and don’t show up for ourselves. It becomes a habit. Pretty soon any old excuse will do and our health, fitness, and goals in all areas of our lives suffer because of it.

“The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.” – Dr. Robert Anthony

I believe successful people have an uncanny ability to be honest with themselves. I encourage you to make a real effort to be honest with yourself next time you plan on ditching your workout, straying from your healthy diet, or failing to show up for yourself. Ultimately, no one is going to force you to take care of yourself, no one is going to pursue your goals for you, and no one can make you show up for yourself. It’s up to you.

Martial Arts in Union County, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Karate Union County NJ – Martial Arts for Life

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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I Have No Time For This…

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It’s January and that means droves of people who have resolved to exercise and get in shape in 2013 are joining gyms, buying yoga mats, and ordering running shoes. Unfortunately, many of the “New Year’s resolution crowd” will abandon their goal of living a healthier lifestyle in the not too distant future. According to psychology professor John Norcross, the success rate of folks who resolve to lose weight starting January 1st is a mere 19% after 24 months. Further, 60% of all resolutions are dropped by the six-month mark.

While those statistics are not particularly encouraging, research also indicates that those who make resolutions are still 10 times more likely to successfully change their lifestyle than those who do not. If you have taken the plunge and made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle this year, I’d like to congratulate you on taking the first step. The next step is to follow through with your commitment and stay the course.

Many people who fail to stick with their resolution to exercise regularly fall into the trap of making excuses.  And of course, the habit of making excuses is invariably deadly to success. There are 3 main excuses most people fall back on when it comes to giving up on their fitness-based New Year’s resolution.

“The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.” – Dr. Robert Anthony

Reason #1: “I don’t have the time to stick to my work out plan.”

Time is probably the biggest reason people give when they talk about why they can’t seem to stick to their workouts. Unfortunately, time is rarely the problem. The problem is almost always a simple matter of priorities. The challenge for many folks is they prioritize leisure time and recreation above their own health and well being. For example, according to A.C. Nielsen and a Gallup poll, the average American watches over 5 hours of TV each day and spends 66 hours on the internet each month (including 7 hours on Facebook)!*

I believe people who enjoy success in any area of their lives have an uncanny ability to be completely honest with themselves. The next time you find yourself using the time excuse, take a good hard look at how you are actually spending your time and see if you are completely booked up for 168 hours every week.

If your schedule is such that you absolutely cannot commit to joining a gym or attending a class, could you find 10 minutes out of your day to do some form of exercise? Most cable television subscriptions have on demand workouts for free. Video-sharing websites such as YouTube have literally thousands of body-weight workouts that can be done with no equipment and very little time – and they are FREE! Remember, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.

Reason #2: “I have a bad (insert body part here).”

If you’re over 25 you probably have at least one joint or body part that has been injured, and the older you get, the more things will ache (especially after working out).  Many people who haven’t worked out in years expect their body to perform and recover similarly to when they were in their physical prime. This is an unrealistic expectation. Accept that working out can aggravate orthopedic issues and temper your workouts accordingly.

If you have some serious physical issues and certain types of exercises are impossible, find something else that is lower impact. If you have arthritis in your knee, running is probably a bad idea. If you have issues with your shoulder, doing heavy free weight exercises are going to be out. I believe there is a workout plan out there for everybody, whether it’s yoga, tai chi, swimming or something else. Your physician can often make suggestions based on your pre-existing conditions.  Don’t hide behind old injuries and physical challenge, simply work around them.

Reason #3: “I never see any results.”

In any undertaking, progress leads to motivation. As human beings, we can quickly become discouraged when we feel as though we are not improving. However, most people expect instant gratification and don’t even give themselves a chance to see any measurable results. I like to refer to this problem as the “instant gratification trap.”

We live in a day and age when almost anything we want is at our fingertips. If we need information on any subject it is available in a matter of seconds on our smart phone or our computer. If we want to find a product we need, find out how much it costs and have it shipped to our home, we can do it in a matter of minutes. We don’t even have to leave the house to rent a movie anymore! This means collectively we tend to lack patience.

Furthermore, we are bombarded with pills, potions and diets that promise quick results with minimal work. And let’s not forget about the 90 day miracle workout plans. Notice that the words, “RESULTS NOT TYPICAL” or “RESULTS MAY VARY” are tiny but never absent from advertisements for these products. My point is we are now conditioned to expect results instantly and with minimal effort. When it comes to diet and exercise, this is completely unrealistic.

You can make progress in 30 days and you can make more progress in 90 days. However, give yourself a minimum of 6 months of consistent training and proper diet before you judge your results from any program.

When you refuse to make excuses and give up on your goals, you refuse to be denied and you will succeed. I’d like to wish you the best of luck in 2013 on all your goals!

*http://www.statisticbrain.com/television-watching-statistics/

*http://www.statisticbrain.com/internet-statistics/

Martial Arts in Union County, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Karate Union County NJ – Martial Arts for Life

January 10, 2013 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment