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Safety At Your Fingertips


  • Criminal Sexual Assault Season Is Right Around The Corner

    Here you are, preparing for summer 2018, pruning your wardrobe of heavy garments for lighter clothes to enjoy the summer. At the same time, criminals are preparing to add to their collection of destroyed lives. Within a span of a week during the month of April, several assaults have occurred throughout the city of Chicago, and I’m sure some have gone unreported. Physical attacks on men and women is a common occurrence in urban areas, so why not focus on refusing to be a victim.  During the past week or so several attacks in the City of Chicago have drawn my attention as to how vulnerable people really are.

    • On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood a woman was attacked as she walked along the 1200 block of West Webster Street. She was approached from behind and suffered multiple stab wounds. This incident took place, near Racine and Webster. This case is currently under investigation with no arrest made.
    • On Tuesday, April 18, 2018 a woman was sexually assaulted. A man who was riding a bicycle sexually assaulted a 51-year-old woman in the 5700 block of South May Street, in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. The unidentified male attacked the woman from behind, grabbed her by the hair, and pulled her into a vacant lot where he sexually assaulted her. This case is currently under investigation with no arrest made.
    • On Tuesday, April 18, 2018 a woman was attacked while getting into her vehicle in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood. An unidentified male attacked her at 5:00 p.m. and attempted to sexually assault her. This happened in the 3500 block of West 80th Place. This case is under investigation, and at this time no arrest has been made.
    • On Thursday, April 19, 2018, a 20-year-old woman was sexually assaulted as she stood on the Brown Line platform, on the Northwest Side of Chicago. According to reports, a man walked up to her and forcibly began kissing her on the neck, mouth, and tried to forcibly put his hands down her pants. The suspect fled the scene with the woman’s mobile phone and wallet. This incident is also under investigation, and no arrest have been made.  

    One must wonder, what will it take to put a stop to these attacks? One thing for sure there is only so much that the Chicago Police Department can do. It is fiscally impossible to have an officer on every street corner. Neighborhood safety organizations, whose mission is to dissemination of safety education, and the reporting of suspicious activities. These organizations do what they can with their limited resources. What is the answer? Protecting yourself with pepper spray. Pepper spray is non-lethal and effective if used properly to stop an attack.

    We should not be relying on others for our own safety because it is your responsibility to exercise personal safety. Rather then walk with all your attention on your cellular phone, look around, see what is going on around you.  Anyone wishing to do harm has the tactical advantage, and their action is always faster than your reaction. This is where preparation comes in, you must be ready for the attack or even better, maintain a safe distance from anything not right.

    As a Safety Consultant/Trainer with SAYF Consulting, I recommend 12 feet minimum between you and a stranger, because at that distance you have two options, fight or flight. These two options are better than no options. Being prepared to act shifts the advantage in your favor for a couple of reasons, a) the attacker has no clue how you will react, and b) the attacker is not looking to draw attention.

    This is why it is important to maintain awareness no matter how safe you think the area may be.  Attacks on men and women have occurred in areas of the city where you wouldn't expect it, for example, Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, Bucktown, Irving Park, Ukraine Village, Uptown, Logan Square, Lincoln Park, Hyde Park, Streeterville, and many other parts of the City of Chicago. No place is too safe.

    Taking a self-defense pepper spray class will provide safety protection, at a safe distance.  Taking a pepper spray self-defense class will condition you to maintain awareness, avoid dangerous encounters, and prepare you to effectively use pepper spray to repel an attack so you could safely escape from a dangerous situation. Pepper Spray Training is like riding a bicycle, once you learn how to properly defend yourself with pepper spray, you’ll never forget.     

    Never depend on others for your safety. After all, you only have one life. If you have any questions about pepper spray self-defense training, visit www.sayfconsulting.com for details.

    Nelson Velazquez, SAYF Consulting.

  • Protecting Against an Home Invasion

    Protecting Yourself in the Event of A Home Invasion

    With hundreds of thousands of home invasions occurring each year in the United States, I'd like to address the issue and discuss how a homeowner can protect his or her family with Pepper Spray, a non-lethal home-defense weapon, during a home invasion. Pepper Spray is an effective tool in the protection of a home during a home invasion.

    A home invasion occurs when a criminal or criminals illegally enter a home, apartment, or hotel room to commit a crime, while the homeowner, renter, or hotel guest is within the property.

    Most home invasions occur at night, while the home is occupied. This is the most vulnerable time for the family as this type of crime is unexpected, and the family is most vulnerable.

    The criminals rarely work alone, and the targeting can include single women, senior citizens, or someone involved in the drug enterprise.

    The criminal may have been a former employee of the victim, a service provider, or the target could have caught the attention of the criminal due to the wearing of expensive jewelry, or driving an expensive vehicle.

    Methods used by these criminals include gaining access through the front door or garage door. They tend to use a rouse to have the homeowner or family member to open the door. For example, they may impersonate a delivery person, someone in the neighborhood looking for directions, or pretend they were involved in an accident near the residence. At times they have been known to kick the door open to gain quick entry as well.

    Once inside they rely on fear and intimidation to gain cooperation.

    Items that these criminals bring with them are ropes, handcuffs, and masking tape to control their victims. Their objective is to force the homeowner to provide access to safes, jewelry, cash, and credit cards. They have been known to spend several hours in the home, which unfortunately increases the chances of molestation to the homeowner or a family member.

    The best defense is to keep an intruder out by hardening the home with secure locks, secured windows, perimeter alarm sensors, or a large barking dog. However, once they have entered the home, the second line of defense should be moving the family away into a safe area of the home by creating a barrier.

    A method of accomplishing this is with the use of a Pepper Spray Fogger. A Pepper Spray Fogger can be discharged up to 25 feet away, fully engulfing the intruders, exposing them to the burning, inflammatory effects of Pepper Spray. Pepper Spray fogger delivers a pungent punch, causing the invaders eyes to slam shut, mucus membranes to swell, uncontrollable coughing, and intense feeling of burning of the skin. These effects force the intruders to flee, or provide the homeowner the opportunity to escape.

    As I previously mentioned, hardening the perimeter of the home is rule one, having a family discussion with family members on the topic of home safety is rule 2, and having the tools to defend yourself and family is rule number three.

    When you understand how the criminal thinks, a family safety plan in place will reduce most of these types of occurrences.

    The key is in knowing how to effectively use Pepper Spray, and being mentally ready to act.

    Nelson Velazquez, Safety Consultant, and Certified Pepper Spray Instructor


  • The Dangers of Driving for A Ride Sharing Company

    Recently a LYFT Driver was stabbed to death by a passenger. He was stabbed after driving a few blocks from where he had picked her up. She was armed with a knife and a machete, which she had stolen from a nearby Walmart in the Town of Lincolnwood, IL. The driver was repeatedly stabbed before stopping the vehicle to escape on foot; only to die as a result of his injuries.  In this vicious attack, the driver never had a chance. He did not have the tools to defend himself.

    According to the LYFT’s CEO and CO-Founder, Logan Green, safety is LYFT's top priority, with a goal of making all rides safe, comfortable and reliable.  LYFT safety measures include the following: criminal background checks, DMV checks, vehicle inspections, primary liability insurance coverage, zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy, and a star rating system. During an incident the LYFT driver is to call 911, then call the Lyft's Critical Response Line. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week service, where they will return the drivers call.  Doesn't sound like this policy would have helped the deceased driver.  In addition, LYFT has a "no weapon policy" that prohibits the driver or passenger from legally carrying any defensive weapons. Lyft reserves sole judgement on what constitutes a "weapon."  If you were the driver, would this policy make you feel safe? Not by a long shot. In fact LYFT encourages riders to contact them if they witness a weapon in a LYFT vehicle. I don't know  about you but this policy falls short on addressing a "life or death" situation that a driver can find him or herself in.

    In my opinion, a driver should be allowed to carry pepper spray for personal protection. To protect yourself from an attacker in the back seat I would recommend the driver carry a pepper spray fogger for self defense.  It will provide the driver an opportunity to stop the attack. A fogger will cover the entire back seat area without the need of accuracy.  In addition, I would recommend to a driver when attacked from behind, to immediately stop the vehicle by slamming the breaks, and with the left hand, or whichever hand you are comfortable using, point the cannister towards the back seat area and spray away, then immediately exit the vehicle to avoid contamination of the pepper spray. The rear passenger would be overwhelmed by the effects of the pepper spray. Pepper spray is a non-lethal device that irritates the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing, runny nose, and causes the eyes to slam shut.  This will provide the driver the opportunity to escape, and to call 911 when safe to do so. In order to be effective, you must carry pepper spray in a ready to use position. That means in your firing hand, to use in a moments notice.

    In November of 2015 an Uber driver was attacked by a back seat passenger. The attacker punched, slapped, and pulled the driver's hair. Fortunately, the driver was armed with pepper spray and used the pepper spray to stop the attack.

    Being a driver for a ride sharing company should not require you to be  defenseless. Everyone has a right to earn a living, and a right to defend themselves from an attack. Allowing a driver to carry pepper spray will go along way in combating crimes against Uber and LYFT Drivers.

    My name is Nelson Velazquez, a retired police officer, owner of Safety At Your Fingertips, and President of SAYF Consulting. SAYF Consulting teaches civilians how to effectively use pepper spray, and have the mindset to repel an attack. With proper training, you can learn how to avoid a physical assault.
    For pepper spray training visit www.sayfconsulting.com, and email me at nelson@sayfconsulting.com
    Your life matters. Have a great day.
    Nelson Velazquez
    Certified Pepper Spray Instructor
  • Ways A Woman Can Avoid Being Attacked

    In the City of Chicago, as well as any other major city, for a woman,being out at night can be extremely dangerous. Many women believe that their neighborhood is safe, and make the dreaded mistake of letting their guard down. You must be aware of your surroundings in order to avoid being a victim of crime. Most attacks against women occur at night, or early in the morning while alone. I read a news article about an attack that took place in Chicago's Wrigleyville area, on a Thursday night. A woman was attacked as she walked to her car alone.  As she walked to her car an unidentified male walked up behind her, brandished a handgun, took her belongings, sexually assaulted her in her vehicle, then forced her into the trunk of her vehicle. The criminal drove her vehicle to the Southside of Chicago where he crashed the vehicle, then fled on foot. The woman managed to escape from the trunk, and called for help. Learning how to avoid physical assault should be a priority for anyone. 
    In the previous week another woman was attacked in the same manner, this time in Chicago's Lakeview area. Police believe it could possibly be the same attacker. In the latest attack, the woman was also forced into her vehicle where she was sexually attacked. The common denominator of these two unfortunate events is that neither of the two women carried or deployed any self-protection devices.  
    Incidents like this show that there are no guaranteed safe areas. Danger exist no matter where you might be. Unfortunately the police cannot be everywhere all the time. Therefore, women must incorporate personal safety measures to lower the risk of being attacked. There are steps you can take to avoid being a victim of an attack. The following techniques will teach you how to defend yourself if someone attacks you. 
    It starts by being aware of your surroundings. For example, is a stranger keeping up with you from behind or across the street? Is there a group of suspicious men standing near your path of travel? Is there a suspicious vehicle slowly driving along your travel route, then pulls in a parking spot near where you will walk by? You must stay alert and react to your gut instinct. Keep your smartphone handy, but do not allow yourself to be distracted by it. That means no texting, or listening to music via your ear buds. Allowing yourself to be distracted by your phone lowers your awareness level, and prevents you from hearing or seeing as someone approaches you. You must maintain a condition of alertness. I refer to this as being in condition yellow, always at the ready.  If something's not right, trust your gut instincts, use your smart phone to dial 911. It is better to prematurely call 911 then to fall prey to a criminal. Your chances of becoming a victim decreases if a criminal notices that you are aware of his presence. Even as the suspected criminal leaves the area I recommend you notifying the police and report your suspicions  in hopes of preventing an attack on someone else.  Remember the saying, "if you see something, say something." Criminals are like wolves; they move on to other areas where victims are less aware. You have to be aware, and employ effective methods to avoid falling prey to an attack.
    One method you can utilize is to carry pepper spray. Pepper spray is a non-lethal device that irritates the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing, runny nose, and causes the eyes to slam shut.  This provides you the opportunity to escape, and to call 911 when safe to do so.  When carrying pepper spray, it must be in a ready to use position, not at the bottom of your purse, bag or deep down at the bottom of your pants pocket. In order for pepper spray to be effective, it must be in a ready to use position; that is in your hand to use in a moment’s notice. Never warn or show the attacker, just spray it in the attackers facial area.  As long as they do not know what you have, you have the element of surprise. Pepper spray containers come in various sizes, from the most obvious to most discreet. The one with the element of surprise always wins. In addition to carrying pepper spray, learn how to use it effectively. Pepper spray training is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the unexpected. Pepper spray training mentally prepares you for the unexpected, teaches you tactics to repel an attacker, and educates you on the various spray and stream patterns.
    Another device that can help to prevent an attack is an audible panic alarm. These devices emit an ear piercing audible alarm that grabs the attention of anyone in the area. That is exactly what the criminal does not want, attention.
    Stun Guns is another non-lethal device that delivers an electrical thunder punch. This can cause disorientation, and loss of muscle control for the attacker, allowing you time to break free, and when safe to do so, call 911. If you live in the State of Illinois you must have a valid FOID card (Firearms Owner's Identification Card) to purchase a Stun Gun. If you live in the City of Chicago, there are additional restrictions. You cannot legally purchase a Stun Gun in the City of Chicago. Also, if you are a resident of Chicago, and you plan to purchase a Stun Gun outside of Chicago, you are required to complete an application with the Chicago Police Department. If the application is approved, there is a 120 day waiting period before you can purchase the Stun Gun.   
    If you find yourself being attacked, do not cooperate. Criminals would rather avoid attention, and that means not cooperating with the attacker. Run, scream and keep screaming, and fight, in order to avoid the attack. And If you can remember, yell "FIRE" to wake everyone up!  By attracting attention to the attacker he will more than likely quickly depart from the area to avoid being identified. 
    I hope you found this information helpful. As a father with a daugher, I realize the need to teach women of all ages the skill sets of knowing how to avoid being a victim of crime. If you have any questions pertaining to personal safety, please feel free to contact me.
    My name is Nelson Velazquez, a retired police officer, owner of Safety At Your Fingertips, and President of SAYF Consulting. SAYF Consulting teaches civilians how to effectively use pepper spray, and show you how to avoid physical assault.
    For pepper spray training visit www.sayfconsulting.com, and email me at nelson@sayfconsulting.com
    Your life matters. Have a great day.
    Nelson Velazquez
    Certified Pepper Spray Instructor  
  • How to Inexpensively Catch a Cheating Spouse

    After years or months in a relationship, now he or she is spending more time at work, out with friends, or constantly on the phone out of your presence. You may notice a change in their behaviour, their interest in certain types of clothes, their physical appearance, disengagement from you, or more importantly, a change of their everyday affection of you. These are clues that something is not right.

    The cost of hiring a private investigator could be costly, and not everyone is well versed in the installation of electronic eavesdropping equipment. An economical method of finding out what is being said is with the use of a voice activated audio recorder. With the use of this miniature device, you can record conversations that were not meant for you to hear. You can plant the device wherever you think your spouse will go for privacy. You can tape the device under furniture, plant the device under the driver's seat of the vehicle or any other discrete area. Best of all, the information is stored on a microchip that can be reviewed on the device or on a computer.

    If you do decide to investigate, be mentally prepared for the worst case scenario, and have a plan to move forward.

    Nelson Velazquez,                                                                                                                                           Private Investigator


  • Pepper Spray For Personal Protection

    The daily routine of a real estate agent include starting the day with a positive attitude, dressing for success, meeting with possible buyers and sellers to get that contract signed. Sounds good so far, right? There are times when agents conduct showings with perfect strangers, showing every room in a home, from the top floor to the basement.  That's what you have to do to get that home sold, right?  Have you ever showed a home to a stranger who said his wife could not make it because she is sick, taken care of the kids, working, or out of town. Does that red light in your head go off, signaling for you to be carefull?  You may think, it's okay, he looks like a nice guy, it's daylight. We live in an unpredictable world, and danger can rear it's ugly head at any time of the day or night.

    Just ask Michael Sleeman who was arrested and charged with sexualy assualting a 41-year-old real estate agent who was showing him a home. It can happen to anyone, especially to anyone not prepared to defend themselves. This is why I recommend anyone in the business of real estate to carry wildfire pepper spray for self protection. You never know, pepper spray can  make the difference,  on whether you become a victim or not.

    My name is Nelson Velazquez, a former police lieutenant, and a former real estate agent. All lives matter, and you must do all you can to protect yours.



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