Safety Day brings awareness to St. Mary Magdalen community

St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs put safety in the spotlight with a wide array of activities and speakers during its first Family Safety Day on April 28.

“It’s best to be informed and aware of the dangers, so we know what to look for and prevent crime from happening to ourselves or someone in our family,” said parishioner Christine Shields. “The Council of Catholic Women wanted to provide a service project for the parish and community because safety is so important in every aspect of our lives.”

Every 27.1 seconds, a violent crime is committed in the United States, and a property crime, such as burglary or larceny, occurs every 3.7 seconds. Speaker Andy Tolbert of Femme Defenses said 95 percent of crimes are preventable, and the other 5 percent is when you need to know how to defend yourself.

Tolbert cited intuition as one of our most powerful weapons against crime because victims often experience a bad gut feeling before something goes wrong. Mental conditioning and preparation are key in the face of danger. “Have a plan of action you use in the event you are confronted with certain situations,” noted Tolbert.

Parishioner Erica Adams, who attended the event with her five daughters, said she came for the free helmets, but was pleased they all learned other self-protection techniques. “I think it was very helpful to me,” said Adams. “I came for bike safety, but I gained so much more.” Seminole County deputies were also on hand to offer advice on how to safeguard your home.

“We are never going to stop crime, so let’s just stop it against us,” explained Tolbert, who indicated the way we present ourselves plays a huge role. While confidence can deter crime, being too nice can be seen as weakness. “It’s important not to have prejudices of what perpetrators look like,” she said. “Pay attention to behavior.”

Parishioner and St. Mary Magdalen teacher, Kathy Dinger, agreed. “We have to live by our faith, but also be cognizant of what is happening in the world today,” she said. “Events like these make you feel aware and conscious of what is going on around us.”

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By Christine Commerce, Florida Catholic Correspondent – May 1, 2018