FLORISSANT, Mo. - Tis the season for shopping; safe shopping, that is. Florissant Mayor Timothy J. Lowery has asked police to help prepare seniors to defend themselves during a potential shopping attack.
Earlier this week, Tom Jost and Detective Jodi Chapie trained a group of seniors in safety and defense at the Florissant Senior Center. This was a free training session to help seniors learn how to be safe when out shopping in the grocery store, what to watch for when Christmas shopping at a department store, and how to stay safe when you're in a crowd at the mall or a holiday function.
"We care more about the individual's safety than we do about their stuff," Jost said. "When it's all said and done, things can be replaced; people cannot."
Jost, an international defense instructor, says that it is important for senior shoppers to stay alert and be aware of there surroundings at all times. He understands the toll age can have on the body, so he provides realistic tactics seniors can use to scare predators away using body language.
Jost and Detective Chapie advise seniors to observe their surroundings, verbally confront persons who appear to be following them store to store, practice using a personal weapon of choice, avoid direct physical contact, and if someone does happen to aggressively approach you -- use your voice.
"Simply raising your hands and loudly saying 'no' is usually enough to scare away predators," Chapie said. "You may look silly in the moment but if it prevents an attack and keeps you and your belongings safe, that's a win."
Chapie also encourages seniors to do their best to get a detailed description of the perpetrator to help police find them as quickly as possible.
Have fun shopping this holiday season, but more importantly, stay safe.