Stranger Danger | Keep Your Family Safe | Erie PA

Trigger Warning: Human & Sex Trafficking, Assault, Stalking 

Safety First 

If you've been on Facebook in recent weeks, its hard to ignore the numerous of accounts by women and families being followed or approached while shopping in the Erie area. 


It can be scary to think about but this seems to be a growing trend and getting a little more educated probably won't hurt. 

Whats everyone so afraid of? 

Most of the viral Facebook posters are focusing on Human and Sex Trafficking as the biggest concern. 

As the second largest criminal industry, human trafficking has skyrocketed in recent years. Trafficking can happen to anyone, young or old, of any gender. With an estimated 20.9 million victims worldwide, this epidemic is something to be educated about. Learn more from the Polaris Project

Update: As of 12/06/2017, this Millcreek Police issued this statement: 

How can I protect myself? 

Find an escort

We've confirmed with the Millcreek Mall that their security team is happy to escort any patron to their vehicle after shopping. Security is located right by the food court. 

Other stores are usually able to provide you with assistance, too. Ask your cashier at checkout. Sometimes an extra hand is the difference between normalcy and tragedy. Invite a friend, go with your mom, have a family day and take your partner... Strength in numbers! 

Use your phone 


Did you know that your smart phone can be a powerful tool in the case of an emergency? Between built in features and handy apps, your phone can be the hub that keeps you safe. 


Press the side button quickly 5 times to call 911. Your phone will countdown for a few seconds, then immediately call. Make sure your phone is updated to iOS11 or above to use this standard feature. 


Samsung has included a powerful tool on their phones called "SOS messaging". Set this up by going to settings>personal>privacy and emergency>send SOS messages. This tool will send a text to up to four people after you press the power key quickly 3 times. 


We haven't found any built in safety features on Android devices but no fear- there are great app options too! We've heard great things about Shake2Alert, bSafe, Emergensee & SmartWatcher. 

Awareness of Surroundings 

Personally, I know how easy it is to be hyper focused on getting your items and getting out, especially when there are (upset) kids in tow. It is so crucially important to know your surroundings. Glance at the people around you often. If you feel like someone may be following you, change your path and see if they follow. Notify a store employee promptly if something doesn't feel right. 

Other tips: Stay in well lit areas. Walk confidently and steadily. Don't wear headphones. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying your coveted, best purse. You get the gist. 

Self Defense 

Its never a bad idea to learn a little self defense. Rachel at Street Smart Self Defense Academy in Erie is just one of the great, local options for learning more. For more immediate, at home tips, check out this video: 

Have your keys in your hand

When digging through bags at the side of your car, you are not as acutely aware of your surroundings as if you had them in your hand before you were even outside. Your head is likely down, you might be trying to parent simultaneously, your cart might be rolling away... You are vulnerable. This one is an easy habit, save yourself the risk! 

Another plus; its about to get cold in Erie. Getting your keys out before you walk outside will keep you nice and warm! ;)

While we hope that there will be no more instances of uneasy situations or worse, we aim to boost your confidence and empower you with this info.

If you have any experiences or other tips that you would like to share, please, leave a comment below!