What You Should Do if You’re Attacked…

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DALLAS -- It's scary out there, y'all. And not just because it's almost Halloween.  We've watched case after case, like Zoe Hastings whose stop to drop off a rented movie on the way to church apparently turned into an abduction and brutal murder.

"We, unfortunately, equate nice places with safe places," says personal safety expert Jeff McKissack.  "And there are no such thing as safe or unsafe places. There's only safe or unsafe people."

We still don't know much about what happened to Zoe between that Walgreens parking lot and the crime scene where her body was found, but McKissack says one thing is for sure.

"We really don't teach people personal safety as adults," he says.  "What are we saying?  That people are no longer at risk, or that people are safer?  You're just on your own."

And being on your own can be dangerous, wherever you are.

Kendra Hatcher was gunned down in the parking garage of her Uptown apartment complex. David Stevens brutally killed on a scenic jogging trail.

So, what advice does McKissack have if you're attacked or threatened?

"Light and noise.  Anything you can do that can draw attention.  They don't want witnesses, they don't want to be seen, so the more attention you can draw, the more likelihood they know they'll be caught."

But he also cautions that not every threat comes with a brandished weapon.

"Police studies have shown that it's not guns and knives so much that'll get you - especially get you off guard - it's a good story," McKissack said. "You need to ask yourself: What is this person asking me to do?  Does it go against the instincts?  Does it make you feel uncomfortable?  Does it call for rushed response?"

How you respond is important. It could be the difference between life and death.

"Until we really start taking our safety proactively, unfortunately, we're going to continue to see stories play out in the media," McKissack warns.

And that's the scariest thing of all.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.