"It's better to be rude than to be dead," says Christine DiBlasio from the non-profit TheSafetyTeam.org.
Christine DiBlasio and The Safety Team say when it comes to holiday time safety, people need to take charge of their personal security.
"There's more crime. There's a lot more retail thefts," says The Safety Team's Karen Chevalier listing the potential hazards women face during the holiday season. "This time of year with Christmas coming, there's a lot of drunk drivers we have to deal with, a lot more alcohol, a lot of parties that go on this time of year."
Chevalier is a member of the non-profit which is made up of six Vermont women from Franklin and Chittenden counties. She is also a police officer with the South Burlington Police Department. The group also includes a toxicologist and a psychologist. They all say their backgrounds have brought them together to empower women to know how to protect themselves, especially during the holidays.
"At a holiday party, you may be meeting people that you really don't know very well. So, I encourage you to think about who you might end up being alone with," said DiBlasio.
Darci Richardson Miller is a toxicologist by day and says enjoying holiday cocktails is fine, if it doesn't get out of hand and you keep aware of who you are with.
"Statistically, 50 percent of rapes and sexual assaults that are reported involve alcohol in either the victim's use, the perpetrator's use - or both," she said.
Shoppers should also be cautious.
Holiday time shoppers are often targeted. Williston police say they are looking for a woman who stole a purse with a thousand dollars from a shopping cart at the Hannaford Supermarket Thursday.
The group says last minute holiday shopping can make people vulnerable. Predators like to attack those who may seem overwhelmed with packages or gifts.
"Let's just say you're putting your holiday packages in your car and it's dark and someone approaches you to help you and you say, 'No, no, no thank you' and they continue to approach you. They've violated your boundary," said DiBlasio.
The group offered up some tips if you feel violated.
The Safety Team recommends that if you're uncomfortable, it's important to create a verbal boundary and a physical boundary of four to six feet. Although the group travels the state and beyond teaching women moves to protect themselves, they say the best way to stay safe is prevention.
DiBlasio advises, "Being aware and being alert to your surroundings. What I recommend people do is take a look at their daily life. Look at their routine and things that might make them vulnerable."
The group says they are currently fundraising and hope to expand their classes to teach college-aged women in Vermont. They say this demographic of women are the most preyed upon.
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:41 PM EST2014-03-07 04:41:04 GMT
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring. In August Michael Jacques struck a deal with federal prosecutors. He gave up his right to an appeal and pleadedMore >>
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:40 PM EST2014-03-07 04:40:13 GMT
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb. The Burlington School District voted Thursday night on half of the multi-million dollar deal.More >>
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:53 PM EST2014-03-07 00:53:09 GMT
'Tis the season-- as winter winds down frost heaves and potholes arrive. The ups and downs of the 2014 winter can be seen and felt. No route or road is spared. And just adding to the frustration-- theMore >>
The deep freeze is making for some rough roads across our region and it's also contributing to a fuel shortage. Shelby Cashman has more.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:56 PM EST2014-03-07 00:56:36 GMT
The pothole problem knows no boundaries. Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads. The Quebec Transportation Ministry budgeted $260 million for winter road maintenance. But crews haveMore >>
Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:23 PM EST2014-03-06 21:23:33 GMT
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system. The fire last month damaged a row of townhouses. All of theMore >>
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:50 PM EST2014-03-06 21:50:24 GMT
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car. The incident happened Wednesday at the Intersection of 1-91 and Route 302 in Newbury, Vt. Vermont state police sayMore >>
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car.More >>