NO ONE is more familiar with the everyday dangers of our modern world than Kelly Siegler and Yolanda McClary. As the stars of TNT’s real- crime series Cold Justice, Siegler,
a former Texas prosecutor, and McClary, a former Las Vegas crime scene investigator, tackle unsolved murder cases in small towns across the country, with impressive results: Over the past two seasons of their partnership, they’ve scored four confessions, eight indictments, 12 arrests, two guilty pleas and a 22-year prison sentence for murder.
Not surprisingly, both women are also passionate crime prevention advocates. Whether you live in a large metropolitan area or a small town, McClary (whose work inspired Marg Helgenberger’s character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) says there are certain steps you can take to reduce your risk of being a victim. “It’s easy to let your guard down and forget the basic rules of safety,” she says.
As their series returns to TNT on June 20, we asked Siegler and McClary to share their best tips for staying safe this summer.
AP: Do you recommend taking self- defense classes? What kind?
McClary: I don’t think the average person needs to have a black belt or take tactical training, but women should look for a basic self-defense class that teaches them how to protect themselves. Many local police departments and adult education programs offer classes that teach easy-to-learn self-defense techniques and include information about crime awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance strategies.
AP: Many robberies happen in parking lots of shopping malls/stores, when women are loading bags into their cars. How should you protect yourself in this situation?
McClary: The first thing women need to do is to be aware of their surroundings. So often, people are out and about and their heads are in the clouds, or they are talking or texting, and as a result, they aren’t aware of situations that can make them vulnerable to crime.
Siegler: We’ve both taught our daughters to never park on the outskirts of a parking lot or next to a van. When you exit a store, hold your door key between your first finger and thumb, so that it can be used to jab a perpetrator’s eyes or soft tissue if you are attacked. If someone suspicious is following you in your car, continue driving to the nearest police department rather than driving to your home.
AP: How do secure your homes when you go on vacation?
McClary: Stop all of your home deliveries and have a neighbor pick up your mail: You don’t want to make it obvious that your family isn’t home.
Siegler: In addition, leave a light on in your home, and don’t let your children announce on Facebook or other social media that your family will be going on vacation for a week.
AP: Are there particular situations where women should be on high alert?
Siegler: Women can be far too trusting, especially when it comes to men. We’ve seen women who have gone on blind dates with men they’ve met on the Internet, only to discover the men weren’t the nice guys they portrayed themselves to be. Women need to look carefully at the places they are going, and the people they are surrounding themselves with— is that fun nightclub you’ve been invited to in a bad area?