The Scenario- You’re on your way home from work, school, dinner, a shopping trip or a night on the town. You pull into your driveway, open the door and BAM- you're suddenly fact-to-face with thug who is obviously not a member of a "welcome home" committee. His intention is clearly to rob you or do bodily harm.
The Personal Safety Tactic- Ideally, you checked your vehicle before getting in, and started monitoring your surroundings as soon as you started driving. But chances are, you didn't because you didn't feel the need to, and depending on the location, that's a perfectly natural reaction. If you're well-acquainted with a particular area, there's no reason to be suspicious, but there's also no reason to assume that trouble isn't brewing.
That may seem like you're on the road to paranoia, rather than home, and it may well be the case. However, as the old saying goes, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you", so your safety tactic is to develop a plan that splits the difference between paranoia and blissful ignorance. Even if you check things out at the beginning of your trip, pick a "trigger spot" about 1/2-mile to a mile from your destination. It can be a building, traffic signal, sign, tree or any other object along the way. When you see it, start checking your rear view mirror and make note of the vehicles behind you. (That's "vehicles" plural. If someone is following you, he may choose to "hide" by staying a car or two behind.) As you turn into your subdivision or office park, keep checking, and if the same vehicle is still behind you, drive past your destination. If it's just a coincidence, and the vehicle is not following you, it should turn off at some point. If it doesn't, proceed to a safe location (a police station or somewhere with a lot of people around). Don't pull to the side of the road and use your cell phone to call for help. Once you stop your vehicle, you put yourself at greater risk unless you're in a well-lit location with a lot of people on site.
According to Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead, there's a relatively new wrinkle to the "follow-then-rob" tactic-- a team approach. One or more members loiter inside a bank and watch for people withdrawing large amounts of cash, or items from a safe deposit box. They alert members outside the bank who then follow the intended victim. If their target stops at a store or restaurant, one of the thieves follows and keeps his accomplice updated as to the victim's whereabouts. Knowing that the victim is occupied inside the store, the thief in the parking lot breaks into the vehicle knowing that the owner will not soon return.
On an overwhelming number of occasions, it will just be a coincidence that a vehicle seemed to be following you. But it only takes once for a seeming coincidence to become a life-threatening reality.