Immediate Steps to Personal Security
Personal security should be a concern for everyone, male or female, young or old. Your security is often something you take for granted due to your comfort in familiar surroundings. Complacency is the number one tool of an individual looking to harm a person or property. Most crimes related to personal assault or property theft are of an opportunistic nature; therefore, limiting the opportunities of a would-be criminal can reduce the possibility of becoming a victim.
Security in the Home
The simplest way to secure your home is to lock your doors and windows, yet so many people forget or disregard this practice. A locked door or window will make it more difficult for an assailant or thief to gain access with stealth; therefore, encouraging them to move on to an easier target. Be aware of the tools you can use to make your home safer. Exterior motion sensors lights are listed as one of the best deterrents against thieves. While away from your home, utilize light timers inside your home to give the appearance of activity. Both are easy and inexpensive tools that can help deter thieves and assailants.
Home invasions and identity scams can both start with an unexpected knock at the door. You should not open the door to solicitors or unknown persons. If a person claims to be from a utility company or police department, you should request photo identification through a window or other secure vantage point. If a question remains, contact the company or agency identified.
Humans have survived and thrived for millions of years thanks to reliance on a community, but today’s society values independence and privacy, to its own detriment. Break that behavior, get to know your neighbors and their patterns. Rely on each other to watch for unusual activity when you will be out of town. It benefits all neighbors to watch out for one another and their respective properties; a safe neighborhood is a valuable neighborhood.
Security Outside of the Home
According a Pew Research Center report, nine in ten Americans own a cell phone. That equates to a large percentage of the population walking around distracted. When in public, regardless if alone or in a group, you should have your full attention focused on your immediate surroundings, not on your mobile device. Being aware of your environment will give you the opportunity to notice suspicious activity and identify threat well before it closes in on you.
Traveling in groups is always the best option, but if you must travel alone, it is a good practice to make a trusted third party aware of your destination, the route being taken and your estimated time of arrival. If traveling alone avoid poorly lit routes and unknown shortcuts, and never accept rides or go to an unplanned location with a stranger.
If you ever feel that you are being followed, either on foot or by car, returning home is not the safest option. Instead, stay on a public route and go to the nearest police or fire station, or to a public area that has a security presence, such as a large store.
We cannot live our lives in fear, but we must live aware of the potential threats in our environment. You must recognize that practicing these simple and effective personal security tips will help maintain your situational awareness and reduce the likelihood of becoming target for an opportunistic criminal.
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