It’s always nice to know that the sun will stay out longer. The breezes become warmer and we will be spending more time outdoors. Spring is a time for renewal. It is also a time to be reminded that as we venture out into the great outdoors, there is always the possibility of danger following close behind. The following tips are a reminder to keep security at the forefront during our travels. Walking alertly and confidently will send the signal that you are not only aware of your surroundings but also not someone who will become an easy target.
Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid “automatic pilot”
Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
Stick to well-lit areas.
Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
If a car follows you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
SAFETY ON THE STREET
Before you leave home decide what you actually need to take with you rather than automatically taking your entire handbag or wallet. For example, if you are going to the grocery store for a few items, you can carry cash, a single check, or credit/debit card, I.D. and keys in a pocket.
Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable, low profile and appropriate for the weather. This may not be the most fashionable choice but it is the safest.
Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people. It shows that you are aware.
If you must carry valuables like important papers, jewelry, cash etc., chose to wear clothes with inside pockets or use a small bag with a long thin strap to be worn under your coat or clothes.
Never carry a wallet in back pocket of pants or jacket or sweater pocket. All cash should be carried in front pockets of pants or inside the garment.
Carry your keys and ID separately. If someone gets your keys and ID, they may go to your home or business and access that location with the keys.
If you must make a large, cash purchase, plan ahead and take a companion along. There really is safety in numbers. If you do not drive or cannot get a ride use a taxi rather than a bus to minimize waiting time.
If you use bank machines (ATM’s) choose one located in a well-lit, busy spot like inside a bank. try to avoid outside ATM’s. Put your card and cash away before leaving the machine.
Don’t display large sums of cash and don’t carry any more cash than is necessary. Use checks where possible. Most stores accept checks, check cards and debit cards as well.
Never leave your purse unattended, even if it is in a shopping cart. This is a huge vulnerability.
Carry your purse very close to you preferable with the strap over your shoulder and the purse to the front of your body. Don’t dangle it from your arm. Is someone grabs the purse, let go.
Avoid walking alone at night. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
SPOT AND AVOID POTENTIAL TROUBLE
Be aware of your surroundings and know who is nearby.
Pay attention to the uncomfortable feelings that often warn us of potential danger. That would be the sixth sense that you have but sometimes ignore.
Don’t be afraid to cross the street, return to a business, or ask for help based on a “funny feeling”. You may be right!
During a confrontation
If a robber grabs your bag, resist the impulse to play tug of war. If you hang on, chances are you will be knocked down, hit, or kicked and the robber will get your bag anyway. Be a good witness for police instead.
Victims sometimes tell a robber they have no money. This technique may backfire. It is safer to give up a few dollars. Carry a little money in an accessible place for just this purpose. Keep it separate from other funds.
If someone demands your property and displays or implies in any way that they have a weapon, hand the bag or wallet to them!!
Being security minded seems like a lot of work, but in reality it truly becomes second nature once you implement it with regularity. It is like having insurance, your grateful that you have it when something goes wrong but don’t think about it as you go about your business.
By rewiring our minds and looking at the world through security minded glasses, you will be much more aware of your surrounding and be prepared to be a more effective witness or even handle a crisis as it unfolds.