Do you know how to protect yourself? Are you an easy target? Are your daily habits a lure for would-be attackers? Personally, I am reckless, unsafe and far too trusting. After reading an article in All You magazine, and in wake of a surprising neighborhood shooting, I am paying heed to these tips. Take a look and be safe in the following areas.
Parking Garage or Lot.
Pick a spot near heavy foot traffic. If you can’t park close to the building, look for a spot near a crosswalk or ticket window. If traveling in a group, park close to a friend’s car.
When walking through a parking garage or lot, stay in the center, not too close to the parked vehicles.
Request an escort to your car. Even when waitressing downtown, I rarely did this, but have to admit it is a good idea. Ask a coworker, security guard or police officer to walk you to your car.
Lock the doors. Not just when you leave your vehicle, but immediately after sitting in the car. Lock up, before starting the engine. Do not sit and make phone calls or sift through your purse. Which leads to another tip, have your keys out and ready before walking to your vehicle.
On the Street.
Walk with purpose. This is my youngest sister’s favorite saying, although she uses it to get my mom moving through the store, not exactly the intention here. The idea is to walk confidently while scanning the area so it is more difficult to be surprised.
Put away the phone and iPod. This is a difficult tip for me to share, but I see their point. Zoning out to music, a book on tape or falling into conversation is a good way to become a potential target.
The article even debunked my one excuse. I thought that being on the phone would let someone know immediately if there was a problem. They say that by the time your friend realizes there is a problem it might be too late. It is better to be completely aware.
This category combines some of the possible scenarios and requires Herculean effort for some of us who apologize for bumping into inanimate objects. But the truth is it is more important to protect yourself, loved ones and property than to save a stranger’s feelings especially if you have a sense that something is not right.
Turn away strangers at home. Do not open the door or let strangers in to pitch any products or check any equipment if they were not invited. Instruct your children to do the same.
Lock up. Regardless of where you live, lock your doors especially at night. Rethink having all the windows open as well.
ATM strategies include choosing the location carefully. Try to go to a bank if possible, rather than a one on the sidewalk. Or use one that is located inside a store where there is most likely a surveillance camera.
Have everything ready before approaching the machine and then leave promptly. Do not hang around to count the money or read slips.
If you are in a vestibule that needs a card to enter, be impolite and do not just open the door to someone who looks like they are fumbling for their card.
Finally the article listed a few extra tips that I find helpful and interesting;
* Call home or a call a close friend to let them know where you are and when you should be home. Just having someone else know your whereabouts is a good strategy.
* Keep emergency cash on you. $20 can be handy safety net.
* Talk to yourself, not like a crazy person, (although that may work in some instances,) but repeating a confidence inducing phrase to yourself can help bolster your self esteem and in turn give off a more assured air about you.