Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure with their daily routine, regardless of where they live or work. The unfortunate truth is that crime happens and no one is exempt from dangerous situations. The most important thing is to make yourself aware of your surroundings and follow professional tips on how to protect yourself and your belongings from theft or attack.
Some of my fellow team members and I recently attended a presentation, led by investigator Darcy Leutzinger, about safety awareness. Leutzinger’s many years of experience make him the perfect man to advise us on how to stay safe at home, in the car and while walking. Here are some of the tips that we learned throughout the day with Leutzinger.
Safety in Your Home
While you’re home
- Keep a working phone and flashlight next to your bed in case you hear or see a disturbance during the night. If your car alarm works from your bedroom, consider keeping that nearby as well so that neighbors are immediately alerted that something has happened.
- If somebody comes to your door claiming to be a repairman, don’t let him or her into your home without clear verification. Unless you schedule an appointment, no one should have to enter your home.
- Solicitors can also have bad intentions, and it’s safer to not let them into your home or tell them anything about your personal life.
When you’re away
- Keep a porch light or motion-detecting flood light on at your house at night, as lights are often a big deterrent to robbers and burglars.
- Dogs and signs or stickers indicating you use a security service are all proven deterrents to criminals.
- Make sure your doors and windows are securely locked. (This one actually goes for when you’re at home as well.)
Safety in Your Car
While you’re driving
- If you get into a minor accident or get pulled over alone, at night, in an unpopulated area, or somewhere associated with high crime, don’t pull over immediately. Signal that you’ll pull over at the next gas station or restaurant where there are others around.
- When stopping at a red light in one of those areas, leave room in front of you in case you need to leave a dangerous situation. Don’t roll down your window or unlock your car for anyone who approaches your vehicle.
- It’s best to get gas somewhere you’re comfortable with, always check to make sure you have enough gas to get to and from your destination.
- Keep an emergency kit in your trunk in case you break down. It should include an old or basic cell phone, (shut off with full battery life) as well as winter clothes, snacks, cash and a flashlight.
When you’re parked
- Always park in an attended or secured lot.
- If you leave your key with your lot attendant, avoid giving them your entire key ring that includes a key to your house. Instead, remove your car key and hand them that.
- If you see anything suspicious, like broken glass or shady characters, leave the lot and alert somebody or park somewhere else.
- Double check that you’ve locked your car doors.
- Hide valuables from plain view, such as electronics or jewelry.
Safety When Walking
- Firmly and politely decline anyone asking for money.
- Don’t confront panhandlers.
- Thieves who pose as panhandlers want you to pause and open your purse or wallet, avoid doing that.
- Don’t leave your phones or personal items lying out on tables or chairs outside.
- If you want to help the homeless, consider donating money or time to a local shelter or charity.
- Walk confidently and be aware of your surroundings, avoid using your phone while you walk.
- Though you shouldn’t type on it while walking, do keep your phone and other belongings close to you at all times.
- If possible, walk in pairs, especially at night.
- Know the fastest and safe route to your destination.
Keeping yourself safe and protecting your belongings is easier than it looks when your keep these tips in mind.
What do you do to stay safe? Do you already use any of the tips above? Let us know in a comment!