Personal Security Tips
You are your own best protector. You may not be an Olympic wrestler or Kung Fu expert, but you don’t need to be. The idea is to keep yourself safe so you don’t need to know martial arts to defend yourself.
You can take several simple steps to protect yourself and those you love. One of the foundational items is to be aware of your surroundings and use common sense. Deciding to go down a dark city ally as a shortcut with a couple guys standing just back in the shadows is probably not a good idea! Obvious, yes, but there are many other more subtle, potential dangers lurking against which you can protect yourself against with just a little forethought.
Trust your instincts; if you feel unsafe, get out of the situation. In all circumstances, do your best to stay calm and appear confident and capable. If someone tries to abduct you, fight back fiercely and right away. Don’t wait until later. Yell “fire” to get other people’s attention.
- Keep the doors locked when home, unless your children are playing outside.
- Close and lock windows at night (and doors, too).
- Make good use of a house alarm if you have one.
- Teach children (especially younger than teens) not to answer the door even if you are home.
- Teach children who answer the phone to never let the caller know an adult isn’t home.
- Teach children how to call emergency numbers.
- Look outside before answering the door. If you can’t see outside, have a chain lock or door restrictor engaged before you open the door, and be ready to push back HARD should someone push the door after you open it.
- Keep security lights on at night around the house and on porches and patios.
- Don’t allow strangers into your house.
- If you didn’t call for maintenance service, don’t let him/her in. If you are expecting a service call, ask for company identification before allowing them inside.
- Have all locks rekeyed upon moving in, or if a key is lost. Use quality locks. Install deadbolts if possible.
- Don’t hide a key outside. If you have kids who let themselves in with a key hidden in back, know that people who watch your house can notice they go to the back and don’t come out, and will figure out there is a hidden key.
- Most door hinges have ½ inch or smaller screws. Replace them all with 4” screws, those that go into the door and the door frame.
- Where it is legal, consider carrying pepper spray or mace. You can purchase small canisters that serve as a keychain. Just don’t forget to remove them before going to the airport to catch a flight!
- Keep a wary eye on people who attempt to get too close.
- If someone bumps you, especially if there was no reason to, check yourself to ensure they didn’t steal valuables.
- Keep children close. Don’t let strangers hold babies or toddlers.
- Teach your children not to pet strange animals.
At the Mall/Store
- Don’t leave your purse in the grocery cart. If you do, keep it closed and always within immediate eyesight.
- Don’t flash cash or expensive jewelry.
- If you are well-to-do, try not to look it, especially when you are out alone.
- Be aware of those around you. Notice who might be stalking or watch you.
- If you see an unattended bag, suitcase, knapsack, walk away from the area and report it to a store clerk or security attendant.
- Lock shopping bags in your trunk or try to hide them if you don’t have a trunk. If at a mall or shopping center, it might be a good idea to reposition your car elsewhere before going back in to the mall or to another store.
- Always close all windows and lock your car when parking.
- Always park in well-lit areas.
- Drive with doors locked, to prevent a car-jacking.
- Walk to your cars with keys out and ready. You can even stick the car key between your forefinger and index finger and close your fist so it sticks out. If physically threatened, use this key/hand configuration as a punching weapon.
- When approaching your car, from a distance always look under the car to ensure someone isn’t hiding under it.
- Look in the back seat or cargo area before getting in.
- If you have electronic locks, don’t unlock the whole car unless someone else needs to get in also.
- Don’t leave valuables visible in your car.
- If you approach your car to find a van parked beside (especially a panel van or one with painted/very dark tinted windows with the van side door next to your car), think twice before trying to get into your car. Wait for the van to leave or tell security of your concern and ask them to accompany you to your vehicle.
- Never pick up strangers or people whom you don’t know well.
- If you feel you someone is following you, do not go home. Take alternate, well-travelled routes. If the person continues to follow, go to the nearest police station or fire department and ask them to call the police.
- If your car breaks down, turn on your flashers, raise the hood and stay inside with doors locked. Call someone or the police for assistance. If someone comes and you feel threatened, repeatedly honk your horn.
Public Gathering Places
- Always know the location of the nearest exit.
- Avoid getting caught in crowds.
- When on crowded sidewalks, or at crosswalks, bus stops or train stations, stay away from the edge of the sidewalk or platform.
- If on relatively deserted street, walk close to the street-edge of the sidewalk, away from building doors and ally entrances.
- If someone asks to use your phone, do not allow it.
We hope you never need these tips. But, if you do, we hope something here helped to make you safer.