When you get right down to it, your personal safety comes down to mindset. Awareness and avoidance should be at the forefront of your mind whenever you are in potentially dangerous situations, or even home with your family. Looking for weak spots in your home security or potential threats when out for a night on the town is all about preparedness.
The following is a list of some basic and very simple ideas to implement and hopefully get your creativity flowing into thinking of ways to live safely. It is the 20% of effort of prevention needed by you to achieve 80% of improved personal security:
36 Ways to Personal Security
- Limit the amount of duplicates and access of your keys and keypad passwords.
- Never ever hide keys outside. If you absolutely have to, don't hide them all in the same place.
- always have multiple locks.
- Get into the habit of keeping windows and doors locked, even in the summer months.
- Consider installing double cylinder locks and deadbolts.
- Install extra locks on windows and doors.
- Be careful not to let shrubs and bushes around the house offer a potential burglar cover keep them trimmed at a conservative height and width.
- Never throw personal mail in the garbage shred or burn it instead!
- Enter into a safe watch agreement with the neighbors to keep an eye on each other.
- Never list your telephone number.
- Be especially vigilant of people who try to gain access to your home who might be posing as utility company personnel. This is a favorite tactic used against seniors. Check their identification through your door peephole viewer.
- Always keep pen and paper handy, or even a digital camera to record any suspicious activity, and try to get license numbers, etc.
- Record all of your home electronics equipment with serial number engraving kits, and also make a video recording of your possessions and hide it in an inconspicuous place, after labelling it something innocuous and totally uninviting like "Aunt Hilda's Wedding, 1979".
- Never cooperate with telephone surveys or telemarketers. You have nothing to gain from this, plus, your time is far too valuable!
- Never fall for a stranger asking for help if you are alone, or are not around witnesses.
- Keep a mental picture of the area around the perimeter of your home and the items in it. Have they been moved? Could they have been moved into *that place* or *that position* by you or a member of your family?
- Get to know the traffic patterns in your neighborhood and the vehicles that normally are around.
- Vary your route when coming to and going home. Try to take different routes to and from work and try to vary your routine a bit. Remember, most breakins occur during daylight hours, or when thieves are most sure that you will not be home. Assume that they "cased" (staked out) your home.
- Keep an eye out for someone following you, Without sounding alarmist, if you are a single female traveling alone and suspect you are being followed, make a series of turns, and if the car is still behind you in a way that defies logic, then bolt to the nearest police station. Also, try to think of potential "safe havens" on your way to and from on your daily routes.
- If you are accosted or physically threatened, always yell "FIRE" and never "HELP". Not that I have a totally dim view of humanity, but I bet more people will respond to the former as it includes their own self interest.
- Park as close to the store as possible, and never in dark areas.
- Don't let yourself run below a half a tank of gas, you might need to do some driving you haven't planned on due to some unforeseen emergency like a medical situation, etc.
- Never open suspicious mail.
- Build a safe room in your home, or, if you live in an apartment, plan an escape route to a friend's house or somewhere safe.
- Create or join a neighborhood watch program.
- Maintain good lighting around all areas of your home: garden, garage, etc. If you live in an apartment building, make sure that the halls, parking lots, etc are all well lit.
- Try putting a few of your inside lights and appliances on timers. They are pretty cheap, like under ten US dollars.
- If you go on holidays, get neighbors to check on your home, and maybe even park in your driveway. keep the place "busy" looking,full of activity and unpredictable.
- Use a home alarm. Period.
- Try using a security camera, or even setting up a DIY camera system.
- Watch the level of junk mail in your mailbox this is often a signal of nobody home. Keep batteries in your flashlights working! Same goes for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Practice fire drills with your family. And create some incentives for the kids to make it fun for them!
- Always have a cell phone on hand.
- Put emergency telephone numbers in your speed dial, or even better, memorize them.
- Be wary of anything in the house that can be used as a weapon against you. Keep kitchen knives out of plain view, but somewhere where you can access them immediately if you need too.
- Never put your name on your mailbox or a sign outside your home.
21 More Ways to Improve Home Security