How to Be Proactive About Your Safety
Most folks (myself included) take a surprisingly passive approach to their own personal safety. Until a few weeks ago, I could come up with about 15 excuses off the top of my head to rationally explain why I didn’t do more to protect myself.
When people questioned my cavalier attitude towards security I would usually respond with something like, “You’re being paranoid” or “I can take care of myself” or even something so naive as, “It won’t happen to me.” Although I’m ashamed to admit it now, I really thought I couldn’t be victimized. Getting mugged? That only happens on TV. Getting assaulted? That only takes place in movies.
When my friends, boyfriend, and of course my mother would tell me to be more careful, I rolled my eyes, laughed it off, and went on my merry little way. It won’t happen to me I thought—until it did.
Don’t Take Your Own Safety For Granted
While you shouldn’t curl up in the fetal position, terrified of the world, you also shouldn’t completely disregard safety precautions. Here are three simple steps everyone should take to ensure their own personal safety.
1) Tighten Your Privacy Settings on Social Media
While this isn’t mind blowing advice, lots and lots of people still keep their personal information on the “public” setting for their social media. It may sound far-fetched, but creeps, burglars, and stalkers can easily use your personal info against you. Did you just publicly “check-in” at an event? Home robbers frequently target people using check-ins because. . . you just told them that nobody is home. Seriously, it’s just not worth it. Limited your content to just your close friends
2) Beef Up Security Around Your House
I’m not saying you have to run out and buy an expensive alarm system, but there are several things you can do to prevent break-ins. First and foremost, lock your doors and windows. Yes, even if it’s hot out. Don’t forget to secure backdoors and side doors as well. It’s also a good idea to conceal expensive items, so they can’t be easily spotted through a window.
Most importantly, practicing a little extra diligence goes a long way. Picture this scenario. You just bought a new, enormous flat screen TV. (Congrats!) You get it all set up and before you know it, you can actually see the sweat on your favorite football player’s upper lip. Now what do you do with the box that is way too big to fit in your trash can? Do you leave it out in plain sight on the curb when trash day rolls around? If you answered, “yes” you could be making yourself a target for thieves. Big, empty electronics boxes left out on the curb scream, “I just got new, expensive stuff everyone!” and that’s NOT a message you want to send to potential criminals.
3) Investigate People You Meet Online
The old advice of, “Don’t meet people on the Internet” doesn’t really apply anymore. Sites like Craigslist, Meetup, and of course the thousands of dating sites that exist connecting with people online, and later meeting those people in person has almost become the norm in our culture. But, before you go running off into the sunset with your Internet crush, you should probably dig a little deeper into the background of the person you’re about to meet. Background check sites such as Instant Checkmate are a great way to find out up front if your digital boo has ever been arrested, married, divorced, or convicted of a sex offense. Social media searches, like those performed on Facebook, can also produce results; though they may have a more limited reach due to effective search filtering. Don’t you want to learn the truth now, before you let them come pick you up at your house and find out where you live?
Incorporating these three proactive safety tips into your daily routine will help safeguard you against future victimization. You are ultimately responsible for your own personal safety so taking the proper precautions to protect yourself is a huge milestone on your self-reliant journey.
Kristen I. Bright is a writer specializing in online media and digital content development. She takes a vested interest in women’s issues, particularly those regarding personal safety and self-defense.