Photo of credit card with lock and chain with text overlay: Tips to Help You Keep Yourself, Your Family, and Your Stuff Safe

Tips to Help You Keep Yourself, Your Family and Your Stuff Safe

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! This week I’d like to talk about something a little different – personal safety and security.

When we watch the news, we can become overwhelmed and frightened by everything going on in the world. We definitely live in uncertain times right now, but we can’t let fear of what might happen keep us from getting out and living our lives.

What we can do is make sure we take a common-sense approach to our personal safety and security. We may not be able to completely shield ourselves from every potential problem, but there are plenty of things we can do to make sure we’re as safe as possible.

Knowing we’ve taken the appropriate steps to protect ourselves can keep us from worrying and allay some of our fears.

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself, your family and your stuff:

Make it less likely for others to target you.

  • If possible, don’t walk alone, especially at night. If you do go out alone, make sure someone knows where you’re going and carry your cell phone with you.
  • Walk with purpose, and hold your head up. People who mean others harm will often seek out those who seem vulnerable. If you convey confidence you’re not as likely to be targeted.
  • Make eye contact with people you pass, but don’t engage in conversation if someone approaches you.
  • Always lock your car doors, even in your driveway. We recently had a string of burglaries in our city where a group of young people were stealing stuff from unlocked cars. This was purely a crime of opportunity. Locked car doors could have prevented it.

Keep your home safe.

  • Lock your doors and windows. Many of us like to open the windows to let a nice breeze into the house, but once you’ve aired out the house, don’t forget to close and lock the windows.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are in working order, and replace batteries as needed. Many fire departments recommend changing your smoke alarm batteries when we change to/from Daylight Savings Time.
  • If you own firearms, make sure you keep them locked up and stored separately from ammunition.
  • Keep medications and household cleaners stored out of the reach of children. It only takes a minute or two for a child to get into things you don’t want them getting into, including medicine.
  • Make sure your home wi-fi is password-protected. If someone is close to your home, they may be able to see your network, and if it’s not protected, they can connect to it.

Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Don’t walk and talk or text. It’s hard to pay attention to what’s going on around you when you’re carrying on a conversation or looking down at your phone.
  • Whenever you enter a new place, familiarize yourself with the exits, places you could potentially take cover, etc. This can give you the assurance and comfort level of knowing you have a plan if you need it.
  • In parking lots, pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you. Also, if you’re going to be out after dark, park in an area that will be well-lit when you come out.
  • If you use a physical key for your car, carry your key in your hand, preferably with the sharp part of the key between your index and middle finger and the other part in your hand. It makes a convenient weapon should you need it.
  • Check the inside of your car before you get in.

Be careful what you share on Social Media or over the phone.

  • Don’t advertise that you’re going to be/are away from home. Save those vacation photo posts for after you return from your trip. You don’t want to invite people to break into your house while you’re gone.
  • Be careful about sharing names, birthdays, exact locations, etc. Thieves can often use these small pieces of information to build a profile and steal your identity.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone unless you are the one who initiated the call and know for sure who you’re talking to, even if the Caller ID shows the name and number of someone you know. With thieves’ ability to ‘spoof’ other numbers, there’s no guarantee the person calling is who they say they are.

These are only a few tips to get you thinking.

As Mary Ellen O’Toole says in her excellent article 11 Tips For Staying Safe,

“Staying safe is not about paranoia or about worrying that a dangerous person could come into your life at any moment.

It’s also not about memorization and trying to teach yourself everything from how to escape being locked in the trunk of a car to how to react if someone sticks a knife to your throat.”

She goes on to say that we really can be safer if we just use our heads rather than our guts. Implementing some common-sense safeguards can take us a long way, and help us worry less.

One of the best antidotes to fear is preparation. Knowing we’ve taken all the necessary steps to protect ourselves and those we love can help us worry less and live more.

Do you have any tips for personal safety? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

Some great resources to check out:

https://www.police.ucla.edu/prevention-education/personal-safety-tips

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/criminal-minds/201202/11-tips-staying-safe-3

9 comments

  1. This was such a timely post Terri. All your suggestions are spot on, learned a couple of things as well. I, myself, try to train my wife and children about safety when not at home and to always have a vigilant eye when out in public. I try to make them realize that the world is changing and they need to always be aware of what’s around them. I’m more strict with my kids because they are so consumed with having their heads buried into their cellphones. As always, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much Mark! I think it’s smart that you’re teaching your family to keep an eye out. We don’t want to be (or make anyone else) paranoid or fearful of going out, but we do need to take common-sense precautions to keep ourselves safe. I guess it’s second nature for me to be vigilant, having spent several tours overseas and being briefed on safety and security each time, but since retiring, I’ve learned that’s not really “normal” for most people. Blessings to you!

  2. Absolutely agree with how common sense safeguards are so useful and important. I love the variety you’ve included for different occasions, and tips about things like holding your keys like that just in case you need to defend yourself. Knowing you’re being as safe and prepared as possible at home and when you’re out can give you more confidence, and also if anything did (God forbid) happen at least you’ve done your best to prevent it or mitigate the impact. Brilliant post, Terri. I think being mindful is something we probably need a reminder of quite regularly so we’re not complacent and let things slip, and it’s always helpful to get tips on things we may not have considered before.
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! We’ve had a string of horrific attacks here in the US over the last week or so, and it just brings home the fact that we need to be vigilant. I think being prepared can keep us from allowing fear to take over. Knowing, as you said, that we’ve done our “best to prevent or mitigate the impact” of unsafe situations can give us a feeling of power and give us the confidence to continue living our lives. Hope you’re having a very happy chocolate chip day, sweet friend! Sending love and hugs your way!

  3. Yes Terri I get very concerned for the bloggers who post all their personal info online to the world. :-/ My professional life taught me to be very wise & cautious indeed in all aspects!
    Thank you for all your great tips!
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    1. Thanks so much Jennifer! I don’t think we need to paranoid, but I do think we need to be careful. As you said, we need to be “very wise & cautious.” Blessings to you!

  4. I am sorry for my slightly delayed response, but I wanted to tell you how fantastic your advice has been! I have thought for along time that most of my friends, share way too much about their lives on social media. Numerous times I have seen where someone I know posts on Facebook that they are going out of town. What a huge mistake I think that is because if someone wants to rob them, they are giving too many details that can make robbery easier. I have never shared when I would be out of town for that reason. Now I have posts pictures once we were home, but plan to never do that again. There is way too many people out there that can do terrible things with anything we share with the “public”! Great advice you have shared with all of your readers!

    1. Thanks so much Alyssa! There are so many people who are less-than-scrupulous, and it’s smart to be careful. As I said before, we don’t need to let fear rule our lives, but we do need to use common-sense precautions to protect ourselves. Hope you’re doing well sweet friend. Blessings to you!

Please tell me what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.