You can’t turn on the news without hearing of someone somewhere who was the victim of a crime. In this day and age, you have to prepare yourself for whatever may come your way. There are people out there who are just looking for targets and you want to make sure you’re not one of them.
Here are eighteen things you can do immediately to make sure you’re safe and sound, no matter whether you’re at home enjoying some time with your kids or out running errands:
1. Always, always be aware of your surroundings
The worst thing you can do is have no idea who or what is around you. The more you pay attention, the less likely you are to be surprised. Also, if something does happen and you’re a witness, you’ll be able to provide better information to law enforcement.
2. Limit your distractions
If you’re walking through a deserted parking lot, is it really necessary to send a text right that moment? If you’re focused solely on your phone and checking your email, you’re not going to notice if something, or someone, looks out of place.
3. Make eye contact
The best thing you can do is let others know that you see them and could identify them if need be. When you pass someone on the street, look them in the eye and give a polite nod of the head to acknowledge you see them very clearly.
4. Walk with purpose
Stand tall and keep your posture so that it represents authority. The less you look like a victim, the less likely someone will target you as such. So, pull your shoulders back, keep your back straight and your stomach in and walk in a way that lets the world know that you will not go down without a fight.
5. If you see something suspicious, report it
Don’t worry about whether you’re overreacting or being overcautious. If you think something is out of place, make a call to the authorities. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. That’s what the police are there for. It’s better all the way around if they can be proactive instead of reactive.
6. If you have to defend yourself, aim for body parts on your attacker that are tender and cannot be strengthened
If you find yourself in a position where you have to defend yourself, you want to aim wherever it’s going to hurt the most regardless of the attacker’s strength and size. These areas are the eyes, nose, throat, groin and shin. You can’t toughen them up so it doesn’t matter if he’s twice your size; hit him in one of these spots and he’s going to feel some pain.
7. Set boundaries and enforce them
If someone comes too close for comfort, tell them and force them to move back and give you your space. Don’t worry about whether you’ll come across as short or impolite. If your safety is at stake, it’s no time to be nice.
8. If someone tries to force you to a different location, do not go
Research has shown over and over again that if someone intends to move you, they also intend for you to not make it out alive. Whatever you do, never get in a vehicle with someone regardless of what they tell you because it isn’t going to be good.
9. Don’t open your house door without knowing who is on the other side
Even if it’s someone who claims to be from the electric company, if you’re not expecting them then make them wait while you call yourself and verify their identity. The minute you open your door, that person has access not only to your home, but to you and your family as well.
10. Don’t leave things lying around the yard that someone could use to access your home
If you’re working on repainting the exterior of your house, take the ladder in at night. Yes, it’s a pain, but it’s much less painful than someone gaining entry when you’re lost in dreamland and can’t protect yourself.
11. Keep the bushes around your house trimmed so that someone doesn’t have a place to hide
Better yet, when you plant bushes beneath your windows, make sure they’re thorny and would hurt if someone got too close to them. Make your home unfriendly to anyone who wants to access it without your permission.
12. If you have a garage door opener in your car, keep it out of sight when you park in the driveway
If someone knows that all they have to do to get into your house is gain entry to your vehicle, your safety is at risk. Don’t keep the opener on your visor and make sure you lock your car doors at all times.
13. Use wooden dowels in your sliding doors and windows
Don’t make it too easy for someone to just slide open a window or door and let themselves in. The dowel is easy to move in the event you have a fire and need to escape, but it will also keep them from being opened more than an inch or two so no one can fit their body through the opening.
14. Watch your use of social media
Some people put everything on Facebook, from what they ate to how they did their hair today. Remember that the more information you give out, the more someone else will know your schedule and can figure out when you’re most vulnerable.
15. Take a self-defense class
You can never know too much when it comes to defending yourself or your family from someone who has bad intentions. Take the time to learn new ways to fend off an attacker and make sure you practice them regularly.
16. Carry a weapon only if you’re trained and willing to use it
Some women choose to carry pepper spray or a firearm as a method of defense. While that’s fine, make sure that you know how to use your weapon of choice properly and effectively. Also, don’t carry anything if you’re not willing to use it because then it just becomes something that the bad guy can take and use against you.
17. Trust your gut
If you feel like something is out of place, trust your instinct. Your sixth sense is actually your mind picking up on miniscule things that your brain doesn’t exactly register. So, if the hair on the back of your neck starts to raise, pay attention because something isn’t right.
18. Never, ever give up!
No matter what happens, never stop fighting. Unleash your inner bitch and let her go. If you’re in a fight for your life, make sure you’re the one who wins. It’s time to play dirty and let the cards fall where they may. Also, realize that even if you’re injured (which you most likely would be in a self-defense situation), it doesn’t mean it’s a critical injury. Just keep fighting and have faith that you will persevere.
The only thing that’s important is that, at the end of the day, you’re the one who lives to see another day. You want to make sure you come home every night and get the time you expect and deserve with your family and friends.
Don’t let someone else rob you of your dreams and goals. If they choose you as a target, make sure they know that they just made a critical error in judgment.