Let’s face it; we live in an ever-changing, fast-paced and at times, overly-stressed society. And it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down or becoming more relaxed. We’ve unfortunately learned that places we perceived to be havens of safety can change in an instant, shattering our faith in peaceful lives and even our own humanity. But before you grab your gear and head for the hills, there are some simple tips you can follow to help ease your worried mind as well as keeping your sanity in a world that may appear to be spinning out of control.
- Street Smarts: It’s true, random acts of violence do in fact, happen but the truth is your chance of being the victim of a violent act can be greatly reduced if you are able to keep an awareness about you at all times. It’s easy to fall prey to distraction, especially following a long day of work or bringing groceries to your car, but that is exactly what a perpetrator is counting on. Someone with nefarious intentions is looking to take advantage of someone who is not paying attention to their surroundings. At night, park close to the store’s entrance and under a street lamp if possible, have your keys in hand, double check your car’s interior and above all, if someone is making you feel uncomfortable go back inside and ask a manager to walk out with you. You may feel foolish but would feel worse if you ignored your intuition and ended up being targeted for a crime.
- Take a self-defense Class: These are designed to help empower and to feel confident, despite the situation you might find yourself in. Most are designed to give you, the potential victim, a reasonable amount of information you can rely upon if one day you’re involved with a violent act; whether it’s fighting back, running away or tips to ensure getting a bystander’s attention, (example screaming, ‘fire!’ instead of ‘help’).
- Safety at home or work: By researching in the comforts of your home you can discover a wealth of information about your neighbors or co-workers right at your fingertips. Logging onto your local sex offender registry website can give you a head’s up about who shares your neighborhood. But what about work? If despite complaints to your boss, a coworker is making you feel uncomfortable you can check them out without them ever knowing. A site like www.peoplesmart.com can help eliminate any doubt about that person who sits a little too close to you. Remember, knowledge is power and keeping yourself aware of who you live near or work with can help heed caution for yourself.
At the end of the day, unfortunately crime statistics are very sobering. And for women, studies conflict about the exact numbers that will find themselves involved with a violent crime, as up to 80% of rapes go unreported, but the bottom line is that safety is paramount to your wellbeing. After all, we all have the right to exist and live with peace, but the reality is that chances are at some point in your life you will encounter crime. The best advice? Awareness of surroundings and being proactive rather than reactive.