The world is abuzz with high-tech options to keep you safe and secure, including everything from biometrics to digital closed-circuit television to smart cards.
But law enforcement and security folks also offer several simple, time-honored strategies to help make your life safer without all the gadgetry.
1. Don’t be involved in any illegal activities or use illegal drugs. It is a well-known fact that, if you are not involved in criminal activities yourself, you will be less likely to be a victim of a crime.
Simply put: Many times, crooks prey on fellow criminals.
2. If possible, don’t jog, walk, or drive alone, especially at night and in less-populated areas.
Simply put: There is usually enhanced safety in numbers.
3. Lock your home, including closing your garage door, even when you are at home. Before I retired from law enforcement, I can’t tell you the number of times I was dispatched to an incident in which valuables (tools, lawnmowers, bikes, toys, etc.) had been taken from an open garage, even when the victim was at home.
Simply put: Install and use good home locks and secure your garage.
4. Record the serial numbers of all your valuables. Also, you may want to consider marking certain items with your driver’s license number. You also may want to consider videotaping the contents of your home.
Quick security tip: Do not mark any items with your Social Security number, as law enforcement may not be able to obtain your identity from the Social Security Administration because of its privacy policies.
5. Listen to that “little voice” inside of all of us. Be aware of your surroundings (law enforcement pros call this “situational awareness”) and look for any suspicious people and activities.
Simply put: Trust your instincts.
6. Don’t carry around large amounts of cash or wear glittery valuables. Also, if you need to use an ATM, go to a busy, well-lighted location and withdraw only the amount of cash you really need.
Simply put: Don’t flash your cash and valuables.
7. Park your vehicle in well-lighted, populated areas. Don’t leave your key in the ignition, and be sure to close your windows and lock your vehicle when you park. Also, don’t leave any valuables in sight.
Simply put: Don’t make your vehicle a personal invitation to a potential lawbreaker.
8. Get to know your neighbors. Neighborhood watch officials often say that a so-called “nosy neighbor” is the best home break-in crime fighting device available.
Simply put: Your trusted neighbor may be your first line of defense against criminal activity in your home.
9. Consider carrying a mobile phone, especially if you are going somewhere alone. Also, you may want to tell a family member or a close friend of your travel plans in case of an emergency.
Quick security tip: A mobile phone will be useful not only as a possible crime prevention tool but also in case of other types of emergencies.
10. Consider installing a high-quality security system in your home and vehicle.
Simply put: It’s better to scare criminals away before they enter your home than encounter them inside.
11. If you do observe any suspicious people or activities, call police immediately.
Simply put: It’s better to call law enforcement to report a suspicious person or incident than wait until an actual crime is committed.
12. Use your common sense.
Simply put: Be and act smart.
My final thoughts: Don’t rely solely on the much touted high-tech security devices for your personal safety. As you can see, these simple tips mentioned above can be powerful crime prevention ideas, if — and only if — you take the responsibility to use them properly.
Have a healthy and happy new year!
Bruce (Mandelblit.com) is a nationally known security and safety journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer. His e-mail address is [email protected].
This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.
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