Home Security Tactics
Keep hedges and bushes trimmed so that the doors to your home are visible to neighbors and passers-by.
Ensure that entrances are well lit. Sensor lights are exterior lights that are activated when an infrared beam is broken. These lights are fairly inexpensive and are excellent because they are likely to scare off prowlers outside your home.
Invest in a good burglar alarm system from a reputable company. Place alarm stickers on your windows.
Consider buying a dog and post “Beware of Dog” signs outside your home. The size of the dog is not important. Even a small dog will make noise when it detects a prowler or intruder.
Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and ensure that the doorframes are sturdy and strong.
Ensure that all windows have locks and that you keep them locked while out or home alone.
Use wooden or metal rods to secure sliding doors and windows. Many styles of sliding patio doors can be easily pried open with a screwdriver or opened with a sharp tug that will break the latch.
Avoid hiding keys outside, especially in obvious places. It is better to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor.
If you lose a set of keys, have your locks changed as soon as possible.
Don’t put your name and address on your key chain.
Do not leave your house keys or garage door opener on your vehicle when it is being serviced. Keys can be stolen or copied. A garage door opener can be opened and the frequency combination can be recorded.
If your garage door opener is lost or stolen, have your opener code changed.
Install peepholes in doors as opposed to chain locks that can be easily forced and broken.
Teach your children not to open doors for strangers.
Avoid indicators that you live by yourself or are home alone.
o Draw your curtains at night to prevent people from determining that you are alone.
o If you live alone, don’t put your name on the mailbox. If you do, use only your first initial. People can look your number up in the phone book and phone to determine if you are out.
o Consider an unlisted phone number or use only your first initial in your telephone listing.
o Never inform unknown callers or visitors that you are alone. Inform them that your spouse/roommate is asleep, in the shower or that you are unable to speak because you are expecting company at any moment.
Have automatic garage door openers installed. You will be less susceptible to attacks from assailants hiding outside your home.
Scan your surroundings before exiting your vehicle and approaching a house or building.
Have your house or car keys ready in case you have to get in quickly.
If you arrive home to find a stranger or vehicle in your driveway, leave and call a neighbor or the police.
Have a phone at your bedside along with important phone numbers for police, fire, neighbors etc.
A cell phone is best because the lines cannot be cut.
Arrange to have service people, salespeople, etc. attended while you have company or invite a friend over during that period.
Placing an emergency call:
o State your location and name first in case you are interrupted
o State your reason for calling
o If possible, provide police with a description and present whereabouts of a suspect (i.e. trying to get in, running away etc.)
Get to know your neighbors and determine whom you can call in an emergency. Consider developing an emergency signal such as flashing lights or noisemakers.
If someone does try to force his way into your house, keep your foot on the floor with the ball of your foot against the bottom of the door as a doorstop.
Consider placing a personal defense weapon/device(s) around the home or be prepared to improvise by converting household items into weapons.
A stranger at the door:
o Are you expecting anyone?
o Does he look the part? (uniform, company vehicle, etc.)
o Are these normal business hours?
o Does he appear to be nervous and/or scanning for witnesses?
o If you are suspicious, ask for ID and the phone number of his superiors. Is he able to recite it immediately?
o If you are the least bit suspicious of a stranger, advise him that you are expecting company and to make an appointment. Trust your intuition.
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Outside Safety Tactics:
Outside safety tactics refer to times when you are out in an uncontrolled environment such as when commuting to and from home, work, stores, etc. It is preferable to avoid “risky” areas. At times however, this is not always possible. Here are some examples of tactics:
Avoid isolated locations with low witness concentration. If you are alone you are more likely to be targeted for assault.
The time of the day is an important factor. Late night hours have lower witness traffic and an assailant is more capable of assaulting you without being seen or caught. A location that can be safe during daylight hours can become the opposite at night.
When you are outside, make sure to exercise your awareness skills. Be conscious of your surroundings. Check over your shoulder every once in a while and avoid isolated location and potential hiding spots.
When walking, stick to well lit routes with high witness traffic. If there are no sidewalks, consider walking on the left side of the roadway facing traffic. This makes it difficult for a car to follow you undetected.
In the city, where you must walk on the sidewalk, walk near the curb. This makes it more difficult for an assailant hiding around a corner or in a doorway to grab you before you can react.
If you are taking the bus, sit near the driver. Report unwanted advances to the driver immediately. Try to sit in an aisle seat or beside a female passenger.
If you feel that you are being followed and crossing the street confirms your suspicions, begin screaming and run to a public location. You can also consider placing an obstacle between you and your pursuer and continue to scream for help.
If you are alone, avoid waiting inside a bus shelter where you could be trapped.
When out for a walk, jog or while commuting, try to go with a friend. If you go out to exercise alone don’t wear headphones. This reduces your ability to detect an attacker approaching from behind.
Avoid walking alone at night when you are upset or have been drinking. Your awareness level is likely to be low.
Know the area and your escape routes. Become familiar with stores, service stations and other places that will be open at the time you are traveling. If you are unfamiliar with an area, avoid trying to find shortcuts. You may end up boxed in or isolated.
Know your bus schedule so that you do not have to wait any longer than necessary.
If you know that you are being followed turn around and look at your pursuer. Project an assertive attitude and take note of the person’s physical description. If you can help it, don’t go directly home. This shows the pursuer where you live and he may choose to try again another time.
Have your keys ready while approaching your house or vehicle or even while taking a stroll. If you spot a potential assailant, you can hurry into your car or house. Keys can also be an effective personal safety weapon. A personal defense weapon is useless if it is at the bottom of a purse or pocket.
If you spot a suspicious person or group of people, go around them as opposed to walking through them. Consider crossing the street.
If someone asks for the time or directions or tries to initiate a conversation, remember that you do not have to answer. If you do, keep it brief and move on. If you become suspicious, you may instruct the person to keep his distance.
Consider your clothing and footwear for defense and escape capabilities.
Avoid public displays of money at automatic teller machines, stores, banks, getting on the bus, etc.
If you carry a handbag tuck it under your arm. It is best to keep money in your pockets. If someone does grab your purse let it go. Property is not worth getting hurt over.
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Vehicle Safety Tactics:
A cell phone is one of the best personal safety devices you can make!
If possible, park your car in an attended lot or in a well-lit, busy area.
Avoid parking next to vans because they will obscure you from view and you can be pulled in through a side door.
Make sure to scan the area before getting out of your vehicle. If there is a suspicious person don’t get out.
When returning to your car, scan the area around the car as you approach. Check around it, underneath it, and pay attention to occupied vehicles nearby.
Scan the interior of your vehicle before getting in to make sure no one is hiding inside.
Lock your car doors whether you are in it or not. When driving in urban areas, keep the windows rolled up as far as comfortable.
Have your keys ready when approaching your car in case you have to get in quickly. In the event of an assault, keys can be used as weapons.
If you are loaded down with several packages, get in first, lock the doors and then organize your possessions.
Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Even if the hitchhiker is a woman, exercise caution; she may have an accomplice nearby. Use your discretion and intuition. At the same time you don’t want to leave a stranded person to fend for herself.
Create a “buddy system” with your co-workers so that you are all sure of a ride in case of car trouble.
If several people have cars parked in various locations, it is safest to walk together to the nearest car and then drop each person off at her vehicle.
When dropping off a friend, wait until she is inside her home or vehicle, or that her car is started before driving away. Ask friends to do the same for you.
When attending social functions, consider arranging a car pool. Leave together.
Carry “emergency money” for a bus, cab fare, or a phone call etc.
Prepare an emergency kit and keep it in your vehicle. In particular, make sure you have warm winter clothing. In the winter, if you are dressed improperly and your vehicle breaks down, your options are severely limited to turn away offers of help or a ride from suspicious people.
If you frequently wear high heels or dress shoes, consider keeping a pair of running shoes in your car in case you have to walk.
If possible, tell a friend, spouse etc. where you are going, the route you will be taking and your estimated time of arrival. If you don’t show up or check in, an effort can be made to locate you.
Keep your car in good running condition and avoid driving with less than a half of a tank of gas.
If you have a flat tire and feel that it is unsafe to get out of the car you may have to drive to a place of safety very slowly with your hazard lights on. You will ruin the tire but you’ll be safe.
Learn how to repair a flat tire. If you do get a flat, try to find an occupied location such as a police or fire station parking lot, convenience store, etc. to change it.
Never hitchhike. If you must accept a ride, profile the occupant(s) of the vehicle. Vehicles driven by women or families are statistically less risky.
If you are stranded and someone stops to help you, do not get out of your car. Through a partially open window, ask him to notify the nearest service station, a tow truck or a friend/spouse for you.
When loading items into your trunk, unlock your driver’s door first. If a suspicious person approaches, get in, lock the doors and wait to see what he wants.
Be careful not to pull up too close to a stopped vehicle in front of you. It is easier to escape if someone tries to get into your car or attempts to box you in.
If someone tries to force his way inside your vehicle at a stop sign or red light, sound your horn and drive away. Notify the police.
If you are alone and someone is able to force his way into your car, jump out.
If you are being followed by another vehicle, there are a number of tactics you might consider: o Sound the horn and activate your emergency flashers. Try to draw attention to yourself. o Drive to the nearest police station, fire hall or other public place and lean on the horn to attract attention. o Consider turning around and going in the opposite direction. Try to get a license plate number and description of the vehicle and occupants. o If you are being followed on a highway or multi-lane road, keep to the left lane. This makes it more difficult to cut you off. o Don’t try to out run the vehicle, you could end up having an accident, being hurt or immobilizing your vehicle. o Don’t drive home if you can help it. This will show the assailant where you live.
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Building Safety Tactics:
If you work late, find out who else is in the building. When you leave, ask someone to accompany you. (Such as a co-worker, security guard, etc.)
If you can, time your departure when there is likely to be other people leaving such as at the end of a class or shift.
Elevators are common places of attack. If there is a person already on the elevator who makes you uncomfortable don’t go in. Act like you forgot something and wait for the next one.
When you ride the elevator, stand close to the button panel. If you are attacked, you can press as many buttons as possible and the emergency alarm.
If you intended to go up, don’t get on an elevator that is going down. This might take you down into the basement where you might be isolated.
Try to avoid isolated, poorly lit areas of a building. Isolated stairways should also be avoided if possible.
If you are working alone at night, ensure that the exterior doors to the building are locked so that intruders are unable to gain entry.
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Travel Security Tactics:
Arrange air travel during business hours to avoid being alone and reaching your destination at night.
If you’ve rented a vehicle, arrange to pick it up close to the airport terminal.
If possible, arrange for a company representative to meet you at the airport. Verify his credentials and have him escort you to your car or hotel.
Avoid late business meetings. If one is scheduled, make sure that you are in the company of several associates.
Stay only in quality hotels. Do not accept a room if: o It is located in a remote section of the hotel o The doors and windows are not secure o The hotel does not have 24 hour security
Use the security lock and consider bracing the door with a chair when retiring for the evening.
Do not answer the door unless you are expecting company.
In a strange city tourists may inadvertently wander into the “wrong place a the wrong time.” Speak to hotel staff or the local police to find out if there are areas to be avoided.