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‘Tis Always The Season for Safety

by Peggy Pope

With the holiday season quickly approaching, our thoughts are with family, friends and good times. However, at this time of year, it is also important

to be extra vigilant when it comes to safety issues. Many years ago, law enforcement officials coined the phrase, “situational awareness.” Situational awareness refers to always thinking about your personal safety, which includes knowing what is happening in your immediate surroundings when walking, driving, parking in a shopping area, or anywhere you may be.

Instead of running errands, shopping, or even putting gas in the car during darkness or late evening hours, folks, especially women, should consider minimizing their potential vulnerability by accomplishing those and similar tasks during daylight hours. Look around you, know who is near you, do not be distracted.

While the holidays can be a wonderful time of year for most decent folks, crooks, thugs, and persons of questionable character relish the holiday season as well. They will be out in full force, looking for crimes of opportunity – packages left in plain sight in a parked car, a lone woman walking to her car at night carrying packages and an inviting-looking purse, or any other situation you can think of that would make it easy for a criminal to ply his or her trade.

In order to avoid a confrontation, or to survive a confrontation or an actual assault, women should not only practice situational awareness at all times, they must also train their minds on how to react in a potentially violent situation. Practicing vigilance, and having a survival instinct mindset, a woman can successfully survive a violent confrontation. Moreover, if a woman carries herself with self-confidence and poise with her head held high, this can actually be a deterrent to a potential attacker and make him think twice about his plan to attack.

Naturally, along with the survival mindset, she should also learn and practice even the most basic of potentially life-saving street survival skills. For folks with concealed weapons permits, they must clearly understand the ‘rules of engagement’ and they too should exercise extreme vigilance in their daily activities.  

Sadly, the arrival of the holiday season brings with it the inevitable increase in property crimes. There is usually a noted increase in thefts, vandalism, and burglaries. There are literally millions of burglaries perpetrated in our country every year. If you ask anyone who has been the victim of a residential burglary, they will tell you that it was an unnerving violation of the sanctity of their home. Aside from their property loss, this is a significant emotional event they will not soon forget.

It is incumbent upon all of us to secure our homes using the best methods available within our budgets, not only to protect our property, but to potentially protect our loved ones as well. Aside from the physical aspects of home security, there is a definite mental component here as well. Home security must be an everyday thing, and not an issue to be concerned with on an occasional or semi-regular basis. For example, one can have the best window and door locks, but if they are not routinely used, the house is needlessly exposed, thereby making it a much more vulnerable target.

Burglary prevention should be embraced by homeowners and renters alike. Consider two locks for each window and door. Don’t forget your sliding glass doors – they are burglar favorites and a cut down broomstick can be easily foiled by a mediocre criminal.  While away from home, use lights and televisions on timers to illuminate the interior. Well-placed exterior lights can not only be useful in enhancing the beauty of a home, they can also act as a deterrent.

Homeowners might think about burglar alarms with proper exterior and window signage, joining a neighborhood watch program, and simply reaching out to neighbors who share the concern for burglary prevention. We should all practice burglary prevention, from securing and protecting our own homes, to maintaining a heightened sense of awareness in our neighborhoods.

May you all have a safe, secure, and joyful holiday season.

Assistance writing this article was provided by the team at the Women’s Defensive Weaponry Club & WDW Training Center (non-profit organization), where women are trained to defend themselves both armed and unarmed. For more information: WomensDefensiveWeaponry.org and WDWTrainingCenter.org.

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