We know that the world can be a scary place, but we still need to live in it. With a few smart behaviors, we can increase our personal safety. Below is a list of ten smart safety tips that everyone should use.
1. Don’t look vulnerable (e.g., stay off your cell phone, don’t hold your purse loosely, etc.)
2. Identify potential dangers (e.g., people trying to distract you, ask for directions, ask for help, etc.)
3. Avoid dangerous locations (e.g., avoid empty parking garages, isolated locations, etc.)
4. Be aware of your surroundings (e.g., check out people around you, identify areas that people can hide, look for escape routes, etc.)
5. Don’t make assumptions that people are safe because they look “nice”
6. Don’t tempt fate (i.e., why shop and run errands at night when you can do this in daylight?)
7. Avoid going out alone (there is safety in numbers)
8. Know the “tricks of the trade” that predators use (e.g., offering to help you so you feel indebted to “help” them, making unsolicited promises – “I’m a good guy”, “I won’t hurt you”, etc.)
9. If you carry a protection tool (e.g., pepper spray, a club, taser, etc.) make sure you know how to use it properly (don’t become your own victim)
10.Don’t be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings; if they look “sketchy” or make you feel uncomfortable, roll up your windows, lock your door, or cross to the other side of the street; hurting a stranger’s feelings is a small price to pay for your safety.
Dr. Barrie Morganstein is a psychologist at Southeast Psych who sees clients of all ages.