The United States experiences some of the highest crime rates around the globe. Many crimes have dropped off from the 1990s to today, but if you turn on the news, you will hear stories about mass shootings, assaults, and rapes. These crimes happen in both cities and rural areas.
Some people may feel that staying at home is the only way to keep safe. However, being online can lead to cyber threats and digital attacks, causing many Americans to feel like their safety is being challenged from every angle.
The numbers combined with stories and other anecdotal evidence may have you looking for ways to stay safe. You might want practical tips for getting into your car or safety strategies for going out late at night. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite tips you can use to keep yourself safe even when the world feels dangerous.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Paying attention to what is going on around you is a significant deterrent for criminals. You are more likely to notice changes in your environment if you’re looking around, engaging with others, and can hear what’s happening around you. Many people walk down the street with their eyes down at their phone and with earbuds tucked tightly into their ears, making them more likely targets if a criminal is looking for an opportunity.
If you’re out and about for the day, put the phone away. Keep it handy in case you need it for an emergency, but don’t text or talk while you’re walking or driving. Keep distractions to a minimum, which includes music in devices that drown out the rest of the world around you. Take note of your environment, such as who is around you and what people are doing. Paying attention helps you to be better prepared to handle any dangerous situations that may happen.
Consider Carrying a Tool for Protection
Paying attention alone isn’t always enough to keep you safe. Sometimes, the difference between safety and danger is having a way to defend yourself from others. Some people feel more comfortable when they carry a gun or survival knife for personal protection. These types of weapons can be beneficial if you go out for an evening jog or travel to and from work late at night.
If guns and knives make you a bit nervous, you have other personal protection tool options. Tasers are electronic weapons that deliver an electric shock when used. Using a taser won’t harm or kill the individual, but it will disable them so that you can get away. You may also want to think about buying pepper spray which irritates the person’s eyes and skin to slow them down.
Some devices are sold that make loud noises when activated to scare off any possible attackers. Technology has also joined the personal safety fight. You can find apps that track your location, alerts your friends or family if you’re in danger, or lets those in your network know when you’ve reached your destination. Try out bSafe, to live stream your location to let others know when you need help. You can also record a video or press an SOS button to send your location to your connections. Circle of 6 allows you to pick as many as six friends to add to your circle. If you’re uncomfortable about your situation, send a message to everyone in your circle to let them know your locations. You can also reach various hotlines in the app for easy access.
Stay Safe When You Exercise
Physical activity is essential for your overall wellness as you age. Many people enjoy getting outside for a walk or run to stay fit and active. However, being outdoors and distracted can put you in a higher-than-typical risk of being attacked. You must remember a few safety tips when you’re outdoors to keep you safe, such as:
- Run with a buddy or team.
- Tell your partner, friend, or family member before you leave home.
- Don’t run with music.
- Wear an ID at all times.
- Carry your phone in a pouch or pocket.
- Bring your dog with you.
Install Security Software on Your Computer or Laptop
You need to be vigilant in your digital world as well. Hackers and other cybercriminals are everywhere. More than 24,000 malicious apps are blocked daily, and 780,000 records were lost each day in 2017 alone. Hackers send emails, ask you to download documents, and even call your personal phone. Technology has advanced and continues to search for ways to keep you and your data safe. Here are a few strategies you can use to protect against cyberattacks:
- Never click on emails or attachments if you don’t know the sender.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone.
- Create unique passwords and don’t share them with others.
Safety goes beyond yourself and your neighborhood. Working together to advocate for safer communities is the best way to decrease crime in the U.S. and feel safer. Consider joining an organization or event to bring awareness to issues that you support. If you want to raise awareness about sexual assault, domestic violence, or sexual abuse, consider participating in a Take Back the Night event. If you’re passionate about decreasing gun violence in schools, check out organizations like Protect Our Schools or Sandy Hook Promise. There are ways to get involved and raise awareness for just about any issue you’re passionate about.
Safety is more than a feeling. It’s a state of being without the worries of danger. Safety strategies are those things that keep us safe in the summer at home and at work or things we do before we walk to a parking garage late at night. You may not be able to make the world safe, but you can keep yourself safe from the world by using these tips.
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