Personal safety tips to live by

The fight or flight mechanism is an important tool in safeguarding well-being, but there is much more a person can do than relying strictly on gut reaction. Taking personal safety seriously means having a realistic view of the potential dangers in the world, and employing various strategies that promote safety.

• Put down the phone. Distractions are a major cause of injury and putting oneself at risk. Texting while walking or driving increases the risk for injuries. Predators also look for signs of distraction or weakness, and eyes that are glued to a phone make it hard to remain aware of your surroundings.

• Lock your doors. Everyone wants to believe theirs is a safe community. But crimes like door push-ins or break-ins happen in every community. Locking home and vehicle doors puts an added barrier between a would-be criminal and your belongings or person.

• Stick to well-lit areas. The dark can hide people and ill intentions. Try to run as many errands or tasks during daylight hours as possible. When you must go out at night, walk or park in well-lit areas.

• Move to a public place. If you think you are being followed, either on foot or in the car, go to a public place or a police station.

• Don’t overshare on social media. People have a tendency to throw caution to the wind on social media, revealing personal details they likely wouldn’t share in other settings. Posting you are out of the house or away on vacation is an invitation for trouble.

• Avoid isolated places. Waiting for a bus, taxi, ride share, or even to meet another friend in a place without a lot of people around can put you at risk. It’s better to wait inside of a store or a building with others, if possible.

• Check visitors first. Whether at home or in a hotel while traveling, confirm who is knocking on the door before opening it. If someone states they are from a particular business or service, ask for identification. Call the front desk of a hotel to confirm identities and purposes.

• Watch your drink. Never leave a drink unattended in a public restaurant or bar, as something can be slipped into it. Similarly, don’t accept a drink you that didn’t see being poured.

Maintaining personal safety is something that requires forethought and practice.

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