Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Safety & Serenity

Aunt B,

I watch the news and I seen a lot of people who are raped, murdered, or missing. I am married, my husband works nights and I have a big 152 pound Bullmastiff/American Bulldog mix and I hate to be alone because I fear for my safety. I was wondering if you could give me and my husband some pointers on how to stay safe when I am just alone or alone with my dog. I try not to worry. But would like to stay safe not sorry.

Dear Concerned for Safety,

We want to be safe and sound no matter where we are, but the best prepared people can still be in unfortunate circumstances. So it is hard to say the best way to stay safe, but I will give you pointers for yourself, and your home to try and help ease your mind that you have done everything you can to safeguard yourself while home alone.

I would advise you to turn off the TV though, because it is doing nothing but making you paranoid. Yes, it is a reality that people are harming people in our world. But we do not need to be so consumed and afraid by this that it hinders our everyday life.

So with that in mind, here are a few things you can do:

1)- BE AWARE. Crime stats are different than news stories.

a) Criminal damage (including vandalism and arson): 8% of households were affected.

b) Burglary: 2% of households were affected. Domestic burglary peaked in 1993 and has now returned to the same level as 1981.

c) Theft (including mugging, bicycle and household theft): 14% of the population was affected.

d) Sexual offences: 3% of women and 1% of men were affected.

e) Vehicle theft: 7% of households were affected. Car theft peaked a few years ago and has now reduced to the same rate as 1981.

f) Card fraud: 3% of card users were affected in 2004. 1% of the population was affected by fraud or forgery (all types) last year.

These statistics were from this site: http://www.personalsafetyadvice.co.uk/StayingCrimeAware.html and they have pointed out ways to help you secure yourself with personal theft, criminal damage and thievery from vehicles (the top three percentiles). That site also has a lot of other really great security measures for on-line, after dark safety, etc that you may want to look at.

2) Get a security system installed, and display the signage of the alarm on your property or on the front door (which should have a peep hole in it). When your husband leaves for work, you can set the alarm up on perimeter (obviously because you will still be walking around inside). Depending on if you own a house or apartment will depend on the cost. Initial cost for set up will depend on how many doors/windows you would like secured but the initial set up is often free with extended contract.

3) Keep a cell phone or portable phone with you at all times. If someone is breaking into your house, you can call for help – but not if you don’t know where the phone is!

4) Don’t tell people you are alone. I mean NO ONE. On-line people often forget that just because a person tells you they are in New York, and you are sitting in Santa Barbra doesn’t mean they are where they say they are, you have no idea. They could be right next door. So be aware of who you are telling things too. Not just on-line either; watch your tongue at work, at the mall, on your phone. Just be aware that people are listening in.

5) If you still feel unsafe, you can take a self defence class so that you can try and protect yourself if something were to happen. Classes are typically held at YMCA|YWCA or community class centers (leisure centers etc).

6) And last on my list (because of controversy), you can get a gun for your home. But guns are only as good as the person wielding it, and should be taken as a serious responsibility. You should have taken lessons and KNOW how to wield a weapon, any weapon, the same as you would get trained to drive a car. So if you do not intend to take on the responsibility of gun ownership (this is learning how to shoot, getting a license, cleaning your weapon regularly, making sure it its in your possession and not stolen) then you definitely should not get one.

These are just some of the things you can do to better secure yourself while home alone. Hopefully this will help to ease your mind.

Wishing You Safety & Serenity,


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