In the modern world, you can fall victim to crime everywhere you go, from the mall to your school and yes, even at home. Although it's impossible to completely eliminate the risk of crime from your daily life, a few simple steps can dramatically decrease your chance of becoming a victim of rape, assault, theft, and dozens of other possible crimes. The following checklist can help you measure how well you are protecting your personal safety.
In the Home - Do you routinely lock your doors and windows, even when you are at home during the day? Have you gone a step further by protecting them with audible alarms? Statistics show that most criminals enter through a door or window that has been left unlocked.
Are you careful who you let in the door? Do you ask for photo ID when letting a repairman in? Do you check the references of those who work in or around your house? Are you present when repairmen enter your home, or do you allow them to come inside and have free reign of your home while you're away at work?
Do you keep a list of emergency numbers near your phone? Do your children know who to call in case of an emergency? Do you even know where the local police station is located? Far too many people simply don't know where to turn if they need emergency assistance.
Fire Safety - In addition to general home security practices, are you doing enough to protect your safety in case of a fire in the home? Do you have an emergency escape plan for fires and natural disasters? Do you keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it? Are all matches and lighters secured out of the reach of children? Are the batteries in your smoke alarms checked regularly?
In Your Community - Maintaining good communications with your neighbors is one of the most effective ways to reduce the chance of home invasions and other property crimes in the neighborhood. Far too often, homeowners never speak to those living next to them. Do you talk to your neighbors at least every few weeks? Have you talked about watching each other's property? Do you agree to collect each other's mail and newspapers during vacations?
Does your neighborhood have an active Neighborhood Watch program? This program is a formalized agreement to keep an eye on activities in the area and report any suspicious behaviors to the police. Communities with active Neighborhood Watch programs post street signs advising would-be criminals of this fact.
Your Daily Routine - Do you ever carry more tan $250 in cash in your wallet? Do you use the ATM only in a secure area during the day, or do you sometimes use the ATM after dark or in out-of-the way places?
Do you carry a cell phone? What about a stun gun, a personal alarm, or a canister of pepper spray? Is your personal safety ever even a consideration when you're out jogging, shopping, or running errands? Do you have a self defense plan for the "what if" scenario?
Your Car - Do you make a point to lock your car doors and roll up the windows wherever you park, even if you'll just be there for a minute? Do you make an effort to park in well-lit parking lots, and avoid walking to your car alone at night?
Often, our ordinary daily routines make us a target for criminal activity. Following these simple rules of personal safety can dramatically decrease the possibility of becoming a crime victim.