What do you think of when you hear the word “crime”? Does it conjure up frightening images of masked men lurking in the shadows, ready to strike an unsuspecting victim? In reality, men and women, young and old, can be criminals. They may be well dressed and nicely groomed. They may look like someone you’d like to get to know. Criminals want to fit in and not be noticed. NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim® program teaches the tips and techniques you need to be alerted to dangerous situations and to avoid becoming a victim.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to crime prevention, creating a personal safety strategy can help you avoid criminal confrontation and victimization. A safety strategy is a plan to minimize your risks as well as being prepared for certain situation you may face in your daily life. You cannot control a criminals actions but you can effect what happens to you by taking extra care for your individual safety by following your safety plan. Deciding how you will react during a confrontation prior to the confrontation itself will be to your benefit. The main goal of a personal safety strategy is to guard yourself from physical, mental and emotional threats. During the confrontation, you will likely be agitated, scared and your adrenaline will be pumping. This is not the ideal time to start thinking about how you will react. One of the most effective and least expensive ways to start your own personal safety strategy is to be as mentally prepared and aware as possible.
What is your level of awareness?
When developing your personal safety strategy, you need to think about your level of awareness, or the degree to which you observe what is going on around you. This will change for different locations and activities:
A low level of awareness may be in order when you are watching a movie in the comfort of your well secured home.
A moderate level of awareness may be in order when in a familiar public area that is bustling with people unknown to you.
A high level of awareness may be in order when you are in an area which is new to you and is known to have high crime rate.
How will you react?
Think about various types of potential criminal confrontation you could find yourself in. Examples of possible criminal confrontations are: someone trying to rob you on the street, a carjacking, someone trying to break into your home, or personal identity theft. Next, think about some of the ways you could react to those types of confrontations:
Will you comply with the criminal and be passive?
Will you call attention to the confrontation to try to attract help?
Will you flee?
Or will you fight?
Think through your daily routine
Your daily routine may take you to a variety of environments and put you in contact with different people. What is going on around you? What activities are people involved in? What is the environment like? What sights, sounds or smells, do you pick up on? What is your intuition telling you? Where might you need a high level of awareness vs. a low level of awareness?
Example: Let’s say you’ve stopped at a gas station to pick up your morning coffee on your way to work. You walk in and see there is someone holding a gun, attempting to rob the cashier. What would you do?
Implement additional strategies
Other personal safety strategies might include always traveling in a group of people, alerting friends and family where you are going and what time to expect you, or keeping your cell phone charged at all times. Additionally, plan your day to be as safe as you can, i.e. should you visit the ATM after work when it’s dark or can you go at lunch time when it’s bright outside and there are people around? These are all small parts of developing your safety plan.
There is no right answer or reaction that is correct in every situation. Every situation is different, like every person is different, and therefore you will need to decide for yourself how you will react. For more information and to find a seminar near you please visit rtbav.nra.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.