Well, truth is, there is no “one-step solution” when it comes to protecting yourself. In many instances, it’s the simple application of mind-set and common sense. Your mind-set is your “battle-readiness” state of mind. Often, you can put your brain on alert by simply reminding yourself that criminals look for an opportunity to take advantage of people who walk around with an inflated sense of security and those who believe it always “happens to someone else”. So turn on your crook alarm, activate your vulnerability radar and go into the world ready and unafraid. Author Stephen King was once quoted as saying, “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” It’s a great summary of the best mind-set a person can have. I’m not encouraging you to turn your house into a fortification or saying you have to shape yourself into a paranoid extremist. I’m simply saying that a prepared mind is a less vulnerable mind and one less likely to be caught unawares. When you turn on that crime-radar, you are just making it a little more difficult to become a victim. A little bit of common sense goes a long way. To aid you in your journey toward becoming a safer you, here are some tips for parents and children that will help (as authored in the Jan/Feb/Mar 2014 edition of the Police Family Survivors Fund Newsletter Article entitled “No Cure for Crime): PARENTS:
- Always know where your children are.
- Put your children’s emergency contact information in a safe and accessible place on their clothing or backpack.
- Teach your children your home telephone or cellular telephone number and how to dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.
- Agree on a specific time when your children must return home.
- Contact Law Enforcement authorities immediately if there is anything suspicious or in cases of unlawful activity.
- Purchase and watch the “Safe Side” video with your children.
- Always tell your parents where you are going.
- Never enter any home without getting your parent’s permission first.
- Never get into any vehicle, unless your parents know and have said it’s OK.
- Always wear reflective clothing at night.
- Never approach any house that is not well lit.
- Remember, anything weird that an adult says or does to you and tell your parents immediately.
- Run away from people who offer you candy or other treats or want you to help look for their lost puppy or kitten.
- Scream, run and fight if anyone tries to grab you or make you go with them.
- Don’t play in unfamiliar areas.
- Stay on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, always walk facing traffic.
Remember, there can’t be an police officer on every corner, so a lot of your safety depends on you. Keep your home well lit. Never answer the door nonchalantly when there is someone you don’t know standing outside. Always lock your doors. Double locks are extra security. Stay alert for signs of trouble up ahead and have a predetermined plan of action that involves escape. Remember, this list is far from all-inclusive. You are the greatest champion of your own safety. Be safe and best wishes from your team at Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 2.