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Personal Safety

No-one expects to be a victim of crime or violence, but sometimes it happens, and it is important that you are ready for it when it does. Preparing for the worst does not mean learning to practice violence yourself or living a life of fear. There are some personal safety practices that can help to reduce your chances of being a victim, and still ensure that you can enjoy a life where you do the things that you love.

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  1.  Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings If you are aware of your surroundings then you can pick up a lot of information that will help you to avoid crime.
  2. Watch for familiar (or unfamiliar) faces
  3. Make sure you know where exits are at all times.
  4. Look in the back of your car before you get into it.
  5. Avoid people who are behaving suspiciously.
  6. Use Your Locks Many people fail to lock their doors because they don't believe that people will try to break in. If they're sitting in a car they'll leave the doors unlocked, which leaves them open to someone entering unexpectedly.

Things like this are small changes but they are things that can save lives. You have locks and alarms already, so why not use them the way that they were intended, and avoid being a victim of opportunistic crime.

Have a Plan at All Times We plan for fires and tornados, we plan for floods, and for power cuts. We even plan what we will do if we are driving in adverse weather and get stuck. Why not have a plan for actions that others take against us too? Do you know what you would do if you were mugged or if someone broke into your home? Having personal protective equipment is useful but do you know how to use it, and would you confidently do so in an emergency? Would you be able and willing to defend someone else if a loved one were under threat? It's harder than one thinks to do so, and it takes practice and preparation.

Stay Calm It's hard to regulate your emotions and cope with the adrenaline dump that comes from a difficult situation. Panic can be a powerful emotion. If you have a plan, you are less likely to panic. If you do feel yourself panicking, recognize it as a normal emotion, take a deep breath and focus on executing your plan. If you keep moving and keep your mind on doing the things that you have rehearsed, then you will find that you will be able to perform a lot better. The adrenaline dump that comes from stressful situations is something that you can deal with after the event.

Trust Your Instincts Sometimes you will have a feeling that something is not right. That feeling is usually correct. Your subconscious can often process things faster than our logical mind. Trust your instincts and if they say that someone is dangerous, stay away from them. If they say that you shouldn't be somewhere, get out of that area. If your subconscious was right, it has saved you from harm. If it was wrong, it has cost you nothing.

Don't Be a Creature of Habit Criminals watch people's habits and will try to use that information to their advantage. Don't be trusting with strangers. Don't have a static schedule. Take different routes (and notice if you are being followed), and take precautions with your belongings. Don't leave bags out of your sight. Don't broadcast an intent to go on holiday (because that means people will know your house is empty), and don't park your car in the same spot every day if you have the option to park elsewhere.

Know What is Going on read up on current events and current scams. Your local newspaper will likely publish articles about things like car alarm jammers, PIN skimmers and other scams that are going on in your area. Learn about those things, and you will be able to take precautions against them.

Travel With Friends If you are leaving the office late at night, walk with people. If you leave the gym and notice that there is someone by your car, then ask a staff member to walk you out to your car so that there is a deterrent to any would-be criminal action. It could be that the person parked next to you is a normal person just waiting to pick his wife up, but you don't know that and it is better to be safe than sorry.

There is safety in numbers and people who are in a group are less likely to be victims of crime.