Here are some questions to help you explore your own personal safety. Just to make it easy, you should be answering yes to all of the following questions. If you answer No, have a closer look at the item to see if that is really how you wish to handle the situation.
In the home:
- Do you keep doors and windows locked at all times?
- Do you have a peephole so that you can see who is outside without having to open the door?
- Do you verify a person’s identification before opening the door?
- If a stranger asks to use your phone, do you refuse to let them into your home and offer to make the call yourself?
- Do you, as a woman living alone, use your first initials only in telephone directories, on mailboxes, etc.?
- Do you refuse to reveal personal information to anyone on the phone or at your door?
- Do you always have your keys ready when approaching your home?
- If you return home to find windows and doors tampered with, would you avoid entering and go to a neighbour’s house to call the police?
- Do you teach family members not to give personal or family information to strangers over the phone?
- Do you instruct older children who are babysitting or the babysitter to always say that you are at home, but busy and so they will take a message?
- Do you record only non-specific messages on your answering machine and avoid messages such as: “We’ll be back around 7 o’clock on Sunday”?
- Do you use the telephone company’s ‘Caller ID’ feature?
- If you have a pager, do you ‘Call Forward’ your calls from your home to the pager?
- If you receive an obscene or crank call, would you hang up immediately, saying nothing?
On the go:
- Do you plan in advance the safest route to your destination?
- Do you choose busy, well-lit streets?
- Do you avoid routes that pass by high-risk areas?
- Do you avoid isolated bus stops?
- Do you walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars?
- Do you walk near the curb to avoid the element of surprise or someone hiding between shrubs or in a doorway?
- Do you stay out of reach if someone in a vehicle asks directions?
- Are you wary of approaching strangers?
- If you continue to be followed, do you flee to the nearest safe place?
- Do you try to get a description of the person and/or vehicle following you?
- Do you avoid carrying large sums of money in your purse or wallet?
- Do you carry your purse close to your body, without wrapping the straps around your arm or hand?
- Do you avoid leaving a purse unattended, even for a moment?
- Do you avoid displaying large amounts of cash in public?
In your car:
- Do you always lock your car doors while driving?
- Do you keep windows rolled up whenever possible?
- Do you avoid picking up hitchhikers?
- Do you keep your car in good running order to avoid breakdowns in dangerous areas?
- Do you look for well-lit areas to park your car?
- Do you always lock your car when it is parked?
- Do you look around the car before you get out, especially at night or in deserted areas such as underground parking lots?
- When returning to your car, do you have your keys in hand?
- Do you look in the back seat before getting into the car?
- If you are being followed, do you avoid going home and go to the nearest place of safety instead?
We hope that this has proved to be a valuable exercise in examining your personal safety.