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crime prevention and personal safety

3 Ways to Stay Safe

At Home, On the Go, and Everywhere In-Between

Crime Prevention and Personal Safety: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a True Crime junkie, you know that there are endless possibilities of things that can go bump in the night. Even if you’ve only listened to one True Crime podcast—or watched an episode or two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation—you’ve probably wondered how you can protect yourself and your family (so your story doesn’t end up on next week’s episode).

As a security company, we’re huge proponents of security systems. But beyond fortifying your home with alarms, motion detectors, and more, there are other ways to prevent crime. According to Kyrsten Holland, Security Expert with Vio Security, “when it comes to keeping you and your loved ones out of harm’s way, it all boils down to some common sense safety basics.”

To protect you from burglary, assault, and more, Vio Security compiled a home and personal security checklist to keep you safe in and out of your home.

The 4-1-1 on Protecting Your Home

1. Trash That Hide-A-Key

Gone are the days where we hide spare keys under a rock. Although hide-away rocks and plants have become increasingly convincing, even the most novice burglars know to look for them—and what to look for. If you’re worried about someone in your home getting locked out, consider installing a keypad lock instead.

2. Take Your Name Off Your Mailbox

As tempting or helpful as it may seem, avoid writing your first and last name on your mailbox or mail slot. Displaying your name for the whole world to see can help criminals (and cybercriminals alike) learn more about you and your financial and sensitive information. (It’s the same reason you shouldn’t use “JohnsonFamilyofFive” or “CampbellClan” as your Wi-Fi name.)

3. Don’t Broadcast Your Vacay

Empty homes are prime candidates for burglars. To avoid tipping anybody off, consider leaving lights on and having a friend or neighbor bring in your mail (and wait to share those beach pics until you’ve returned home).

4. Keep Your Home’s Exterior Well-Lit and Well-Maintained

Criminals are more likely to lurk around your property if there are bushes, trees, and dark areas to conceal them. The more consistently you turn on your porch light, invest in outside lighting or motion detection lights, trim your bushes, and maintain your lawn, the more likely you’ll ward off anyone who shouldn’t be there.

5. Never Leave Valuables in Plain Sight

The old saying goes: don’t play with fire—and that’s especially true when it comes to crime.
Burglars are criminals of opportunity so don’t entice or make it easy for them to steal your stuff. If you leave your laptop, stereo, wallet, or any other valuable item in your car’s seat or near an open window in your home, it’ll catch the attention of thrill-seeking criminals looking to score some loot.

6. Consider Adopting a Buster or Fido

Nobody enjoys hearing their dog go ballistic each time the mailman comes to the door, but as it turns out, their protective, overzealous nature pays off. No matter how big or small they may be, barking dogs deter burglars and criminals. Dogs are also great companions when you’re on a run or walk at night.

7. Bring a Casserole to Your Neighbor

There’s a reason you should get to know your neighbors well—and it’s not just to be neighborly. It’s important to have someone near you that you can call in case of an emergency. To stave off crime when you’re out of town, for instance, it’s nice to have your neighbors keep their eyes peeled for anything suspicious, pick up your mail, and take your trash to the curb to give the illusion you’re at home.

Protecting Yourself On the Go: The Basics

1. Create a Safe Word for Your Immediate Family

Safe words are great tools to provide a way for children to signal when they’re uncomfortable or in danger, especially when they can’t put their emotions into words. Each family should create a safe word that’s only shared among those in the immediate family. Avoid using common words that might crop up in everyday conversation (e.g., milk, dog, park)—and one that’s easy for children to remember.

2. Draft an “In Case I Go Missing” File

As sobering as it may sound, it’s important to prepare for worst-case scenarios. In case you go missing, compile an “In Case I Go Missing” file beforehand to help detectives find you sooner. In your file, include everything from bank statements and passwords to photo evidence of scars and birthmarks and copies of your handwriting.

3. Invest in Self-Defense Classes

If you ever find yourself in an altercation, it’s best to be prepared. Self-defense courses help people build physical strength, confidence, and the ability to be better aware of their
surroundings.

4. Stock Up On Self-Defense Tools

If your self-defense skills aren't up to par with the best UFC fighters, mace, tasers, alarms, whistles, and sirens can protect you just as well—if not better. Even if you can’t throw a solid left hook, the sight of pepper spray and other self-defense weapons can prevent a criminal from taking an inch closer to you—and even if you can, they’re still nice to have. If using pepper spray or a taser feels a bit unnerving for you, consider a portable personal safety alarm.

5. Share Your Location with People You Trust

Whether you’re going on a first date, traveling for work or play, or going on a run, it’s important to share your location with close family and friends—that way they can track you if you go missing. The same way Uber and Lyft allow you to share your ride with someone, sharing your location with a small, trusted circle can help protect you even if your loved ones are miles away.

Protection For You & Your Home

Combine tried-and-true crime prevention basics with a reliable security system to fortify your home, and give you peace of mind even when you’re away from your humble abode. Fortunately, investing in you and your family’s safety will always be a winning game—regardless if your story ends up on the next Crime Junkie episode.

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