Unless you have a Black Belt in the martial arts, everyone needs some sort of personal security protection today, especially if you live in a large city or travel through lonely parts of the countryside. One can choose from a variety of personal security devices which can help keep you safe, and there are a also many basic safety precautions one should always be keeping in mind when thinking about your personal safety and protection.
First there are the protection devices. A very effective deterrent against attackers and muggers is the personal safety alarm — the “screamer” — a device which emits a piercing scream when activated by the user. The loud noise immediately attracts the attention of everyone in sight and immediately deters a potential attacker. Even if there is no-one in sight, the attacker backs off because he knows this will attract attention.
Another effective protection device is the pepper spray or mace canister. These devices will stop almost any attacker. Pepper spray may be bought over the counter in most states. There is even a pepper spray device that looks like a pen. You will need a certificate to carry mace, which also means that you will require some basic training in the handling of mace.
Concealed weapons — guns and knives — are a very effective deterrent against personal attack. But concealed weapons are also illegal to carry. Remember Bernard Goetz? He shot three muggers on the New York subway and ended up sentenced to six months in jail for carrying a concealed weapon. You have to weigh the cost between saving your life in an emergency and breaking the law. No-one can decide this for you.
Besides the basic personal security devices, there are several things you can do on an ongoing basis to make yourself a less-likely target. The bottom line is vigilance: always be alert. Lock doors securely before leaving your home or place of business. Make sure you have your keys with you — it’s amazing how many times people leave their keys in their door. Vary your route to work — don’t take exactly the same route every day. If anyone is watching you, this should throw them off.
Keep your car doors locked while you are driving. Look in your rear-view mirror often when driving. If you think someone is following you, try and lose them like in the movies. If this doesnâ€™t work, try driving to a police or Highway Patrol station. Unless you are being tailed by law enforcement, this usually sends them away. When you get home, park in the garage and lock the garage door. Make sure your garage is always well-lit.
If you find yourself alone in a dark and lonely part of town, a smart thing to do is get on your cell phone (or pretend you’re on your cell phone) and make like you are having a conversation with someone. Somehow, an attacker is less likely to attack someone who is actually talking to someone on the phone. If you don’t have your cell phone with you, and you think the situation is getting serious, start acting completely crazy — sing, dance, make weird noises — do anything to make a potential mugger think you are crazy. No-one wants to start anything with a crazy person. This works every time.
Always let family and close friends know where you are. If you are leaving the office for a friend’s house, call and let them know you are leaving now, and maybe even what route you are taking. If you don’t show up after a certain reasonable time, they can immediately begin to do something about it. A relative or friend should always know where you are at all times. If you live alone, make sure you check in with someone every day: if you don’t check in one day, they will know something is wrong. If you have a serious medical condition or other reason that requires it, you should be fitted with an emergency medical alert device that will alert paramedics in a medical emergency. More and people today are installing video surveillance systems to keep an eye on loved ones, particularly elderly or bedridden family members.
If you are famous or are in the public eye for any reason, you may need personal security protection beyond which you can provide on your own. Many people in the public eye cannot go out without a personal security guard, even if it’s just to prevent being mobbed by the public. A driver or chauffeur is often the choice of people who desire a higher level of personal security. People today often choose to be driven in a nondescript, regular automobile rather than a flashy limousine. Corporate executives and foreign diplomats may have their car fitted with bulletproof windows, armor-plating, and other protection against terrorist attacks or kidnapping attempts. The average person need not be concerned about these issues: only famous people get assassinated, and only rich people get kidnapped — you need to make sure you don’t get mugged behind the Safeway.