Thursday, May 3, 2012

What did you notice today?

How many boarded up windows did you drive past today? Closed businesses? Any of 'em that weren't closed yesterday?

Boarded up: A recently closed convenience store
Situational awareness is a means of keeping yourself safe by being aware of your surroundings, and adopting strategies and habits that steer you around trouble spots. But first, you have to be aware.

Too many of us fail to note the signs around us. With music cranked loud, lots of folks drive like zombies, at times taking every cue from a GPS. If that's you, maybe it's time to turn down the sound and look around.

Do you drive through neighborhoods were idle groups seem to loiter? Or where large numbers of buildings look vacant, or show broken glass, graffiti and other signs of vandalism? Do you have a plan if you ever have a flat tire on a street like that? Would you feel safe changing it out?

Ever consider scouting another route?

A local Burger King closed this week.
How many won't notice until they want a Whopper?
Not everything you see will be crime oriented. Some cues may be economic. In the past three months, I've noticed three restaurants have closed on a five mile stretch of highway I drive daily. I bet there's hundreds of people who drive the same strip everyday who haven't noticed.

I'm not saying every rough looking street is necessarily dangerous. Or that every empty storefront is an economic milestone. But visual cues should be processed. Safety shouldn't be taken for granted. Being aware of what's around you is a first step to doing your own personal security audit. And you may even learn a thing or two about your community that you've previously overlooked.

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