Today's Grommet, ila security, actually got me thinking quite a bit about my own personal safety. I know there are times when I'm not as aware of my surroundings and as alert as I should be ... and I'll bet I'm not the only one feeling that way after watching today's video. Jacqui Hames is the spokesperson for Ila security and she reached out and asked us to pass along her top 10 safety tips for personal safety. I was very impressed by Jacqui -- she's one of Britain's best-known real-life detectives, with 25 years in the London Metropolitan Police. Plus, she co-hosted BBCs Crimewatch for 16 years. She clearly knows what she's talking about, so I'm happy to share her safety primer with everyone here.
by Jacqui Hames
1. THINK AHEAD
Take a few minutes before you go out to think through and plan your journey, particularly if it's not a regular route.
It may sound obvious but try and avoid poorly lit or very quiet areas if possible - even if it is the quickest route.
Check public transport journey times and look for alternative options should your plans change or a bus/train is cancelled - have a contingency.
2. CARRY A MOBILE PHONE
This can be a lifeline when stranded but when you need it most you can guarantee you'll have forgotten to top up your credit or the battery will be flat! If nothing else, make sure you have change for a call box. Some phones have an SOS message facility - check yours.
3. LET SOMEONE KNOW
Keep in touch with a member of your family or a friend, particularly of you're feeling nervous or a little vulnerable on a new route. Phone or text just before you start your journey and let them know what time you should be arriving.
4. CARRY PERSONAL SECURITY ALARM
This could give you the opportunity to stop any attacker in his tracks. Attaching the ila Dusk to the outside of your bag also provides you with the additional feature of using a woman's scream.
So many of us are literally 'struck dumb' with fear when confronted by an attacker - the ila Dusk gives you back a voice and valuable seconds to escape. Sad to say these days there aren't many knights in shining armour about to come to your rescue unless you're really lucky, but using the few seconds to put as much distance between you, could stop you from becoming a victim.
5. WALK WITH CONFIDENCE
Following all these tips will give you confidence and there's no doubt that striding out, head up, oozing confidence is one of the best ways of putting off a potential attacker. He won't want to raise his risk of being caught, so if he thinks you're going to cause him trouble he's likely to be put off. When you arrive at your front door have your key ready to go straight in. Try to wear flat shoes (or have spares with you) and walk with traffic coming towards you so a car can't creep up and surprise you from behind.
6. DON'T FLASH YOUR CASH OR VALUABLES
If you stop at a cash machine or shop on the way, try to conduct transactions as discretely as possible. Carrying your bag with the clasp facing inwards is a good idea, but keep your keys and phone separately in your pocket if possible.
7. TAKE OFF THOSE HEADPHONES
It's sooo tempting to lose yourself in your favourite music when walking home or to work, but being aware of your surroundings and the other people around you will sharpen your senses and provide an early warning system of any potential trouble.
8. ALWAYS USE LICENSED CABS
When your feet are sore, you're tired, fed up and desperate to get home it's oh so tempting to get into a car when the driver says 'Want a cab, love?' Please don't - licensed cab drivers are only allowed to ply for hire in a regulated cab rank. Would you willingly get into a stranger's car under normal circumstances? Well that's exactly what this is.
Book a cab through a known cab company and make sure the driver tells you the name it was booked in - before you get in. Programme a couple of reputable cab numbers into your phone before you go out.
9. IF YOU THINK YOU'RE BEING FOLLOWED
I know - our worst nightmare. But it needn't be if you keep your wits about you and act fast. First try crossing a road or turning back on yourself. If they continue to follow, assume your suspicions are right and get help. Try pretty much anywhere there are people - pub, bar, cafe, shop, service station etc or knock on the nearest door where the lights are on. If the worst happens and you think an attack is imminent set off your ila Dusk alarm and run as fast as your can towards an area where you know there will be people. Leave your shoes behind and even your handbag if that's what he's after - you are far more valuable than property.
10. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Well all develop instincts or intuition for danger as we gain more experience of life. But it's easy, particularly under influence of alcohol or peer pressure to ignore what they're telling you. Trust them and you'll invariably stay one step ahead of the criminal.
For more about Jacqui's background, you can check out the video she sent us below:
To enter to win, just leave a comment or question below. Jacqui will also be checking in to answer any questions you might have!
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 9:00 am PST September 29, 2010 to 10 pm PST September 30, 2010.