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Personal safety is the topic of this installment in the Racine County Eye’s “Snapshots of Safety” series.

Personal safety is very important in our society. It is not uncommon, no matter where you are, to be at risk with your personal safety. These are just some suggestions to consider as you travel in the community.

snapshot of personal safety
Paying attention to your surroundings rather than your phone is one way to remain safe when in public. – Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

It means we may have to lift our heads out of our cell phones and look around to see what is going on around us, and where it is going on around us.

Situational Awareness

One of the first things I learned when I was studying safety, is called “Situational Awareness.”

Situational Awareness is an awareness of our immediate vicinity and of the people and objects within that environment.

It means we may have to lift our heads out of our cell phones and look around to see what is going on around us, and where it is going on around us. We may need to swivel our heads and really look all around us. We need to be aware of what is happening all around us. This makes us aware of any possible threats before they become a reality.

Always look for potential exits and places, where, if you need to go behind “cover” you can. When in a restaurant immediately recognize where all the building exits are. Face the entrance so you can see who is coming in the restaurant. Sit with your back against a wall so no one can be behind you.

And most importantly, don’t look like a victim. The offender quickly sizes up his target. They will usually go for the weakest link. Don’t look like the weakest link. Walk with purpose. Walk faster – not slower – than the crowd. Make eye contact. The offender will think twice because they now know that you saw them. Make a game of it. Challenge yourself to identify what and who is around you. Be a people watcher not a cell phone watcher and be very careful of people approaching you and getting into your personal space.

snapshot of personal safety
Moving slower than the crowd, looking down and/or avoiding eye contact are all behaviors a perpetrator seeks out in a victim. – Credit: Rodrigo Gonzalez / Unsplash

A snapshot of personal safety in review

  1. Lift your head and be aware of what is happening all around you
  2. Look for all potential exits and places to “take cover” when in a building
  3. In restaurants, sit facing the entrance, with your back to a wall, to stay aware of who enters
  4. Don’t look like a victim
  5. Walk with purpose; faster than the crowd
  6. Make eye contact
  7. Be aware of people approaching you, getting into your personal space

Keep your awareness level high when you are in public. Take these steps and you will be safer as you travel in our community. This is just a snapshot of personal safety.

Henry Perez is a retired police officer and a safety consultant.

Racine County Eye Snapshot series

Our first installment: Gun safety

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