Safety Tips To Get Through The Summer MonthsA Practical Resource Guide That Could Save Your Life
Safety Tips To Get Through The Summer Months
“Safety is 30% common sense; 80% compliance and the rest is good luck”
We happen to think Barry is right! Well except for his math!
As the temperature gets warmer, we naturally gravitate to the outdoors. Weekends are all about being outside. We go out shopping, we do more lunches and dinners outside. There are festivals in most communities every weekend. Summer concerts are all the rage from May thru end of August. After a winter of harsh temperatures and record setting accumulating snow falls, we all seem to have cabin fever and want to get outside.
But guess what… so do the criminals. Ever look at how gun violence spikes as the mercury rises?
All one has to do is look at the local news in any major city, there is a direct correlation between the number of shootings and the temperature. An article on Phys.Org states that there’s an old maxim: Being a cop gets a whole lot busier when its hot. They draw a correlation between temperatures and crime.
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As you can see, this impacts all crime analyzed with maybe the exception of drunk driving, which is weird. Dr. Leah Schinasi, PhD published an article in the Journal of Urban Health and her findings from 2006 until 2015 suggest that violent crime and disorderly conduct increased markedly with daily temperatures. Crime rates go up between the months of May through September per her research. Dr. Schinasi states that for example, when the heat index (a metric that uses temperature and humidity to represent human comfort) was 98 degrees, rates of violent crime were 9 percent higher compared to days when the temperature was 57 degrees. When it came to rates of disorderly conduct, they were 7 percent higher on 98 degree days than on 57 degree days.
Science backs up what many of us had a sense of. For me it is good to have concrete data to reinforce our anecdotal experiences and observations. Now we must use this data to make sure we are more prepared, more observant, more in tune with our situational awareness.
In a previous post, I wrote on the 12 Days of Safety I listed several safety tips and hacks that I think are very applicable to summer months.
One resource, Women on Guard spells out the best safety practices for a myriad of situations, i.e., safety in parking lots, safe and secure hotel rooms, jogging safety, party safety, carjacking, ATM safety, driving safety tips and even tips for preventing sexual assault. This is a very comprehensive list and the detail on the site is impressive. I encourage you to take a peek. But the suggestions like the quote above, have about the same ratio, 30% common sense.
The safety experts at Swanpany came up with 100 Personal Safety Tips, I will take a few liberties with their list. They talk about a thing called building your safety mindset first. I want to start here.
- Try not to park next to taller vehicles at the mall, especially on both sides- parking between two tall vehicles can camouflage and give cover to would be robbers, rapist, carjackers or any other deviant that would do you harm. An assailant can lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim to pull in, half distracted and with an accomplice they can slide a van door open and pull you right in. This becomes a perfect hiding spot.
- Have your key in your hand and between two fingers clinched in a fist as you walk to your car. This can be an effective weapon when punching into soft tissue. Parking garages and parking lots are a predator’s best friend. Crime Safety and Security tells of several accounts where bad guys approached women in parking lots and garages with guns and knives demanding they get in the car with them. Fortunately, these women kept their wits and managed to scream and run. They profile the predator’s favorite parking lot target:
- Someone looking friendly, timid, lost, absent minded, or intoxicated
- Someone wearing earphones or distracted with a cell phone
- Someone unaware she’s being followed
- Someone “handcuffed” with both arms loaded with packages or even a baby
- Someone parked close to trucks or taller SUV’s
How many times have you been one or all of these?!
The authors at Crime Safety and Security recommend pepper spray or a personal security alarm. And the biggest nugget I got from their site, beware of the good Samaritan. This is the ruse that the distracted, overly friendly, or the naive simply fall for the most.
- Don’t fumble around looking for keys- have them out and ready before getting to the car or house. Self-explanatory. Have your keys ready at all times. Keys can serve as a make shift weapon in a pinch, and they can make you look prepared and less of a target.
- Keep your head on a swivel as you walk scanning the lot. Your head should be on a swivel, scanning and your situational awareness should be in a heightened state, and on guard. Your most powerful tool for your personal safety is your alertness combined with intuition.
- Trust your gut! I cannot stress this one enough! If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck—it probably is a duck. If your senses tell you something is not quite right, trust them. God gave us that internal alarm for good reason, do not ignore it. If it goes off, it’s probably right and warning you of some danger. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!This goes hand in hand with Situational Awareness. Terri Howard, writes very explicitly on the subject in FEI Workforce Resilience and explains Cooper’s Colors. John Dean “Jeff” Cooper, a United States Marine, is responsible for Cooper’s Colors.
Cooper’s Colors are a set of criteria by which to gauge the level of danger within a given scenario to highlight how important gut is to situational awareness.
Cooper’s Colors are:
- White– Unaware, unprepared and unconcerned. This is the normal state of mind when you are in the safety of your home.
- Yellow— Attentive but relaxed. This is the normal state of mind when out in public, such as when you are running errands or visiting the grocery store. While this keeps threats remote to your person, it facilitates a distance that allows you to notice the nice things in life without immediate cause for concern.
- Orange— Your focus becomes directed at a potential threat. Now you must start planning a strategy in case the potential threat become concrete and imminent. Ideally, you will avoid the situation altogether.
- Red— Imminent danger exists, and immediate action is needed. You must make the decision to run, hide/take cover or fight.
- Black— You are actively applying an appropriate level of justifiable force—firearm, pepper spray or improvised weapon—to neutralize an imminent threat to life and limb. If you are actively being robbed or hurt, then you may need to comply with demands. (It is crucial a firearm never be used unless you are extensively trained to ensure proficiency, familiar with state laws and prepared to kill someone to defend your own life.)
It is good practice combining these color charts and trusting your gut.
- Don’t let people into your personal space. I limit engagement with panhandlers, I tell them I do not have money. For strangers asking for directions or trying to make random conversation; I tell them I do not know or that I am new to area. And I don’t stop —I keep walking and scanning watching for any ruse that may be unfolding. This is not to be rude but most cons to rob or assault are committed inside the three-foot mark. This provides cover to the bad guy and witnesses assume it is just a friendly exchange.
- Carry a personal alarm or whistle— I highly recommend this for women in parking lots, isolated areas, office buildings, and when out on the town leaving bars and restaurants. This should be something that’s always in your purse, on your person, or even attached to your keys (that are out and, in your hand,) that’s easy to access when needed. Make sure it has fresh batteries if it takes them. This audible alert could be a life saver. It could scare off a person with bad intentions or cause enough unwanted attention that the aggressor just changes course and moves on.
- Don’t be afraid to yell stranger danger!!! This may sound silly for an adult, but we have been trained to hear this from kids and we spring into action when we hear this, it serves a function like the alarm or whistle. But unlike the personal alarm that many people seem to tune out, because we are numb to car alarms going off randomly all the time, those two words are a trigger, and no one ignores a child in trouble.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone early in the AM or late evenings. Many of my friends are runners and prefer the isolation of an early morning run or late evening especially when the temps are brutal from mid-day to late evening. It’s personally not my cup of tea, but they say, it’s their stress relief after an intense day at work. It is how they unwind. I get that, we all need a way to decompress. But I would advocate for being as safety conscious as possible. Letting someone know your running route and a start time and expected finish time. Wearing a head light and reflective clothing. Keeping a cell phone on your person and a personal alarm or whistle. I also would advise a small compact firearm if you are a concealed carry permit holder. If in the Chicago area, look up Chicago’s Most Trusted Firearm Trainer, Pew Pew Guru for private, group CCW and firearm training.
- Avoid isolated areas—The peace and tranquility of isolation can also be and a magnet for danger and violence. Balance the two extremes. Use good judgement when aimimg for that peace and tranquility and never let your guard down.
- Use common sense. I know common sense is rare and that the phrase common sense is kind of a misnomer but let’s stretch our common-sense muscle. Let’s build muscle memory for common sense. We do this by taking the most mundane and passing it through a set of filters. The filters should ask: what are the consequences of this action, what are the risk, what are worse case and best-case outcomes. Once those filter is in place— I suggest you run every choice through your common-sense filter. Use your new rose-colored safety glasses to assess every touch point, communication, interaction, decision, option, choice.
- Use Common Sense. Yes I meant to repeat this. It’s that important but often neglected.
This video has one of the best personal protection and self defense techniques that i have run across. This is simple and doesn’t take a lot of expertise, or physical strength–only some training to get the technique down. This could save your life is someone is trying to abduct you or make you go against your will.
This video 25 Self-Defense Techniques and Survival hacks For Women is a must watch and could actually provide a useful tip that could save your life. I urge you to take a look.
As we get out in the warmth of summer, whether it’s a friends cookout, a summer music festival, a girls night out or just an after payday shopping spree, let’s remember to use these principles. Keep Barry’s quote in mind and exercise common sense. Let’s use situational awareness, let’s scan those parking lots, let’s remember to not park near or between taller vehicles, let’s be always vigilant and watching for lurking trouble. If I can leave you with one thing, it’s that criminals seize on the casualness and carefree nature that comes with warm weather. No one associates a Sun Dress with be on guard, or a halter top and safety—wait do women even wear halter tops anymore? My point is— flip flops, shorts and Ray Bans can and should make you even more aware as your winter digs, when you are cautious and in the yellow on Coopers chart. Be safe and have fun.