How To Be Aware of Your Surroundings
I had always felt comfortable and safe inside my world. Dangers only existed on TV or in the movies. Bad things happened to other people, not me. I felt safe; I knew my surroundings and felt comfortable within them.
As manager of a women’s clothing store, I was used to hearing customers ask things like, “Does this look good?” “Do you have jewelry?” But one day, a voice behind me yelled, “Give me all your money!”
I didn’t turn around, but rather processed these words. I stared at a mom in the store with two young boys until again I heard, “Give me all your money!” I turned around to see a masked man pointing a gun at me.
In that moment, my sense of safety shattered. The danger that only existed in TV and movies just appeared in my workplace. He appeared at 7 p.m. while still light outside in a busy shopping center bustling with Saturday evening foot traffic. This began a series of events that changed my life forever.
Now as a survivor and safety advocate, I use my lived experiences to bring awareness and educate. Together with Mike Dandridge, CD Risk Consulting/ Executive Protection Expert, we share ways to always be prepared. As we go about our daily lives, we must make safety a priority.
We don’t expect to be in an unsafe situation. We never are, until it happens. Prevention is key.
Thus, here is a start to a “safety” list to prevent you from becoming a victim.
1 Be aware of all your surroundings. Whether at home, work, or the store, stay alert. Walk with your head up, notice what is around you. Put the cell phone down. If wearing headphones, keep one ear open so you can hear disturbances. For extra protection, you can purchase a safety device you are comfortable with.
2 Listen to your gut. Intuition is your internal safety mechanism. If a situation doesn’t feel right, avoid it or look for a way out. If someone makes you uncomfortable, it is ok to say, “You are making me uncomfortable,” or “Can I have some space.” Say it loud to draw attention. This makes others aware of a potential incident.
3 Get a secondary support system. When out with a friend or group, alert them if you identity something suspicious.
4 Posture up. How do I look to others? Do I look weak and intimidated? Carry yourself with confidence, head up, and even strides. Make eye contact to let others know you are aware of them.
5 Social media. Don’t post real-time, especially when on vacation. If you alert thieves that you’re not home, you become an easy target. Never tag your location. Be aware of what is in the background of photos you post.
Knowledge is power. For additional safety tips visit, ineedblue.net/resources
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Jennifer Lee is the creator and host of the “I Need Blue” podcast based on her experience of surviving an armed robbery and abduction. The podcast serves as a platform for survivors of “life” events to share their stories. “I Need Blue” is where survivors feel they Belong, are Loved, Understood and Empowered.