Have you ever walked past another person in a garage or along the street at night and looked back to make sure the person continued walking and wasn’t about to attack you? I used to think it was just me, the fact that I work here at NCPC or my love of crime dramas that caused me to be extra cautious in that situation. But the other day I found out that I’m not the only one.
I was talking to someone who said she gets so lost in the music on her iPod that she’s not paying attention to her surroundings to and from the subway system. Until the day someone startled her enough to make her scream out loud, she hadn’t considered that noise-cancelling headphones also cancel out the sounds of someone sneaking up on her while walking. She’s not the only one. I see people walking every day around my neighborhood doing the same thing. I see them lost in their music, texting, reading or using their tablets while trying to walk.
The ubiquitous nature of technology means that I know more about my friends’ and colleagues’ daily habits, thoughts and musings than I ever could through personal conversation. While I love and embrace the technology available today, I worry about how it has caused many of us to become too lax about our personal safety.
I’m also that annoying friend who reminds people not to post when they are leaving for vacation or how long they’ll be gone. We’ve all seen the postings that say “Can’t wait to leave tomorrow for two weeks in Hawaii!” A friend recently thanked me for those annoying but necessary reminders after hearing that one of her friends was robbed after posting on a listserv that she couldn’t participate in an upcoming community activity because she would be out of the country for three weeks. A neighbor used that information to help himself to her valuables, which he sold to various pawn shops and other illegal avenues for cash.
As the holiday season gets underway with so many of us visiting relatives in different parts of the country or heading to a destination vacation, the need to be vigilant about our personal safety is more important than ever. Please remember to:
- Be aware of your surroundings and remain vigilant for suspicious activity
- Enjoy technology but remember that safety comes first
- Think before you post any personal information and your whereabouts
McGruff the Crime Dog and the staff at the National Crime Prevention Council want you to be safe every day. Be sure to do your part to protect yourself, your family, and your community from crime.