Friday, 17 February 2017

How To Stay Safe When Out & About: Part One: What We Carry And Being Aware Of Our Surroundings...

Hi Honeys
How often do you think about the safety of your home or possessions?  I've been hearing about break-ins recently and there has been enough concerns about thefts such as pick pocketing for it to be mentioned regularly in our local paper over the past couple of months.

Hubby and I had a conversation about the security of our home and have agreed that while we are lucky in that our home is never empty (we work our shifts around our furbaby Jade so that one of us is always at home with her, she's a very nervous little dog) there are a few things we need to work on, such as adding a chain to the front door and adding further security lighting at the side of our garden which at night is in total darkness.

How To Stay Safe When Out & About

I'll write another post about home security to follow honeys and share how we're improving ours but for today I thought we could look at how to stay safe when outside our home.  I know from chatting to customers at work that too many have been victims of pick pocketing and/or handbag theft.  Often through being too trusting of their environment or by leaving their bag in the shopping trolley and being distracted long enough for it to be taken.

I wish we lived in a completely safe world, one where we didn't have to give a second thought to our personal or home safety but the simple fact is that we don't dear ones  Now, that's not to say that we should all be so afraid of crime statistics that we never leave our homes and barricade the doors and windows but there are some simple steps we can take towards keeping ourselves, and our possessions safe.

How To Stay Safe When Out & About


Stuff We Carry With Us...


Let's start by concentrating on what we carry with us when we leave our homes.  When choosing a jacket, try to have an inside pocket with a zip fastening.  Far more difficult for a pick pocket to gain access to.

Ladies:


When deciding on which handbag to use we can no longer just match it to our shoes honeys.  For safety, other factors should be looked at (although I totally agree with the matching to shoes thing but that's for another post😃)

Where possible use a handbag where the strap allows it to be worn across the body.  That is from one shoulder to the opposite hip.  Put your handbag on before adding your jacket over it so that your jacket covers the strap.  It is now common-place in certain places in Europe (again from chatting to customers) where there are holiday makers for thieves to cut the strap and quickly grab and run with the bag.  This has even recently happened in our local shopping mall so it's worth being aware of.

Only carry what you need and never anything that can not be replaced, such as sentimental items like precious family photos or other items.  I have a couple of photos in my purse but they are copies of the originals I scanned and printed small enough to fit into my purse and carry around with me, the originals are always safe at home so that if the unthinkable happened I still have them. 

Several years ago my beloved Mother in law had her purse taken from her handbag in a supermarket. The store called the police and Mum asked how anyone could have gotten her purse out of her small, across the body type bag without her feeling anything and the policeman told her "because the people who do this do it as a job.  They are skilled." 

Mum was incredibly lucky because a store employee found her purse outside in the trolley bay. Whoever had taken it had quickly removed the money and thrown the purse away.  Thank God they did because although Mum lost a whole week's pension, which she had just collected, the thief hadn't taken the time to look through her purse which had, in the middle, in the tiny zipped section between the two coin sections her engagement ring.  This was less than a year after we lost Dad and it would have been devastating for her to lose such a treasure.  Her ring never left her home again after that.   

Let's stay with purses then honeys.  I'm referring here to our wallet/coin purse not our handbags since I know our American cousins sometimes use the term purse to refer to their handbag.  In addition to money and my debit and other cards etc,  I've always kept treasures in my purse.  Right up until Mum was targeted by a pick pocket of course.  From then on my little treasures, worthless to anyone else but entirely priceless to me, stayed safely at home.

I used to keep tiny wallet cards given to me by a dear friend, photos of loved ones, tiny crystals (a piece of rose quartz and a tiny piece of Jade) and an "angel coin" given to me by Hubby.  This is a pewter coin with an angel engraved on one side and a little blessing on the other. Like I said, meaningless to anyone else but priceless to me.

Back to our handbags then. How does yours close?  Does it have a zip? If so use it, always.  It's far better to take an extra second or two to fetch something from your handbag than to leave it lying open as an invitation to any passing or opportunistic thief to snap up your phone, purse or anything else visible inside.

So, we've weeded through our "carry around" stuff so that our irreplaceable items stay home and safe, we're wearing an across the body bag and have it on under our jacket.  Fabulous!  Now make sure that the "body" of the bag, that is the bag itself not the strap, is kept in front of you at all times. Not hanging behind you out of your sight.

As the policeman said to Mum, pickpockets are skilled and she was wearing a small across the body bag.  Criminals thrive when they are given opportunities.  Let's not do that honeys.

Gentlemen:


You too need to be aware of what you carry.  "We don't carry all the stuff you women do!" I hear you say.  Really?  You may not carry as many "just in case" items but do you have precious photos in your wallet? Do you have copies of them?  

Do you carry a bag?  Men frequently have bags with work related items or sports bags with them so why not check yours over.  How does it fasten? Do you usually just pull it closed if it has a fold over flap or do you take the time to fasten the zipper all the way if it has one?  Men may carry less than women do but you still, probably without even thinking about it, carry valuable items such as maybe your tablet/Ipad, your phone... you probably carry more than you think. 

Remember what I said about us ladies and our purses? Same goes with your wallets, guys.  How many men automatically stow their wallet away in the back pocket of their jeans/trousers?  This is a gift to pick pockets. Don't make it easy for them guys. 

For all of us, men or women, don't carry anything with bank account details, home address, or anything else that can be used easily to carry out identity theft. Yes many of us will carry a driving licence but remember that inside zipped pocket in our jacket?  Put it there instead of in your wallet or purse.  

Thieves will certainly be glad to relieve us of any money or valuables we're carrying but in today's world there is also value in stealing our identity, which might then be sold on and used to open credit accounts (there goes a lifetime of building good credit) or to commit other fraudulent activities such as banking fraud.  If they get your purse with debit card they know where you bank.  

Our Surroundings:


OK, possessions (hopefully) a little safer but we do of course have to keep ourselves safe too!  Just a little practical thinking can help us to avoid becoming a target for thieves or criminals. The most important step to personal safety is to be very aware of our surroundings, particularly if we're alone. 

  • Park your car in a well lit area, especially if it's likely to be dark before you return to it.  
  • Have your car or home keys already in your hand as you approach your car or front door. Don't stand fumbling through your pockets or bag trying to find them. 
  • Don't be "flashy" that is to say don't have valuable items such as your phone, jewellery or an expensive camera on display. 
  • Always wear shoes that, if need be, you could run in or quickly remove. You'll be glad if you ever have to get away from a dangerous situation quickly. 
  • If you ever find yourself in a dangerous or threatening situation, remember that things are just that.  Your safety is more important than material items which can be replaced. 
  • When walking in an unknown area, project an air of confidence.  Never stand looking at maps in public, look up and learn your route in advance.  Walk with your head up and rather than ask for directions from passers by why not use google maps or other app on your phone instead. Appearing to know where we're going and radiating confidence will greatly decrease the likelihood  of our drawing the attention of anyone will less than honourable intentions. 
Most people we meet along the path of life will be honest, lovely people who mean us no harm honeys but in today's world it's become more important than ever for us to think ahead and make our safety a factor when making plans, even if it's just an evening out with friends.   

Consider how will you get there, how will you get home again? As a young girl I was told to always have cab fare home and this still holds true today.  Till next time dear ones, when we'll think about how to stay safe in crowded places, especially when you have little ones with you, have a great weekend, smile lots and hug even more, huggles always xx

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