Criminals don’t pick their targets at random. Nearly all bad guys assess their potential targets on some level. From the petty pick pocket to the high tech hacker, information is observed and interpreted before any sort of action is taken.
It’s impossible to think of all the ways you might be targeted for a crime, but you can greatly decrease your chances with a little work. Some preparedness on your part can go a long way to keeping you, your family and home home safe.
Keep in mind that we know that a bad guy will assess us, so let’s take a look at ourselves the way a criminal might see us. That way we can correct any issues and decrease the likelihood of being a mark for a criminal. We’ll go over some ways to avoid being targeted for a crime in public and at home.
Be Aware - If you look oblivious then you’re going to be a target for crime. A petty thief who is after your phone, headphones or backpack doesn't want a physical confrontation. He just wants your stuff. So the more distracted you look the greater a target you become.
Make it a habit to notice who is around you in the store and in the parking lot. If you are prepared you won’t attract unwanted attention and you’ll notice people who notice you. This will decrease your chances of being a victim of a crime.
Distracted - Being out in public with our kids can take up a lot of our attention. We’ve got to keep our kids in the race car cart, find our shopping list and get coupons on our phones. We are so distracted we don’t notice the guy in the parking lot walking too close to us.
Cut down on what has your attention. Put your phone away until you need it. Keep your kids entertained with a toy or stuffed animal. And if you need to focus your attention on your child, go to a place where you know you will be seen by others and then give them your attention. If you keep your head up you’ll be less likely of a target.
Be Less Caring - What do I mean by that? Criminals are a bad bunch. Some will pose as a person in need to attract a Good Samaritan like yourself. They may have lost their dog while you’re on your morning run. They may be out of gas in the grocery store parking lot. The scams go on and on.
Many times these fake victims have a hidden partner. When you get close to the poor lady looking for her dog, that’s when you find yourself face down in the road with a large man pinning your head to the asphalt. He searches your pockets until he has what he wants. You’re left with nothing and a broken nose.
Unless you have someone else with you, don’t approach someone in need. If you feel like the situation is legitimate, then from a distance, ask them if you can call the police for them. If they yell, “no!”, then you’ve got a bad guy on your hands. Get away as fast as you can.
Close Your Garage Door - This one seems simple but it’s quite serious. I’ve written about this in depth before. An open garage door is an open invitation for even the pettiest of burglars. The open door allows access to everything you keep in your garage like tools. It also gives easy access to your cars. So keep it closed when not in use.
But the most dangerous thing an open garage door can lead to is your home. Many people don’t lock the door that leads from the garage into the home. Don’t give a bad guy access to where your children sleep. Close the garage door when not in use and lock the door leading into the house.
Brighten it Up - Criminals love darkness. It conceals their approach and provides cover for their escape. If you’re home is dark, that will give a bad guy the cover and confidence he needs to get closer to your home. When he’s close he can kick in the door, open a window or sneak into the back yard.
If you turn on your porch light, you can deter a kick-in style attack on the front door. If you keep your lights on timers inside you can keep him from testing the windows. Installing motion activated flood lights will discourage him from sneaking around back. The more light you have, the more defense you have against being a target. Burglars will look elsewhere for a dark home.
It’s unfortunate that we have to change our lives to avoid being a victim of a crime. But the sooner we learn that, the safer our families will become. For more helpful tips on family protection and home security delivered right to your inbox, consider The Secure Dad Newsletter.