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Picture your home as a crime scene

March 25, 2010

The most dangerous threat to your personal safety isn’t someone lurking “out there” waiting to strike. The most dangerous threat is the person who’s reading this sentence right now.

That’s you.

But don’t take it personally. Just pass the blame to your Imaginary Protective Shield (IPS, for short).

If you think that such a thing doesn’t exist, you’re right. That’s the problem. Read these lines from a news report the day after an attempted robbery in Warwick, Australia:

After having lived in Warwick all her life, the woman said she was just used to leaving her doors unlocked, which one was yesterday morning.

“You just don’t expect this sort of stuff to happen in Warwick.”

How many of us are guilty of thinking that bad things just don’t happen in our neck of the woods? I know I was. If you asked me if I was concerned about locking the doors at night, I’d say no. If you asked me if it was safe for my wife to walk around the block in our quiet suburb late in the night, I’d say yes.

I, like you, wasn’t being careless. I was simply the product of a life that was untouched by crime. The facts, as I saw them, were on my side.

What I didn’t account for was the random, unpredictable nature of criminals and violent crime.

The inescapable truth is that we are all at risk. The level of risk fluctuates throughout the day according to where we are in relation to the bad guys. Unfortunately, bad guys don’t wear identification tags, and we won’t know that we’ve randomly crossed paths with a bad guy until it’s too late.

These days, I accept the fact that ANYBODY can be a victim of violent crime. My IPS has evaporated. Now I have to rely on my self defense training (and hopefully a little luck) to keep myself and my family from harm.

To protect ourselves and our loved ones, each of us needs to melt the IPS and develop our own internal safety alert systems. We don’t need to walk around on red alert all the time. But we do need to take precautions. We do it in other ways all the time.

It’s why we buckle our seat belts. It’s why we buy life insurance when we’re still young and healthy. It’s taking a precaution in case we run out of luck.

We won’t, however, begin to take responsibility for our personal protection until we see the IPS for what it is — imaginary.

Here’s what I suggest.

Take about 10 minutes to picture your home as a crime scene. Be realistic. Layer in as many details as you can.

  • What crime has been committed?
  • What are the police and paramedics doing?
  • What are the sounds you are hearing?
  • What time of day is it?
  • Who has been hurt?
  • What have you lost?
  • What is your mental state?
  • Is your ordeal over or is it just beginning?

Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but it will help dismantle your IPS.

Then ask the final question: What could you have done to stop the crime from happening?

Take those lessons and act on them.

Attempted burglary reported in Warwick Daily News.

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