Protect yourself, your family

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Harold Simpson
  • 62nd Operations Group
October has been designated as the "National Crime Prevention Month" and I'm sure many are familiar with the National Crime Prevention Council's mascot, McGruff the crime dog.

Seventy percent of American adults and children can identify McGruff and his public relations campaign has been extremely successful in providing tips for crime prevention. McGruff has been on the job since 1982 and the crime prevention effort focuses on individual and community actions.

What precautions do you take to mitigate threats to your personal safety? Do you accomplish a risk assessment for home or when you are out in public?

Here are a few tips on how to mitigate threats to your personal safety:

-For home safety, check all exterior doors and windows to ensure the lock works properly.

-Look at your house from the exterior and play the role of a potential burglar. If you can identify probable hiding locations, you need to address those areas. Cutting bushes or landscaping back will help to eliminate potential hiding spots.

-Ensure sufficient exterior lighting to prevent burglars from hiding or working in the shadows.

-Individuals should not keep the spare house key hidden under the door mat or flower pot. A potential burglar is likely to try those locations too or try to guess other potential hiding places for spare keys. Instead, try to find a trustworthy neighbor to be the caretaker of your spare house key.

The good news is that you are not alone in trying to prevent crime. You have neighbors to help in this endeavor.

Neighborhood and Block Watch programs are very common and have been very successful in crime prevention. They also share some of the same principles as the Wingman Program.

Like a Wingman, neighbors are in a great position to notice things that appear unusual or out of the norm and are ready to assist when necessary.

They are also great assets for identifying strangers or strange vehicles in the neighborhood. Eventually you'll need to leave your homes and venture out in public.

There are several ways to help mitigate becoming a crime victim while away from home.

-Travel with a Wingman or group to deter personal attacks. Someone should always be aware of your whereabouts and have family or friends call whenever you are late checking in or arriving to your destination.

-Also learn to trust your instincts. If you are approaching an ATM or location and it just doesn't look or feel right, proceed to a different ATM or location where the surroundings appear safer.

Criminals normally look for easy targets so try not to become one.

Lastly, the holiday shopping season is approaching and here are a few tips. Don't carry large amounts of cash on your person and try to stow valuables and gifts in the trunk where they are out of sight.

Remember, crime prevention is everyone's responsibility because crime never takes a day off.