Even without the continuing disintegration of our law and order structures, the holiday season is an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of our communities. What strategies should you employ to keep yourself, your family and your property safe? Here are a few reminders.
Practice the self-awareness I’ve described in past articles. It’s the number-one thing we all need as we move through life. Get your festive face out of your screened device. That text or quick social media perusal can usually wait — and not paying attention to those around you sets you up for assault or the theft of your belongings. Be aware as you exit stores and shopping malls. Most robberies are targeted, and you will likely have been surveilled as you lugged around that valuable new Apple iMac or Louis Vuitton handbag. Keep your head up and project an air of readiness and confidence. By paying attention, you will be lower on the desirability scale for bad guys (or gals — I definitely need to be more inclusive).
Beware of surveillance technologies. Those Air Tags you put on your key chain or in your purse so you don’t misplace them are amazing but also dangerous. Enterprising thieves and stalkers are exploiting this technology by placing Air Tags in people’s shopping bags and the wheel wells of their SUVs. Apple and others are working hard to avoid these shortcomings, but just as fast, the wicked work like viruses to stay ahead in this cat-and-mouse game.
Keep others at a distance, if possible. Physically inspect your bags as you leave the shopping centers. Turn on your Apple device notifications so that if a nearby Air Tag is sharing its location, you’re alerted and can toss the offending tracker in the garbage. If you’re an Android user, there are third-party apps designed to prevent this kind of stalking. Read up on this and get prepared.
If possible, make your shopping trips more fun by bringing a friend. Two can fight ten, a group is a less desirable target, and two sets of eyeballs can make a significant difference in your safety.
Keep your packages out of sight. When loading up your car with loot, put gifts in the trunk or, at least, out of plain view in your vehicle. Even with good shopping mall security, the parking lots are chaotic, and vandalism or the theft of those packages can happen quickly. Keep your cargo out of view. Thieves only have a few minutes. They want to guarantee there’s a prize before they break your window.
Keep vigilance in mind when filling up at gas stations. You’ve already been robbed once by the fuel prices; don’t make it twice. Check your corners: lock your doors, walk to each corner of your vehicle and look out in each direction while filling your tank. Look with intention to make sure there is nothing suspicious or concerning in view. Pay attention to all that is around you (are you sensing a theme?).
At home, be aware of “porch pirates.” With the convenience of home deliveries, our front steps are often stacked with great mountains of cardboard boxes containing all sorts of glorious presents. Utilize the delivery notification service alerts to ping your phone when important items are delivered. FedEx, UPS and Amazon will all alert you the moment a package is delivered. Don’t let packages linger. Additionally, a smart camera or doorbell system can deter thieves and give you a clear warning when packages are piling up.
The same rules that apply to your car apply to your house. As beautiful as that picture window view of your tree looks from the street, those gifts are enticing to the bandits casing the neighborhoods. Be mindful of the view from the road and consider curtains and window coverings. Keep your Ring or other intelligent cameras in good operation — and keep that vast bounty of capitalism out of sight.
We are in a new age and the command for us to be “dangerous and wise” is real. Confidence comes from being prepared. Do not take things for granted.
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
To God be the Glory!
Among many other things, Bryce Eddy is the host of the “Liberty Station” Podcast on the Salem Podcast network and a security and safety consultant and mixed martial artist.