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What Is Security Awareness And Why Do You Need It?

Crime is up in major cities across the country. In New York City, recent statistics released by the New York Police Department revealed felony assaults and grand larcenies are up as well as quality-of-life, non-felony misdemeanor crimes, such as larceny and assaults. This week, the Chicago Police Department reported year-to-date increases in all categories except one; Robberies lead the way as they are up 14%. And according to the San Francisco Police Department, homicides are up 16% from the start of this year.

In this kind of environment, heightened security awareness is key—but what does that mean? Security awareness is the personal practice of understanding threats and vulnerabilities and focusing your attention on ways to avoid harm. The goal of this practice is to become astute in evaluating situations and making conscious decisions to take actions that support your safety.

The first step in this practice is simply being aware of your surroundings. There is even a scale of awareness that applies. Starting at the lowest level to highest, you can be Oblivious, Aware, Alert, or Engaged. The more aware you are the easier it is to identify threatening situations, process and comprehend the critical elements about what is happening, and make adjustments or devise a plan of action.

There are other elements of a safety mindset that come into play like overcoming cognitive bias – especially in emergency situations but cultivating a higher order of security awareness in times like these is a good start to living a safer life.

Here are tips to improve your security awareness and safety mindset:

  • Be vigilant about knowing who or what is near your personal space.

  • Trust your instincts; if a place does not feel right, move to an alternative location as quickly and safely as possible.

  • Build change into the patterns of your life so it is not easy for someone to track your movements based on a set routine.

  • Avoid areas that carry red flags: over-crowded, ill-patrolled, dark, no exits, etc.

  • Anticipate what could happen in various situations. Plan ahead – “What would I do if?”


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