The traditional concept of security was associated to reaction when facing a crime or maintaining the order however, in time, it has been necessary to go from reaction to prevention by acting over the causes of crime and not only, over its elements. As it has been demonstrated, the matters of security cannot be reduced only to criminality issues. “It is about something more complex that is related to issues of sanity, the environment, urbanism and education. It is the consequence of growing inequalities in the access to the resources”, explains Maria del Carmen Llanos, psychotherapist and organizational behavior consultant specialized in citizen security.
Understanding the process
The decision not to become a victim is a “responsibility” of each individual as the best defense will be “self-protection.” We must be aware of our surroundings, be on alert and use our common sense. The criminal will always choose the victim that will provide the best chance for a successful attack, acting over confidently, and using both physical and verbal violence. The delinquent will use the surprise factor, carry a gun, take some drugs and will generally be with company. There must be an observational and analyzing process as this will help him / her identify the environmental and architectural elements that will create the conditions for committing criminal acts.
At home and with the family
Keep a telephone directory for emergencies within reach. Do not give information about your home or office without careful consideration. Keep your neighbors contacts within reach and tell your family about it so they can contact you in case of an emergency. Family members should be taught how to deal with strangers that have no proper identification. Do not give confidential information regarding travel or business in the presence of strangers. Make sure that all the doors, windows and gates are locked before leaving your house. If you go out, leave the lights on and the phone unplugged. Do not leave your mail in the mailbox for long periods of time and do not leave a message on your answering machine telling the callers that you will be out. Teach your children how to call the police if unknown people or marauders surround the house, or attempt to break and enter such place.
In the street
Walk aware of everything that goes on around you (360º attention). It is essential that you analyze the behavior of any suspicious individual nearby. When noticing a strange situation, walk away from it or change directions.
The delinquents are enemies of distances because they need to “close spaces” in order to attack. Keep yourself at least 20m from any suspect. Remember: “the criminal will need to come close enough to attack you.”
In the vehicle
Do not put stickers that may show you as user of a specific brand. Also, avoid putting stickers that may give hints about the number of members in your family, or which school or club you frequently visit with your children. Drive with the windows closed and locks on. If you notice any suspect, do not slow down or stop, go to the nearest police station or to a place with a lot of people. Do not use any accessories that may call the attention of delinquents. Smartphones tend to be an easy target and even wedding bands because of the gold they may represent in terms of money.
In a parking lot
Whether it is the mall or the supermarket, do not leave your car in the street. Inside the parking lot, make sure the car is locked and the alarms are activated. Do not leave any valuables inside. If someone is surrounding your car, get help from the security staff. Avoid lonely and dark places.