As it is said, “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” When it dawns on you that you are, in fact, your own first line of defense, it can be overwhelming. Rather than jumping into the sea of products being sold or endless videos about how many ways there are to be robbed, kidnapped, and cannibalized, work from the bottom up. There are three general aspects to security to get you started right where you are to make wiser choices to protect the well-being of yourself and your loved ones.
The first security aspect to consider is deterrence. This includes both delaying threats and preventing their invitation in the first place. It’s important to strike a balance between not looking like an appealing target and not looking like an easy target, either. For example, thorny bushes below windows create space, but overgrown bushes blocking views of the front door is cover for suspicious activity. Cheap doors are a favorite for kicking in, but a thick, ornate door with an expensive house and vehicle to match is a clear indication of someone with money and valuables. While many of us may think that being open about our firearms would serve as a warning, in a 2017 KTVB interview with convicted burglars, one wrote, “NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal.”
This balance of deterrence applies not just to homes, but to your person. A confident walk is a surprisingly significant deterrent to violence, but there is a key difference between confidence and cockiness. Obviously being in the wrong place at the wrong time should be actively avoided, but more subtle examples have been witnessed in recent years as violent action has been taken against people for simply wearing political clothing the aggressor found offensive. Having the skills to de-escalate a situation is immensely helpful; delaying negative outcomes until help arrives can buy you precious time when you find yourself in a challenging situation.
Preventing dangerous and harmful situations from ever occurring is the most powerful part of security, but there is no perfect method of control. Despite these efforts, there is still a chance something could happen. That’s where the last two points come in.
The second security aspect is identification. You can’t deal with a threat you don’t know is there. Detection is often achieved with various alarm systems, cameras, and watchdogs. (Some of these double as deterrents—double bang for your buck.) Early detection allows for early identification, which gives you the time needed to assess the threat and make a quick decision on how to respond.
That’s the third basic aspect to consider in security—response. This is where your skills and preparation come in, so be mindful that considering how you will respond and practicing your responses regularly are key. Just like fire and earthquake drills, home safety drills of other kinds should be understood and run through with household members routinely.
Your response doesn’t end when the bad guy is taken away. Recovery is a conscious response. After an event, remember to reset and repair whatever you need to in a timely manner. Fix the broken lock, replace the smashed camera, take Fido to the vet, get therapy for the kids—whatever. Mindset is not excluded here. Recovery is foundational to flexibility, which ensures you will be ready to take whatever life deals you next.