|PERSONAL SAFETY ADVICE|
| My second article dealing with awareness goes into much more detail. I will even use one of my own personal experiences at the end to demonstrate the kind of day-to-day awareness that is becoming increasingly important to develop in our society. This skill is surprisingly easy to learn, as it only requires some mental practice.
There are five different levels of awareness commonly taught to Police cadets. Three are necessary for you to learn; and two you already have, but do not want. They are color-coded to help remember them. The three colors you will learn about are Yellow, Orange, and Red. The other two are not really colors: White and Black.
Yellow represents "alertness": the lowest and easiest level of awareness, and the one you should always maintain. It requires little effort, and only some mental practice to learn. Simply visualize yourself as having a 3-foot radius of "personal space" 360-degrees around you. Knowing about the approaches of things or people into your personal space is your "awareness." Being aware of these approaches gives you valuable time for taking the necessary steps to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of anything from simple theft to serious bodily harm. It can even save your life! Yellow is that monitoring awareness, and eases you into the next level: Orange.
Orange represents "ready": the higher level of awareness you should step up to once you notice something or someone approaching your personal space. This level is the process of deciding what actions to take should that thing or person approaching you be a danger to you.
It is really a level of readiness. When you see a friend or family member approach, you know they have no intention of harming you, so no serious actions are required--except maybe to hug them! However, if you see a car barreling towards you, or a stranger approaching--or someone you know who wants to harm you--warning bells go off inside your head. The bells are saying, "Run!" (flight) or "confront him/her" (fight). Your decisions in this level easily prepare you for the next: Red.
Red represents "battle" or "action": it is the action or steps you take to avoid harm (flight/fight); like the action of moving out of the way of that speeding car, or either running from or facing the person approaching you. Yellow, Orange, and Red flow smoothly from one to the other, allow you to remain calm, and in relative control of what happens to you.
In contrast, White represents NO level of awareness; as when you are surprised by someone tapping you on your shoulder. If this has ever happened to you and you felt a wave of electric shock shiver through your spine, you were in WHITE. White does not flow into yellow or any other color, smoothly or otherwise. White changes instantaneously--and often jarringly--only into Black.
Black represents "game over", "you lost", or "death." It means you have completely lost control over your destiny, and it is too late to do anything about it. If you are in Black, you are a victim!
Unfortunately, most people are so wrapped up in their activities that they are completely unaware of
|Article: Personal Safety Awareness, Part 2|
|WELCOME! My name is Catherine. I spent over seven years in Law Enforcement, and learned a lot about personal safety, and how NOT to be a victim. I've seen a lot of unnecessary pain and hardship resulting from people's lack of knowledge of how not to be a victim, and from not recognizing danger signs early enough. Sometimes, all it takes is a neutral party who is able to see the "big picture." I will post columns with general safety tips when I have no questions to answer. Ask me a question via email, below, if you like!|
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|their surroundings (White). They do not notice threats to their personal space, which allows for preventable accidents and opportunities for predators of all kinds to victimize them (Black). When you are in White, you have no chance to save yourself from Black, which is why you do not want those levels!
There is no need to stop participating in activities like talking on cell phones, window shopping, or chatting with friends. With practice, checking out your surroundings will become second nature, and will not interfere with your pre-occupations--but it WILL interfere with a perpetrator's plan to victimize you! Make it a habit, like checking your rear-view mirror periodically as you drive--it only takes a second or two.
Read my account of a personal experience demonstrating this kind of awareness. I will include my awareness level in parenthesis.
While shopping on one of my off-duty days, I was loading my car's trunk with my purchases (Yellow level), when I noticed a man in my peripheral vision who appeared to be approaching me from about 30-feet away (Orange level). While I am sure he was probably only walking from his vehicle to the store, I knew that unless he changed his path he was going to either collide with me or pass me well within my personal space. Therefore, I gave him my full attention as he approached, and when he passed through my personal space, I turned, keeping my entire body facing him as he passed (Red level). I said nothing, but kept my eyes on his face in case I would need to identify him later. After he passed me, he turned around and said, "Smart gal!" and then continued on his way.
Since I knew neither this man, nor what his intentions were--if he had any--I had decided to face him passively so I could be more prepared in case he did do something. He could have wanted to take the purse off my shoulder, or even something from my cart--or perhaps he was deep in thought and not paying attention to where he was going. Either way, nothing happened to me because I was alert to my surroundings and took the necessary steps to avert disaster.
An added benefit to awareness is your ability to view a thief or attacker while you are still calm enough to note details commonly lost during high stress situations. This allows you to be able to identify the perpetrator should this be necessary. In my above example, if that man had done anything, I would have been able to describe him to authorities. He was about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with black hair, mustache and brown eyes, wearing a dark blue polo style shirt and faded blue jeans with a belt, and black boots. I guessed he was 35, and would have been able to describe his face well enough for a composite drawing.
This may be hard to believe, but, showing you are aware of an approach will deter most would-be criminals from choosing you as their victim. They would much prefer to take you by surprise, or attack from behind, so you are ill prepared to deal with the situation thrust upon you. The predators of this world are people-watchers, looking for distracted people who are not paying attention to their surroundings. They will take any opportunity given them, so DON'T GIVE THEM OPPORTUNITIES!
Stay tuned. There's more to come on this topic!