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  • Donna Angevine

FOUR Common Habits That Put You at Greater Risk of Harm

Okay, it’s pretty much common sense that if a criminal can’t get to us they can’t harm us. But sometimes we don’t think about how our own behaviors or habits impact our “accessibility” to criminals.

How close can a threat get to me? How quickly can a threat get to me? And how much time do I have to notice a potential threat while I still have options to prevent or avoid it? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and to have strategies to mitigate.

So let’s look at four common habits that impact how easily accessible we are to a criminal:

Habit number 1 — Leaving car doors unlocked to return cart.

Parking lots are prime “victim shopping” areas for criminals. Law abiding citizens come and go all day and don’t realize a criminal has been hanging out just waiting for the victim who fits their criteria of distracted, vulnerable, friendly (answers question as to what time it is, smiles and says sorry when asked for change). Criminals also have time to watch for predictable habits like shoppers leaving doors unlocked while returning a cart. This gives an opportunistic criminal time to get into your back seat before you return to your car. And it has happened. How close is your back seat to your front seat and how quickly could someone harm you from that position?

Habit number 2 — hitting snooze. Seems harmless right? Like maybe you’re less susceptible to being targeted because you’ll be more rested and therefore stronger. Wrong. Hitting snooze is all kinds of bad for multiple reasons but in the case of personal safety, hitting snooze causes you to have to rush for the rest of the morning which makes you distracted (oh man, I’m going to be late. Why did I hit snooze that last time) and makes it difficult to remain aware of your immediate surroundings. It also makes you cranky which means you might be more inclined for road rage or just being contrary toward the wrong person.


Habit number 3 — letting gas get below a quarter tank. Pretty easy to figure this one out. The less gas you’ve got in your tank the longer you stand at the pump filling. The longer you spend time in any one area the more opportunity a criminal has to observe you and spot any predictable habits or to probe whether you’d make a good victim. It also puts you at risk of running out of gas, or of having to get gas in an unfamiliar or undesirable location.

Habit number 4 — leaving windows open on hot nights. Of course this may not be an issue in a high rise but especially ground level windows need to be closed OR you need a motion sensor alarm if anyone does come through your open window so you at least have TIME to respond. Screens don’t provide much of a challenge so if you have no system to alert you to have more time to respond and take steps to maintain distance you’re better off investing in a fan and leaving windows closed.

Now look - this is all common sense and you all knew this n-- even the snooze alarm habit --though you weren’t necessarily sure how that made you vulnerable.

So WHY do we ALL have these habits? Because we think about the probability of something bad happening instead of thinking about the vulnerability that would make it more possible to happen. We think of the likelihood instead of the consequences.


The bottom line is, no level of risk is worth it when it comes to personal safety and well-being so tighten up those habits. Never tell yourself “just this once won’t hurt.”

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