Keep your eyes wide open! Situational awareness is a skill you must acquire to keep yourself and others safe. The concept of being situationally aware is a foreign concept to most people in society today, but why? Distractions! We are so preoccupied by our phones and everything going on around us and those we entertain that we just can’t seem to realize that there are predators lurking amongst us.
Unfortunately, being situationally aware is not part of our genetic code; it’s a mindset - it’s a choice!
It’s not called "true crime” because it’s sensational. In today’s world, the internet is plagued with articles of violence and you don’t have to listen to podcasts to understand that the world is crawling with wolves waiting for the right opportunity to strike. We have spoken to both men and women about their thoughts on being situationally aware and sadly, women were coming up short. Men (for the most part) are naturally street smart and to our dismay, women came up short. Ladies, it’s not your fault because you often want to see the best in people and believe that there’s good in the world.
It’s not a matter of being a wolf, but you have to adjust your mindset to think like one. I’m sure most of you have heard the metaphor of “sheep, wolf and sheep dog”. At the end of day, no one wants to be a sheep - that’s making yourself a target by broadcasting vulnerability to the wolves lurking in the shadows. No one wants to be the wolf, victimizing society. For those who have this mindset, always remember there are bigger wolves out there just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on you! Ultimately, we all strive to be the sheepdog - closely related to the wolf in strength and resolve but, notably, a protector of itself and those around them.
Rule Number One is and forever will be this: “Trust nobody!”.
Rule Number Two - “Go back to Rule Number One.” Everyone gets a question mark, no matter what! For anyone reading this article, you can always make small changes you can implement into your daily routine that will ideally keep you out of harm’s way.
First and foremost, your greatest weapon sits between your shoulders. Your brain was literally created to keep you alive. Psychologists believe that your brain has a sixth sense and will naturally emit a neurological signal telling you something is wrong - a literal warning. Don’t ignore the natural signals your body is sending you when it senses danger. Check your surroundings because a simple acknowledgement can save your life.
The Survival Rule of Three.
In general, the average person is typically capable of surviving . . .
3 weeks without food.
3 days without water.
3 hours without shelter (in extreme conditions).
3 minutes without oxygen.
3 seconds without common sense.
Traveling is always better with friends. Of course most of us enjoy our alone time and sometimes it's necessary. However, ask yourself what type of company that could attract depending on the time and place. Ladies, never be embarrassed to ask a friend or coworker to have them walk you to your car. Also, set a standard in your community and workplace to support one another. Be a girl’s girl and tell your friend “I got your back.”
Put your head on a swivel. I personally believe that our biggest distraction is a cell phone. I challenge you to put this theory to the test. Simply sit in a parking lot or park bench and count the number of people you see with their faces buried in their screens. You will be amazed at how many people will not even look up! It’s this recklessness that will cause people to become severely injured or even lose their lives, all because of the latest Instagram post.
Listen. Your phone and those who care about you won’t mind if you take a little longer to respond to their text or don’t like their post within a minute. Your life matters and this simple behavioral adjustment is what will make a world of difference in defining you as a sheep dog or prey.
Leave the earbud at home. All of us are fans of a great tune or an update on the news or fashion trends during our walks or early morning jogs. One thing you should consider to become aware of your surroundings is to wear one earbud. Why? The answer is simple. When you are wearing both earbuds you can’t hear what’s going on around you. Your ears are blocked by that wonderful sound making you oblivious to any threat. You were created to have at least five senses, two of which serve as primary tools in keeping you safe. You may feel uncomfortable using one earbud or even “off balance” however, this is one simple step to consider because you are taking your life into your own hands.
Keep track of time. All of us have heard the expression that “bad things happen after 11 p.m.”. Sometimes you have no other alternative than running across the street to get a late night snack or walking to your local bodega for a pack of smokes. Some neighborhoods are definitely rougher than others. So just take a quick moment and think. Don’t step out alone. Don’t be embarrassed to ask a friend to accompany you.
There is nothing wrong with asking yourself simple questions such as, “Who am I spending time with?” Everyone should go through a screening process in your mind. Quickly ascertain their appearance and whether your sixth sense is telling you something. If you get any weird vibes, trust your gut. Most instance of domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Listen to your sixth sense and don’t ignore it!
Is drinking involved! Did you know that alcohol and coffee are at the top of the food chain in the world market. That couldn’t be more evident. There’s a bar or a coffee shop on every corner.
Our society thrives on feeling energetic and happy or relaxed and buzzed - the simple balances of life. However, let's focus on alcohol. Of course, it's the best way to celebrate and enjoy the company around you. However, alcohol impairs your senses, causing you to paint a large target on your back. One of the best steps you can take to guarantee your safety is giving yourself a limit, don’t accept a drink from any unfamiliar face and if you had a little too much, don’t get behind the wheel. After all, you are responsible for your well-being, but the decisions you make might also make you responsible for others as well. We all love to have a good time, but you only live once!
DID YOU KNOW?
The NHTSA (National Highway Safety Traffic Administration) states that, “Everyday, approximately 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes - that’s one person every 45 minutes. In 2020, 11,654 lost their lives in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths - a 14% increase from 2019.” These deaths were all preventable.
Consider being the DD “designated driver” some night and switch the responsibility with your friends. Just make sure you can trust them. Always look out for one another and don’t be afraid to tell someone they’ve had enough or toss me your keys. They may take it the wrong way at first or might even become confrontational. However, they’ll appreciate the fact of you getting them home in one piece.
If you live alone, always prioritize home safety. Take measures to create a safe environment for yourself. A simple at-home security system, a weapon of your choice and even a dog will enhance your personal safety. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few protective measures to assure your safety.
Although these steps are small, they can easily prompt a mindset change that will make a vital difference in the future. Wolves won’t prey on sheep dogs and look for sheep that are easy prey. Why? Because they don’t pay attention to their surroundings.
Be a change-maker in your group of friends and your family and remember your greatest weapon is what sits between your shoulders.