Crime Prevention Thru Environmental Awareness
Being aware of your surroundings seems as natural as walking, talking or breathing. However, in the fast paced society we live in and with all the distractions such as cell phones, PDA’s, multitasking and of course having children with you, awareness of your surroundings in many cases gets lost. When coordinating many different activities or thinking about what you are going to do next the brain places you on “autopilot” and tunnel vision can set in. An example of this is you enter you car to drive to a destination only to arrive there and not remember the specific route your drove.
You have to consciously make an effort to be aware. One of the key prevention methods in crime prevention is exactly this, environmental awareness. Although this appears simple it takes training or re-training of the brain to scan around and process what you see. For instance prior to exiting your vehicle to go into a store, take a moment, look around, do you see any suspicions vehicles or persons? Are you parked in the most lighted area of the parking lot? Are there persons entering or exiting the business you are going into? This awareness can become second nature once you have practiced these procedures and trained your brain to perform them. Once this has been accomplished even when on “autopilot” you will be scanning your environment. Part of environmental awareness is trusting your natural instinct. Everyone has from time to time been in a situation when the hair on the back of their neck stands up or that funny feeling comes over them. In situations like this your subconscious is aware of a potentially dangerous situation or that something just is not right and this is how your brain warns you. When feelings like this come on you should enter into a hyper vigilant state and pay extra special attention to your surroundings.
Being aware of your surroundings and identifying potentially dangerous or harmful situations and then avoiding them will go a long way towards protecting you from become a crime victim. Most random crime victims become victims because they were in a vulnerable position and the criminal seized the opportunity.
Be aware and be safe!