We've all seen terrible stories like this and this on the news.; criminals who take advantage of people who are away or alone in their homes because of a status they saw on Facebook or Twitter.
As a military wife, I am familiar with nights alone because of my husband's work and deployment schedules. Because of that, I thought I would share with you ladies some tips to protect yourself and take precautions while your husband is away, or if you live alone.
It's always better to be prepared and take action before anything happens, than to wish you would have done something differently from the get-go.
1. Never post when your husband is away- This includes Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, blog, etc. You have no idea who is paying attention and watching what you write. You have no idea who knows where you live. This may sound paranoid, but like I stated before, it's far better to be cautious than regretful.
2. Never post when you are leaving town- This is an alert to anyone who may want to break into your home and steal. If they see you are going to visit your parents in Kentucky for the week, they know your house will be empty.
3. Take different routes home from work and school- Switch up your schedule and your routine. Again, you never know who is watching and paying attention to your habits. This also goes for your jogging/walking route. I told my husband I do this and he informed me that it's actually a tactic they use in the military. You don't want anyone to be able to become too familiar with your routine.
4. Never come home to a dark house or apartment- Leave a porch light on for yourself when you know you'll be returning after dark. Use timers on lamps near windows so it appears that someone is home or leave a light on as you head out the door if you know that it will get dark while you're away. You always want to create the illusion that you or someone else is home.
5. Don't offer up the information that your husband is away in conversations- For me, the question of, "is your husband deployed?" is a very common one. I don't give that information to someone who I don't know or don't trust. It's no one's business where my husband is and I don't know who they may share that information with.
6. Make sure you give a house key to someone you trust- You never know when you might get locked out or need someone to check on something at your home for you. It's also a good idea to let a few friends know that it's okay to check in on you if they haven't seen or heard from you in a while. If something does happen, days or weeks could potentially go by without anyone noticing that something is wrong. (Moms are good for this too :)
7. Be prepared to protect yourself if needed- Take self-defense classes, keep mace, a knife, a baseball bat, or a gun in your bedroom. Make sure you know how to use the self-defense mechanism that you've chosen. Like I said, be prepared, get trained and feel confident.
8. Always be aware of your surroundings- When you park a car and have to walk a distance, always know who and what is around you- day or night. This is more of a general safety tip, but one of the most important. You should always be incredibly observant :)
If anything, I hope this post got you thinking about how you can better be prepared or more vigilant in your everyday life. Of course it does not help to be paranoid, but there is nothing wrong with being cautious.
I always look to see where the nearest emergency exit is in an airplane when I sit down. I'm not crazy, I just want to be prepared in case the plane goes down.