Security and Safety

Personal Security 101

By Casey Kelly-Barton 4.19.17

If you feel safe in your neighborhood and at work, you’re not alone. Serious crime in the United States has trended downward since the mid-1990s, which is great news. Even so, it’s always a good idea to plan for and be aware of your personal safety. Here are some best practices and tech tools to give you and your family more peace of mind.

Smart Parking at Night

At night, protect yourself and your vehicle by parking as close as possible to your destination and near overhead lights. Hide any valuables inside your vehicle (preferably before you reach your destination) or take them with you and lock up. UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratory) safety site, SafeBee, recommends holding a personal safety device or your car keys in your hand when you walk to and from your parking spot. 

Safe Fashion Statements

Feeling safe is always in style, and today’s safety wearables reflect that attitude. WiseWear‘s line of bracelets and ROAR for Good’s Athena pendants look like jewelry and wirelessly connect to your smartphone. When you tap them, they can share your location with selected contacts and call for help. The Athena pendant can even sound an alarm on request. Thanks to a recent update, Apple Watch also has a personal safety feature built right in.

Personal Security Alarms

You can find inexpensive personal security alarms that emit a 110-decibel siren at the push of a button, clip to your keychain, and cost $10 or less. These battery-powered gadgets don’t contact your family or call 911 for you, but they can deter a would-be assailant by drawing the attention of other people.

Smartphone Safety Apps

Life360, a family locator app, helps everyone in your family keep track of each other. The app shows who’s running late, who’s at school, and more. Life360 eliminates the need for back-and-forth texting to find out where people are, and it doubles as a tracking tool if your phones are lost or stolen.

Another app, bSafe, has the backing of actress Jada Pinkett Smith, whose daughter uses the app. It lets you choose a network of family and friends who can see your location and “walk with you” if you’re alone. The app can also make fake calls to give you an excuse to leave an uncomfortable situation, and it includes a loud alarm option for emergencies.

Practical Lifehacks

If you’re worried about keeping pickpockets out of your purse, briefcase, or backpack in a crowd, put it on under a jacket to conceal it. You can also use an inexpensive carabineer from the hardware store to clip your bag’s zipper pull to its strap and hold it closed.

Carabineers are also handy for clipping gate and crate latches closed to keep your pets from pawing their way out of safe areas. A monitored home alarm system, like ADT Monitoring’s video surveillance system, can help you keep an eye on your pets (and the kids!) while you’re away from the house.

Good safety habits, smart technology, and basic tools can improve your personal safety wherever you go. What about your safety online? Learn about digital security in our Becoming Cyber Savvy guide.

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance