“The Scout” Safety Tip # 1
One of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a crime is to simply remain aware of your surroundings.
All to often I observe individuals with their heads down and their eyes buried in a phone, a book or a tablet. People exhibit this behavior while riding the train, crossing the street, and most cringeworthy, while driving.
I see runners trotting through the hustle and bustle of downtown wearing Beats by Dre larger than the headphones sported by the ground crew at O’hare Airport.
I once read a story about a man who was killed by an airplane while jogging with his iPod in. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35896336/ns/us_news-life/t/plane-kills-beach-jogger-emergency-landing/. This man’s hearing was diminished to such an extreme he could not hear an aircraft landing on top of him. His story, albeit tragic, proves to you how dangerous the practice of wearing earphones in public is.
For approximately a year and a half I supervised a Robbery Mission team in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.
This just so happened to be at the time of the “Pokémon Go” craze. The neighborhood experienced an influx of fanatics, running around day and night. The only reason these players looked up from their phones was to see if Pokémon himself was living under the viaduct at Lakeshore Drive and Montrose.
These poor people didn’t know what hit ‘em. Quite literally. One minute they are playing a game, head buried in a phone. The next they are waking up minus their cell phone and credit cards, and plus one hell of a headache. They never saw the robbery offenders coming.
This phenomenon is not unlike what you observe in Africa’s Serengeti National Park.
When a pride of lions go on the hunt they almost never go after a fully grown, fully capable adult animal. They usually pick out the young, sick, injured or old. Those least capable of defending themselves. The path of least resistance.
Human beings are no different. We are all essentially animals down deep and we possess the same predatory tendencies.
Traversing the streets with head phones in or walking home reading a phone sends the same signals. Unaware. Can’t hear my approach, won’t see me coming. PREY!
You owe it to your self and to society to actively pay attention when you are out in public. Leave the electronic devices, books, music etc., for leisure time at home, in the gym, or somewhere safe. Protect yourself. Stay safe. Stay aware.
- Heighten your sense of awareness. Keep your head up and eyes searching. Be sure to occasionally check your 6 o’clock (behind you).
- If you have to text or make a phone call, do so in a well lit crowded area.
- Stay with your group.
- Don’t jog or walk outside with headphones or ear buds in. If you absolutely must, keep one ear free and the volume down.
- Use your sixth sense when observing body language or when finding yourself in uncomfortable situations. Your life time of interactions with people gives you a good sense of what is normal behavior and what is alarming. Trust it.
- For the love of God and family… don’t text and drive.
Stay safe out there and remember, have fun and learn something!