Last night Kathy was joined by special guest, Toni Gonzalez, New Jersey police sergeant and owner of G3 Learning Systems LLC. Toni has a mission to keep first responders safe by teaching them basic Spanish; and also provides wellness support via her Facebook Groups.
Kathy and Toni were drinking Prosecco, adding a nice bit of sparkle to their webinar!
How do you stay aware of your surroundings without being paranoid?
When you are in a busy location, you’re not always paying attention to the people around you. Toni’s tip is to be aware of who is in front of you or behind you, as you may not know who is watching you – this includes during the day.
What Should You be Aware of?
Always try to be aware of what isn’t ‘normal’ for your home surroundings. When you pull up onto your driveway, you have a sense of what should or shouldn’t be around you. Pay attention to what feels out of place. If there is something that isn’t normal for you, never be afraid to report something to the police.
If you’re using a public parking area, find a well lit spot to park your car. Toni suggests that you take a picture of your car’s location so that you are not only aware where your car is, but also what is around you when you have parked. If you use your phone, you’re picking up on other things around you. Why do this? Because you may notice that there are people parked around you that haven’t left their car.
Always ensure that you lock your car, even if you’re only leaving the car to grab yourself a shopping cart. Yes, it’s difficult to shop with children, but don’t leave your pocketbook in the car if you’re just leaving to get a cart; and always put your pocketbook and children into your car first so that you’re less distracted.
When you’re driving, if your car doesn’t lock automatically, lock your doors when you’re driving so that when you’re at a stop sign or traffic lights, nobody can attempt to get into your car.
Always keep your keys accessible. If somebody approaches you and you feel uncomfortable, hit the panic button on your keys – it’s loud and is likely to scare somebody away. If they don’t leave, SCREAM (alongside your alarm)! People are a lot more aware of safety now, which means that people will come and help you.
If you’re able to legally carry mace / pepper spray, speak to your local police force to obtain the correct advice on sizing and purchase what you’re able to use. If you live in a country where mace is banned, you can research what you are able to carry or take self-defence classes.
The Key Trick: If you keep your car keys and your house keys separate, you can use your keys to keep you safe. Toni has some amazing tips about how you can use your keys as a potential weapon – make sure you watch the replay so that you can physically see the ways you can do this.
If you’re walking down a dark alley, walk down the middle, instead of close to either of the sides.
Headphones: We all love listening to music, but… if you’re walking or running, don’t have both headphones in or playing loud music. You won’t have awareness of what is going around you as you won’t be able to hear.
If somebody can see that you are only wearing one of your earphones, they are less likely to even think about approaching you because they know that you can hear them.
What Should You Look For?
Toni describes what you should be looking for, especially if you feel that somebody has been following you for a while – how you determine what ‘a while’ is, is entirely up to you and what makes you feel comfortable or uncomfortable.
Start practicing making eye contact with people. Once you start making eye contact, you will be able to make a description of them. Toni explains how you need to start from the head and work your way down:
- head: what does their hair look like or are they wearing a hat?
- eyes: color or whether they wear glasses
- facial hair
- height: it doesn’t have to be exact – are they taller or shorter than you?
- keep going all the way down to the clothes and shoes they are wearing, especially if you can remember they are wearing an emblem of some type
- if they have a car, try and remember some part of the licence plate, even if it isn’t all of it
If you start doing this every single day, you’ll find you will train your mind and will do this automatically.
Ensure that you know the telephone number for your local police department and program this into your phone: If you’re worried about something you may not feel that you need to call 911 or 999, if it’s not an absolute emergency; but this will allow you to make the call without having to fumble with our phone.
Know your location: be aware of the street you have turned on to, or are on; or pay attention to the highway or freeway marker you have passed. This knowledge means that if you need to make a call from your car, the police department can get to you faster than if they have to ping the GPS on your phone.
Know your local officers: if you don’t know who your patrol officers are, especially if you live in a smaller town, go and visit your local station and get to know your officers.
Toni’s last tip – never be afraid to report something. Even if you think that it’s not important, you could be saving the life of somebody else!
Watch the Full Replay Right Here!