We jokingly call our friends “stalkers” when they show up where we do time after time. Or we joke about ourselves “stalking” our favorite website for the first notice of an anticipated sale. But, stalking can be a very real, very serious situation that can get out of hand if not addressed diligently.
As single moms, we are often in a hurry everywhere: in a hurry to leave somewhere, in a hurry to arrive somewhere, in a hurry to get one thing done in order to get to the next thing. Multi-tasking is our middle name. But rushing around to and from places is not only unhealthy – it leads to stress and tension and high blood pressure and most likely poor eating habits, but it can also be downright dangerous.
When rushing out of the store to pick up your child on time, do you look around the parking lot? Do you notice people standing by their cars? Or are you just trying not to drop the milk and the dog food?
Do you load the groceries from the driver’s side of the car because a van’s sliding side door is facing the passenger side or does that even register?
Have you noticed the person who followed you out of the store or do you just assume he is parked near you and that’s why he is walking so closely and in the same direction?
Here are some general safety awareness tips that you should try to integrate into your every day habits:
• Be aware. Notice your surroundings always. Look around like you are trying to remember details. People with bad intentions want easy targets; they don’t want to work hard to score easily. If you look like you are paying attention, they will pass you up as a target.
• Vary your routine. If you always have to get the kids to swimming practice on Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00, leave earlier or later sometimes, run by the grocery store on the way, and vary your routes to or from the pool.
• When you will be out of town, set motion sensors on your lights or have somebody rotate indoor lights so it looks like somebody is home.
• Stop over-sharing! Yes, it’s fun to post that you just got to your favorite restaurant, but if somebody is paying attention to that, and they know how far your home is from your favorite restaurant, they know how many minutes they have to break into it…or be there when you return.
You don’t have to become Agent 008, but even a little bit more awareness can prevent a lot of trouble.
In part two, we will address when general safety issues become more serious, like in a stalking or cyberstalking type of situation.
Have you ever been stalked? Did you do anything about the situation or did it go away on its own? Feel free to share your experiences with others who may have gone through similar situations.