Headlines of violence and crime appear in the media all too often, and it can be disturbing when those reports are close to home. Unfortunately, it’s a sad reality of the world we live in, so each of us needs to be aware of our own safety. In today’s fast-paced world, the hustle and bustle of everyday life paired with the “It won’t happen to me” attitude often results in people letting their guard down and forgetting some basic safety advice.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions such as wearing headphones or talking/texting on a cell phone while walking.
- Walk in well-travelled, well-lit areas. Try not to walk alone whenever possible, especially after dark.
- Know where you are going and the safest way to get there.
- Don’t be a target. Conceal valuables and make sure purses and packages are tucked securely between your arms and body.
- Have your car or residence key ready before you reach the door.
- If you need to visit an automatic teller machine, try doing so during the day, if possible.
- If you feel unsafe at any time, go to the nearest store or public place.
- Always lock doors and windows, and check to make sure locks are functioning properly.
- Leave a light or the television on when not home. Motion sensors and timers can also be useful.
- If you live in an apartment building, never prop the entrance door open or let someone into the building that you don’t know.
- Don’t leave spare keys in easy-to-guess hiding spots, such as under the door mat or in a plant.
- When travelling, follow these helpful tips for staying safe on the road.
There are many ways you can help facilitate a safe and secure community. Contact your local police department if you witness suspicious activity. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so reporting anything unusual is always a good idea. If you find yourself or someone else in an emergency, dial 9-1-1 for immediate assistance; the Massachusetts State Police also offer multiple tip lines related to various public safety issues. Anyone interested in doing more should consider organizing a Neighborhood Watch program if one is not already established in your community.
Massachusetts is doing its part to combat violence and crime by participating in Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national initiative to reduce gun crime. The state has also created the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery to recognize those who have demonstrated exceptional bravery in an effort to save the lives of others in danger. This honor was created in memory of Massachusetts resident Amy Sweeney, who was killed on American Airlines Flight 11 during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
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