Crime Prevention Month: Protect yourself

By DLA Security and Emergency Services

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October is Crime Prevention Month, and security officials in Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support are encouraging employees to protect themselves, both at work and in their personal lives.

“Security is everyone’s business,” said Alex Logan, a physical security specialist for DLA Installation Support, Security and Emergency Services. “While we focus all our energy on protecting DLA’s personnel and missions, no one cares more about your individual security than you do!”

DLA security professionals are on the job across the world, but every DLA employee needs to be security aware not just in the workplace, but also in public and at home. Studies show people are more likely to be confronted by danger in public, away from the security of their locked home or office.

A variety of factors can make someone a more inviting target. “Perhaps the most common is being unaware of your surroundings. Criminals tend to focus on targets who are distracted by talking on their phone, looking at a map, fiddling with bags or focusing on their kids.

In fact, one study of thousands of convicts noted 60 percent of criminals moved on to target a different person if the initial one simply made eye contact with them. “It’s obvious that paying attention to the people around you makes you a much harder target,” said Logan.

Being unaware of your surroundings may also lead us to stand out in a crowd. Whether in your local community or traveling, you should try to blend in with the people around you. Make sure your clothing, conduct or mannerisms don’t attract undue attention. You’re less likely to be a target of criminals if they don’t notice you. Of course location is also a key factor in victim selection, so avoid isolated areas, or areas with poor lighting and visibility.

Security awareness shouldn’t end at your front door, either. Pay attention to the information criminals can glean from observing your house whether you’re away or at home. Newspapers or mail stacking up might indicate you’re away for some time. So might boxes stacked on the porch. Alternatively, be careful about leaving entrances to you home unsecured when you’re there. Open garages or flimsy screen doors are an invitation for criminals. Always stay alert if you choose to leave them open.

“The bottom line to your security awareness both at work and away is to stay alert,” Logan said.

“Hopefully these tips will help us all be a little more aware of the threats we face,” he said. “The most important thing we can all do is always be aware of our surroundings. Stay alert in public, avoid distractions and be careful who you allow into your home, and you will go a long way toward becoming a hard target.”