FEBRUARY 18, 2022
You may have seen recent social media posts on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook discussing abduction techniques like the honey tactic, the shopping cart tactic, the child seat, and windshield wiper tricks. Fear-mongering web content garners clicks, shares, and stirs emotions. Kidnapping and human trafficking are very real, but the purpose of these videos is to elicit reaction.
Regardless, videos about being followed or how to survive a kidnapping serve as a reminder that personal safety tips are key in any situation. Here are nine ways to keep yourself safe whether you’re at home, out on the town, or traveling the globe.
Always remain focused and alert, especially if you think you’re being followed. Stay off your phone while you’re loading groceries into a vehicle. Continually scan the area as you enter a parking garage and head toward your car. Keep headphones off while you’re on a walk so you can hear anyone coming up behind you.
When you’re exercising, traveling, or walking to work solo, stay on main roads or well-lit paths, avoiding alleyways, empty parking garages, and other areas with poor visibility. If you must leave the office or college campus after dark, enlist a security guard or coworker to escort you to your car.
Whether in your driveway, a parking lot, or public garage, do a quick scan under your car as you approach, and peer into the windows before you enter. Have your car keys ready before you walk out of a store or your home to avoid fumbling through your pockets or purse. Never leave personal items with identifying information on the seat of your vehicle.
What do you do if you think you’re being followed? Project an air of confidence with your shoulders back, head held high, and walk or drive with purpose — even if you’re scared.
If something seems off about a situation, trust your instincts. You don’t owe a stranger a conversation or even an acknowledgement. Exit any situation, anywhere, that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Your home and yard are your sanctuary, and professional home monitoring can add to your peace of mind whether you’re coming, going, or staying in. A video doorbell can help you screen guests whether you’re in your home or traveling. Security cameras and motion sensor smart lighting can detect any unwanted visitors to your property. Door and window sensors will protect all of your home’s entry points. Indoor cameras can help you monitor the rooms of your home while you’re away.
It’s good to change up your routine every so often. Take a different path to the subway every now and then. Skip your usual coffee run in the morning. Switch your route to work. Unpredictability wins over established routines, even if you don’t suspect you’re being followed.
Let someone know where you are at all times, whether you live alone or with others. You can use location sharing apps to help your trusted contacts stay updated on your location. Since these apps track your phone’s location, your contact can still find you even if you are unable to send them a text or make a phone call. Most apps include settings options that allow tracking for only a set time or for permanent tracking, so that you can stay safe while also protecting your privacy.
Another great way to stay safe is to travel with another person if possible; otherwise, have someone with whom you can check in so they know you’re safe. Consider sharing a copy of your itinerary, hotel information, and any other useful bits of information that your trusted contact can use in case of an emergency.
If you suspect you’re being followed and can’t make it to a nearby police station, don’t hesitate to call 911. If you know you’ll be somewhere by yourself a lot, invest in a personal safety app for your phone. Look for apps that trigger alarms, record audio and video, and reach out to your emergency contacts. If someone is blatantly following you either in a car or on foot and you feel safe doing so, pull out your phone to record video or snap a photo.
TikTok videos that show how to not get kidnapped and web articles with kidnapping tactics are designed to scare you. However, you can empower yourself by implementing personal safety tips into your everyday life to reduce your risks of being followed. Visit the Brinks Home™ blog to learn more about both home security and personal safety topics.
Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.
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