We never cease living in dangerous times.
- There was the time some guy followed me home from work. Had my mother not been looking out our fourth-story window and called out to me, I might've been snatched. He ran like a scalded dog as soon as he realized someone had been watching.
- There were the thugs who mugged my father in an alley (and nearly killed him) for two measly dollars.
- There was the time someone broke into our out-buildings and stole our yard equipment. That's happened twice at two different homes.
- There was the time someone tried to steal our septic pump. Although he damaged it beyond repair, he paid for his crime by getting a nasty shock when he tried to pull the pump out. It was hardwired into our electrical system. Oops!
- My neighbors have had their packages stolen.
- I've come face to face with bobcats, wolves, and coyotes. Fortunately, all of them preferred to back off or run away. But what happens if one of them ever stands his ground? This has been happening all too often in a city not far from us where coyotes have brought down joggers and grabbed little dogs. Their bold attacks have been caught on surveillance cameras.
- In more comical moments, there was the time I got lost in the woods, at night--on my own property!
It doesn't matter if you live in a studio apartment or a McMansion; whether you live in the city or the country; danger is everywhere.
After what happened to our poor Iko, we redoubled our efforts to secure our homestead. We installed cameras all around the house and shop. We plan on adding more by the goats and the road leading to our home. So far the only things we've recorded are marauding deer, though we did see a coyote trot out our driveway with a deer hindquarter.
We also installed more lighting, particularly motion-sensitive and timer lighting.
Something I dislike doing, but have accepted is carrying a gun at dawn or dusk. Where there's prey, there are predators. I just don't want to be one of the former.
So what can you do to stay secure? Here are my best tips to stay safe.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Know where to run for safety whether you're in your backyard or in public.
- Walk like you know where you're going. A Marine once told me this. She said I walked with authority. It keeps the bad guys from thinking you're an easy mark.
To that, I should add that Greg knows I'm usually lost. I might walk with confidence, but I have no idea where I'm going. I might be lost, but there's no reason to be late. :)
- Add cameras. Cameras are a step up in security. If you have good wifi, wireless cameras are great. If like me, you live in an area with limited reception, run a hard line for your cameras. I'm lucky in that Greg knows how to wire our security system, otherwise I'd have to pay someone. The comfort it gives me is worth it.
What's nice about the hard-wired cameras is that we can route everything to one monitor and keep track of all the different cameras.
Ring (or other doorbell camera). We bought this last year and LOVE it. It alerts you to whoever comes to the door. Not only is the video camera motion-activated, but you can talk to who's ever at the door from your phone, so they'll never know if you're home or not. Relatively easy to wire.
- Gun/knife/pepper spray: Carry whatever personal protection suits you best. When we're out in the woods (especially in the dark) we carry a gun. The rest of the time, a knife is all I carry. For the record, I've only ever used a knife to kill something once. A snake was feasting on my baby bunnies, the poor mother rabbit watching helplessly. I impaled the snake to the wall. Nobody messes with my babies.
- Dogs: Iko was brutally attacked and he's a big dog, so that's not always the best answer. On the other hand, dogs are aces at letting you know when something is amiss--if you happen to be home when it happens. A dog's hearing is far superior to ours. If they're on alert, you should be too.
Even a cat is good at alerting you. I always pay attention if Jammy suddenly sits up and stares at something. He's been especially good at hunting and killing scorpions. That gives him job security for life.
Whatever your environment, nothing beats being aware of your surroundings. That one exercise can save your life.
Have you ever been in a dangerous situation? What security measures do you use in your home?
I miss having a dog,that was a huge help as well. Dixie was an amazing protector and since she has been gone I've come to realize you can't rely on animals to take care of you either. But they are a prefect detour ant.
A self defense class is something all women should take or a year of martial arts. I did that with my daughter and it was a huge also helped build my confidence.
re: hinky feelings
Absolutely! People don't trust their guts enough.
re: As is being aware of what’s handy to use as a weapon...
I used to spend a lot of weekends at uni working on my art projects. I always locked the classroom door behind me and kept a knife within reach. Just before I graduated though, a serial killer had murdered a young woman at our university. After that Greg insisted I carry a gun.
We once were dogless for six weeks. We couldn't do it. The house was too empty. They're a comfort in more ways than one.
I have had a few close calls over the years myself and it has certainly taught me to be aware of things around me. Agree.. watch your animals. I feel the same way about listening to your horse when you are out riding or even what they are telling me in the pasture
re: Watch your animals...
I'm glad you said this. I'm always very aware of my animals. I watch them constantly so I know if their behavior changes even a little. Goats will back up to each other to keep eyes all around them, chickens will suddenly grow quiet, dogs and cats flick their ears to approaching sounds.
They are a first line of defense. Great suggestion!
To Madeline...I had heard the tip about putting your keys between your fingers too. But my self defense teacher said that can hurt your hand almost as much as your attacker. Instead, hold your keys so you can swing them and use them to strike someone across the face...ideally the eyes. You won't hurt yourself this way.
Some of the best moves are learning how to get out of a hold if someone grabs you from behind. Grab their thumb and yank it backwards.
Don't punch someone in the face, punch them in the windpipe - throat. It will take them down a lot faster.
I carry a pepper spray can in the car that is designed for bear attacks.
Good tips, Maria!
I use to keep a switchblade in my purse but I broke it using it for a non-knife purpose. I need to get a replacement soon.
Thank you for the tips. I have a feeling they will come in handy.
They did have a hard time distinguishing the level of threat. A squirrel elicited the same alarm as a real intruder. LOL!