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In your everyday life are you reactive or proactive? Football aside, do you think defense or offense?

A proactive stance makes you more in control of most any situation. Reactive stance means your typical awareness is low.

It’s easy to become ‘in the thick of things gone awry’ when you’re unaware of what’s happening around you. Many victims of muggings, thefts, robberies, accidents and worse simply weren’t aware of their surroundings and what was going on around them.

If you aren’t looking you won’t see it coming.

There’s a reason that wilderness hikers continually scan the hillsides as well as the trail. They’re looking out for bears, cougars and rattlesnakes. They observe their surroundings by sight, sound, and scent.

Now, unless a muggler hasn’t bathed in a while you’re not likely to ‘smell ’em coming’ but your eyes and ears, if you’re aware, will see or hear something amiss.

The top tip in this regard is DON’T WALK AROUND STARING AT YOUR PHONE. Put the phone up when you’re walking in public. Just like texting and driving your attention is down at the phone and not at what’s going on around you. Put the phone down.

Work on becoming more aware of your surroundings. Has the same car driven slowly past your house several times? Someone walking down the street aimlessly?

Landscapers across the street while the neighbor is away on vacation? Could be ok, might not be. Hopefully you have a way to reach the neighbor to check. Take a tag number just in case. Be proactive.

Someone taking pictures of your house? Could be Google, could be a realtor interested in purchasing your home. Could be a burglar casing the place. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Get a security system. Get a ring type doorbell. Get a barking dog.

Not intending to make you paranoid as most people are good, or at least most people aren’t violent. Most folks want to avoid confrontation and physical fights simply because they don’t want to hurt someone or get hurt themselves. This does not mean that there aren’t people that enjoy causing harm to someone else. There are also people that may have mental issues.

If an incident, such as getting cut off on the highway happens, don’t confront them. Stay calm. There have been incidents with road-rage where guns were pulled, and used.

If you’re at an outdoor event and a group of loud-mouthed younguns are taunting you, well, just learn to let it go. Don’t run away, just don’t put yourself (and your family) in a dangerous situation.

Has the same car been behind you for miles and miles? Don’t go straight home. Take an extra turn. Take a couple extra turns. If they’re still following you after three right turns then drive anywhere but home.

Learn to alter your route so that you aren’t driving the exact same route every single day. Going different ways on different days will also help you learn alternate routes home, a good thing to know.

If you’re taking public transportation and someone gets on that either looks creepy or you’re just getting a strange vibe be sure to stay alert, be aware but don’t make eye contact. Don’t stay glued to your phone. Always listen to your gut.

When you’re out walking whether in a store, a parking lot or anywhere walk with confidence. Walk upright, stand tall, stay off that phone and be aware of what’s going on around you. Women shouldn’t carry a loose bag or leave it open. In fact you should opt for a bag that closes securely and one that you can wear as a crossbody so that your hands can be free.

Teach your children not to talk to strangers. They should never answer the front door. If you have a landline and they answer they should be taught to not disclose whether mom/dad are home or not. I taught mine to say Dad was working on the car and couldn’t come to the phone… or Mom was washing her hair whether or not we were. Safety first.

Remember the X-files and the trust no one line? Well, one should never be too trusting in any situation.

No one needs to know everything. Keep as much information about you, your family, your resources to yourself. In the event of an actual emergency you need to be on top of things, including knowing what’s going on around you, your home, your neighborhood, your city. Listen to your instincts. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right it probably isn’t.

Stay safe. Stay aware. Listen to your gut.