Personal security is scalable and the level of individual protective measures that a person chooses to take should largely be based on the results of their Personal Security Risk Assessment. It should also be recognized that these measures can depend on changing circumstances and may change depending on the location, function, etc. of a person at a given time.
Before going any further, let’s define what is meant by Individual Protective Measures. Individual protective measures are the tasks or individual actions we take daily to enhance our personal security. While they may vary or expand and contract based on the environment and actions at a given time, they are nonetheless performed consistently during that particular time or in that particular environment.
There are a multitude of different individual actions we can employ, but for now we are going to concentrate on three critical ones that can be used all the time. Concentrating on these three tactics can significantly enhance your personal security:
Condition Orange at Vulnerable Points and Times: Go to Condition Orange or a heightened state of awareness during arrivals and departures and at other vulnerable points and times. Condition Orange, within Cooper’s Colors usually denotes raising your awareness based on identification of a potential threat but it can also denote the identification of a potential high-risk area. Using this method, we raise our awareness from Condition Yellow (relaxed awareness) to Condition Orange (heightened awareness) during all arrivals and departures and at vulnerable points such as (1) going to or coming from our vehicle (a form of arrival and departure) (2) entering and moving through transitional areas such as parking lots, parking garages, isolated streets on the periphery of highly populated or more crowded areas (3) public transportation (4) known danger areas (where there is a history of higher crime rates or other factors that indicate increased risk (5) choke points or places where our options for movement or escape are restricted or limited. Those who may be particularly at risk of a targeted attack might also add zones of predictability.
Utilize the “Three-Second Rule” when Going Through Doors: Security specialist Nick Hughes stresses the importance of using the “Three-Second Rule” for doors, and its good advice. Try to go through any door or entrance in three seconds or less and where appropriate (your residence, car, hotel room, etc.) lock the door behind you immediately. This reduces the chance or someone following you through the door and attacking you or attacking you while you fumble around trying to get in.
Reverse-Park Your Vehicle: When possible, try to back into your parking space rather than parking head first. This is not always possible or feasible, and it does take a little more work and practice, but it offers several significant advantages. When you back into a parking space you have better visibility of your environment before you step out of the vehicle. You are also in a much better position if you need to leave the area quickly as you can get in your vehicle, enjoy maximum visibility and drive straight out, which is much easier, quicker and more efficient than backing out of your parking space, especially in a stressful situation.
Now let’s see how we can put these three elements together in a scenario:
You leave your office in the evening. The parking lot is nearly empty and it’s getting dark. You elevate your awareness to Condition Orange (it’s a departure and you are crossing a transitional area – the parking lot). You get to your vehicle which you have backed into the space (Reverse Parking) and scan the area to see if there are other people or vehicles near you that might present a threat (Condition Orange again). You then enter your vehicle quickly and close and lock the door behind you, starting the engine before you put your seat belt on (Three-Second Rule). You then pull your vehicle forward (Reverse Parking) and drive away.
As you see these three principles complement each other very well. They are easy to implement, take very little effort and you can do them immediately. Make these daily habits. Consistent application of these individual protective measures will do a great deal to improve your security posture.