Covid-19, Civil Unrest, Rising Crime Rate and Economic Challenges have changed the way we look at our personal security.
The question of safety and security in our world comes up almost every day, especially with what we’ve been though during 2020 in the United States; from the invisible threat of Covid-19 to the civil unrest that impacted every corner of our lives to the stresses of a faltering economy. We’ve all also faced the idea of going outside to places with emptier streets, people with masks and the eerie “feeling” that accompanies those moments. The idea of living a happy, healthy, American Dream life, free of fear, has challenged us to rethink the nature of how we live our daily lives. Especially, how we live safely, with peace of mind and security for those we love, as we venture out into the rapidly changing place we call home.
“We live in arguably the safest country and era ever. We are thankful to the women and men who help keep us safe. However, modern societies avails response to our daily concerns through the 911 system. There are more than 6,000 911 dispatch centers in the US. They deal with emergencies and handle over 240M calls annually. However, as reality would have it, we and our loved ones routinely face situations that are uncomfortable, scary and even risky that do not initially warrant a 911 emergency call, and do not have a solution. Such situations include walking alone at night, or getting a car from a parking garage or parking lot; encountering strangers without bystanders around — such as real-estate agents showing an open house to a stranger, taking a ride in ride-sharing vehicle, or having delivery people at our door step. There are also situations when our children are not under our immediate supervision and wishing that someone trusted and competent would keep an eye on them and be available to them if we cannot be.
As you can see from the chart below, there’s a wide spectrum of situations that we and our loved ones worry about, that do not warrant a 911 call. This constitutes a Personal Security Gap. Bond developed and has been offering a personal security platform that addresses such situations.” — Doron Kempel, CEO, Bond
When you combine the notion of a Personal Security Gap with the latest, pre-Covid-19, 2019 statistics on the State of Safety in the United States, there’s a rising level of concern about crime and personal safety and security in our daily lives.
Of course, the term what is safety has a wide variety of meanings. Personal safety, computer safety, workplace safety, emotional safety, physical safety, family safety…suffice to say, it’s a term that is seen through a lot of different personal biases and lenses. At Bond, we’re most concerned about personal security in all the everyday situations that don’t merit a 911 call. From the anxiety of a late-night commute to the urgency of needing assistance immediately. We ask constantly evaluate what is personal security in today’s world and how can we fill that personal security gap.
For general safety concerns, a recent report by safewise.com showed that top of mind safety and security issues for people living in the United States are physical assault by strangers, with female urbanites aged 18-34 with children showing the most concern of any group about violent crime. Following in a close second is being robbed on the street, especially for urban dwellers, and then shootings in public place, such as concerts, malls and schools. Men, in particular, cite cyber security and financial security.
How Do You Plan for Personal Safety?
There are many precautions people can take to elevate their peace of mind, however most of these precautions are focused on property and not typically proactive personal security measures. The most likely to utilize security options of any kind are households with children, homeowners, and families with incomes under $50,000. “Almost one-in-four respondents [State of Safety Report, 2019] use a home security system to help protect their property—that lines up with the number who reported experience with property crime in the past 12 months. (FBI crime report link). Fewer than two-in-ten respondents use some form of personal protection most of the time.” That means 80% of people don’t utilize any means of personal protection as a safety routine. Insurance, naturally, is the most common precaution people take to protect against a potential loss. Most security measures used by respondents are reactive (dogs, knives, pepper spray) instead of proactive (security systems or personal security products). Ask any security expert, and they resoundingly agree on one thing: you need to be proactive with your personal security. Proper preparedness. What that means to the wide variety of security experts varies as you’ll see below in the results of our survey on the topic.
Security technology platforms, beyond a basic tracking app, showed the lowest rate of adaptation in personal security measures. All of which means that the state of personal security in the United States is almost entirely reactive and not preventative.
Tips and Advice from Personal and Home Security Experts
As you might imagine, this topic gets a lot of attention. We sent out a general survey on What is Personal Security in Today’s World and heard from numerous experts, from many backgrounds, and several of our Bond members (users). We received a lot of cutting-edge advice, deep thoughts, practical measures and inspiration to keep you and your personal property safe. They bring to sharp light the need to address your personal safety and security end-to-end in your life. Have a routine. Think about what it means to you and your family, and address those needs, even if it’s just a preventative readiness.
It’s more than just putting a security system in your home, getting insurance for damages or having pepper spray in your purse. It’s about situational awareness, common sense, and proactive preparedness in real life, and in your digital life. The two best places to start are to determine your own personal “security gap” in both your digital presence, and the daily safety routines that kick in once you step out of your front door.
Like all types of security and insurance, you hope you never need to use it, but feel much more confident knowing it’s there. Determining your personal security gap will prepare you for the whims and surprises of life.
Here are some thoughts we’ve distilled from our survey.
Security Awareness: Cyber, Social and Identity Protection
Digital dangers are as vital to address as physical dangers.
“I’m so happy to see this query. It’s very rare that a journalist brings it up. The fact is, most people don’t care about this topic or prefer to believe that it is not necessary to even consider. Our philosophy is the cultural and societal myth ‘it can’t happen to me’ is a function of denial,
which prevents people from taking the necessary action and putting systems in place.
By approaching personal security starting with the individual, the person, and determining all the things that could go wrong at home, on the streets, traveling, even considering active shooters, and what if-ing — Visualizing what you would do in these various situations is the best way gain perspective and determine one’s options should something bad happen.
Understanding what security awareness is is a step in the right direction, but evolving to security appreciation is the key to taking action.”
—Robert Siciliano, Chief Security Architect, ProtectNow
Tried and True Home Safety
Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
“While the latest and greatest technologies are ideal, there are some tried and true, more traditional security products that keep you extra safe.
Door Jammers — Deadbolts are a thing of the past. Most intruders can kick down your front door and won’t be deterred even by multiple deadbolts. Door jammers take physics into account and make it nearly impossible for an intruder to enter through your door. Learn all about them in our door jammers guide.
Security Bars — If you live in an urban area or place with higher property crime, you might consider putting up security bars on the windows and doors of your lower-level points of entry. They’re not the most attractive security feature, but they are effective in keeping burglars out (in addition to scaring them away).
Lock Boxes — Intruders are smart enough to know to look for the old “key under the rock” trick. So don’t leave spare keys in obvious locations. It’s basically giving them an invite to break in. If you have the need to let other people in your home while you’re away (like cleaners and dog walkers) it’s best to keep the backup keys in a lockbox with a code. You can also leave the code with neighbors in case they need to get inside in the event of an emergency.
RFID Wallets — Electronic pickpockets are out there just waiting to get their hands on your information, and they can get it without even touching your credit card. RFID wallets are the best protection to keep your info safe https://www.safesmartliving.com/identity-theft/rfid/
In addition to these ideas, check out our DIY home security guide which has even more tips on how to keep intruders away. — Sadie, SafeSmartLiving
Proactive AI for your Home
With so many home security products available in the market, it’s always a smart move to understand the latest innovations and cutting-edge technology.
“There are home security systems that use technology to prevent a break-in or a possible porch pirate. The goal is to prevent, however most of the systems are reactive, so based on an action, the alarms are triggered and the monitoring service alerts the local authorities; which is still a good way to reduce the damage.
In my opinion, there is another option, which is preventive, instead of reactive. There is a security system call deep sentinel, which uses Artificial Intelligence in conjunction with real human guards to prevent a crime from occurring in front of your home or even to prevent a porch pirate [from getting] close to a package in front of your door.
It’s a great way to prevent an possible crime at your home or business.
— Daniel Velez, CEO, HomeSecurihttp://www.homesecurity.com/ty.com
Addressing the Safety Gap: Bond Members Share their Routines
Ben: “I put Bond in the same category as everything else you insure in your life. Why not daily safety? Best case scenario is that nothing bad happens.
“I don’t really like that this is the world we’re in now. I live two miles from a prison and strangers are always asking me for a ride or a cigarette…um, no! I also recently had to move out of an apartment after a bad break up. I called a Bond Security Agent just in case something weird might happen. The Agent hung out so I could pick up my stuff without an issue. It’s worked. She left me alone.
“I like being able to talk to someone and truly love the service. I have friends, of course, but at 3AM, when I’m stranded somewhere, are they reliable, sober, and will they even pick up or help when I call? These guys at Bond for sure will.
I mean, I spend money on a lot of things, but what is Netflix going to do to protect me?” — Ben S, Bond Member, Spokane, WA
Christina: “Being a single female, I’ve learned I need a witness. If I was to call a friend, what are they going to do? [The Bond service] takes out three steps in emergencies. Strange things happen on buses. Covid-19 brings out a lot of different behaviors and personalities.
I generally feel like I’m on top of it, but you can’t be watching everything all the time. It’s just not humanly possible. When you have a vulnerable moment, people see that. I call a Security Agent and now I feel like I have a witness. I just feel like a need that in today’s world.
Now, Bond is the first app on the bottom right of my home screen. — Christina P, Bond Member, El Cajon, CA
Like all personal security options that currently exist, there was a time when no one thought they needed it, until they did. Health insurance didn’t exist until the 1920’s. Car insurance wasn’t mandatory until 1927. They came out of a public need. Now, personal security needs that impact our daily lives have become complex and touch upon numerous facets of life: our cyber selves, protection against property and personal crimes, and what to do in the personal security gap between call-my-kids and a 911-emergency? There are options for all of them, of course. You just need to be diligent, focus on proactive measures, and find the best fit for where and how you live your life.