Part 1 - In Women's Self-Defense, Real Information is Power
Data vs. Sensational Stories
Seek the truth about your personal safety through data. Stories are exciting, interesting, scary - but stories are different from data - and data is essential for your women's self-defense plan. Stories can include data, but stories are the micro-view. We need the macro-view.
What’s really happening where we live, work, or visit? Where can we get that? The media? The media tells stories that are specially picked, professionally produced, and edited.
The media offers a service, but it is not a public service. It is a private service driven by advertising. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, it just skews reporting toward getting eyeballs on screens and paper - where they’ll also see the paid ads.
The media will lead with a sensational story of crime against a woman, and neglect reporting on criminal patterns women need to know about.
Women's Self-Defense - Not Hiding It, Just Not Talking About It...
Did you know that many entertainment districts with lots of bars and restaurants are privately owned, and aggressive reporting on crime trends is discouraged? How is this done? With advertising dollars. Political influence. How many times have celebrities and athletes gotten help “keeping it out of the papers?” The internet has certainly helped turn this around, but there is still picking and choosing going on.
Police reports are of course filed. They have to be. Whether a news desk does anything with a trend of several attacks against women at the hot spots is another matter.
Women's self-defense: Know What's Really Happening:
Personal Safety is about Knowledge, Behavior, and Tools. The internet is a tremendous source of information, which drives knowledge. Women's Self-Defense - and everyone's self-defense starts with knowledge. Here are some great, free tools that we share with our clients. Note - The internet is awesome for information, but creates some pitfalls with behavior - which we'll cover later, with Social Networks.
3 FREE Information Tools - Watch this quick video to see how easy it is:
Crime Reports - This database includes criminal activity in the U.S, UK, and Canada. A 30 day history of crimes are available on the map, along with the addresses, names, and pictures of registered sex offenders. This completely free resource includes a roll-up of actual police reports, on a Google map-type format. For women's self-defense, knowing the number of registered offenders nearby is important - these people are all over the place, but if there are a half dozen living within sight of your apartment - it's not good.
How often have you had to ask about the safety of an area you’re traveling to or when considering a move? Just asking around can give you a feel for what is happening, but it is better to know what is happening.
Quick Background Check - Ever wonder if a new friend, business associate, or neighbor has a criminal record? Does something seem a bit "off" about someone put in from of you? You can do a reasonably good search online, for free. This might not include everything - but most politics, crime, and law-enforcement happens at the local level. Many states have free court record searches available online. Your state's site may look different than the ones I show.
Beware of sites that promise a free background check hitting every criminal database in the world, then send you to a sales page to buy a membership. A thorough background check will cost money (about $20) - but a quick check check takes 2 minutes and is free.
Amazon Home Services - At first, this one might seem strange, but over the years, one of the most common questions we've had asked from women is how to find competent, non-creepy service professionals. We don't recommend paying for any kind of list or referral, because the paid services usually prioritize businesses that pay to be on the list.
Amazon is moving aggressively into home services, and the female demographic is a huge part of their multi-billion dollar enterprise. Don't waste your time calling places trying to find someone who has a brain in his head and didn't just get out of prison.
Source any service through an online source that has reviews. Get a quote or flat rate for simpler work. Let any provider know you can't wait to give a 5-star review for great work. (and they'll understand the flip side) Any visit should be scheduled, preferably earlier in the morning, and any service professional should have ID and present it before getting access to your home.
We'll have an example using this service when we have a quick security-related install done in a later post.