Safety should be at the forefront of daily living

Skylar Britt, Editor

I believe the feeling of safety is one of the most important aspects in one’s life. If a person does not feel safe, then success, comfort and relaxation are unlikely. This, along with the reason of protecting one’s health and well-being, is why I think it is so important to ensure that safety is at the forefront of daily living.

While it is great to feel safe and at ease in whatever location one is in, it should not be an excuse to let one’s guard down. No matter how long a person has lived in a certain area or how well they know it, the safety tips and precautions that have been embedded in the minds of Americans since the beginning of their lives should never be put on the back burner. 

The case of Mollie Tibbetts can be used as a prime example. The 20-year-old University of Iowa student went missing on July 18 while jogging in the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa. Cristhian Bahena Rivera followed behind Tibbetts in his black Chevy Malibu, causing her to become uneasy. After repeatedly telling Rivera that she was going to call the cops if he did not stop following her, he kidnapped her and shoved her into his car. 

After searching the rural town’s corn fields and farms, the investigative efforts came up short. Five weeks of intensive searching for Tibbetts went by before her body was found covered with corn stalks in a field. 

A crime of this magnitude is incredibly uncommon for this small Iowa town, with a population of only around 1,500 people. Tibbetts’ family described the area as a tight-knit community where everyone knows each other and the details of their lives. The friendly mentality of the neighbors resulted in low crime rates, making this murder only that much more shocking. 

However, the killer was not a citizen of the town or the country for that matter. He is a Mexican immigrant who was in the country illegally, further proving the point that one should not let their guard down in any location. 

Because of this, the size of the city in accordance to geography or population should not be a factor in determining its level of safety. Much like in the small town of Parkville, Mo., the reputation of a safe, low crime rate city stands, but one person with ill-intent can change this. 

Due to this unsettling reality, I propose the following safety tips which should always be followed, with no exceptions. 

Always pay attention to your surroundings. Being oblivious to what is around you can be incredibly dangerous. Keep your head on a swivel to ensure you know what is around you while also letting others know that you are paying close attention. This decreases the chances of a person sneaking up on you. 

When possible, try to not walk alone. Use the ‘buddy system’ as there is power in numbers. The more people walking together, the less likely someone is to try and cause harm or carry out a kidnapping. When on campus, utilize campus security, especially at night. They are there to help and keep students safe. If you are walking alone at night, do not be afraid to call them with a request to accompany you to your destination or even to walk or drive you to your car.

When driving to a location, park as close to the building as you can to shorten the length you must walk. Park in well-lit areas where visibility is high so you can be easily seen. 

In this day and age, there are not many reasons to not keep a cell phone within arm’s reach. With tracking abilities and the many ways to reach someone by a phone, this modern piece of technology can be a crucial tool in keeping one safe. 

Pepper spray is also a wise item to keep on hand. It is small enough to fit in a coat or backpack pocket and is proven to be a useful self-defense instrument.

Finally, let loved ones know where you are or where you are going. While this may seem to be unnecessary, it can be the most beneficial information given to authorities if something regrettable were to happen. This somewhat tedious task can save your life or at least be the catalyst in an investigation.

While it can be quite dismal and possibly morbid to think about the steps one should take in order to stay safe, it can be the difference between life and death. As the late Mollie Tibbetts proves, one can never be too safe, no matter where they are, or how well they may know the area.