Health & Safety

October 18, 2012

Desert Lightning Team encouraged to practice daily situational awareness

Tanera Jones
355th Security Forces Squadron

Tucson can be a wonderful place to live, work and play. It’s filled with picturesque desert landscapes, high mountain vistas and a melting pot of culturally diverse people with whom to enjoy life. However, as great of a place as Tucson is, there is still a need for all of us to maintain awareness of our surroundings.

Throughout the past few months a number of us, both military and military family members, have become victims of crimes such as auto theft, assault, and burglary.

As Airmen, situational awareness becomes a daily necessity while deployed down range, always vigilant and always on guard. Oftentimes that “daily vigilance” is left at our deployed location upon our return to scenic Tucson.

Situational Awareness refers to your ability to observe the things around you and make decisions about your actions based on your interpretation of those things. It includes people’s behavior, unusual or dangerous situations, and even your own actions within any common environment. It often boils down to the difference between what we see and what we observe. For example, can you say with certainty how many steps lead up to the building you work in, or any other place you frequent? Why not? You see them regularly don’t you? The reason you may be unsure is that you probably never took the time to count them. The same is true in avoiding crime. If you can observe and interpret a problem before you encounter it, you’re more likely to avoid it.

Here are a few key tips to keep yourself and family members safe in the Old Pueblo:

Stay alert for possible dangers. 

Pay attention to your surroundings, notice the people around you and avoid distractions. Walk near the curb, on the side closest to oncoming traffic. This avoids the risk of someone in a car coming unseen from behind you and grabbing you or your bag, and gives you a better angle to see in doorways or alleys and a better path to escape if attacked.

Stick to well-lighted and well populated areas. 

Criminals are far less likely to target people where there are others around or they are likely to be seen.

Travel in groups. 

Muggers are much more likely to go after individuals than groups.

Dress destination appropriate. Expensive clothes and flashy or excessive jewelry attracts attention. Try not to carry a large purse, briefcase or backpack, as anything that might contain valuables makes you a desirable target. If you’re going to the local department store, you may want to leave the jewelry at home.

Entering your vehicle. 

When approaching your car, keep watch for anything unusual or suspicious. Carry your keys in your hand. Digging for keys at your car door is a distraction. Be sure to check the passenger compartments before you get in.

Take action if you sense danger or are attacked. 

If you believe you are being followed, head directly toward a populated area, cafe, bar or other well-attended place. Make noise or call for help. Don’t be afraid to draw attention to yourself.

Bottom line… crime can happen anywhere at any time. Utilizing these easy to do tips can minimize the likelihood of you or your family members becoming a victim.




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(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

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