In my mind, I hoped that I’d wake up and realize 2021 with all its dysfunctional mess was nothing but a dream.

I’d look up to find Uncle Henry and Aunt Em bedside with The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and maybe Christie Brinkley in the background. 

Instead, I woke to the sound of my dog snoring and my bladder screaming for me to get up before it was too late to do so. 

I stumbled to the kitchen, placed the pod in the Keurig and hit the start button. I walked to the back of the house and opened the sunroom’s door to make sure the world had not blown up. I made a mental note to cut back on movies about the Apocalypse, then raced back to the kitchen after remembering I had failed to put a cup under the Keurig. 

Minutes later with a half-cup of coffee in hand, I watched the local morning news, delivering the same script as the day before and the day before that. Overnight shooting in southwest Atlanta, Covid test site lines, test kit shortages, the new mayor’s pledge of 400 new city cops to replace the 600 who left. I made another note to gid rid of local TV and never go to southwest Atlanta at night—or any other time. 

With this information firmly in mind, I made the pledge, as I do every morning, to be productive. First, find my glasses. As I looked, I made a mental note to invent a GPS chip for glasses—and remotes. Next, my phone. Within minutes I had both in hand as I made my way to the bedroom to change into my workout clothes for the morning walk.

I stopped to make the bed, then brush my teeth, then showered. Afterwards, I fixed another cup and sat down—which prompted my memory, telling me that I’d done all this before and it wasn’t the least bit productive.

Up again, I changed and headed out the door, then back for my wallet and the correct car keys. I walked along a rural road near my home and talked to myself. Don’t act surprised, we all do it. 

What I told myself was that as we get older, we begin to lose our edge a bit. We don’t see through things as easily as we once did. We tend to struggle with applying common sense in everyday matters. Little things, but things that we once sailed through, we have to analyze longer for the same result.

Unfortunately, we become targets for crime, specific crime based on our vulnerabilities, described above. 

The most common opportunity is though online sources. Phishing emails seem to be more common that before. Even though protection software prevents most from getting through, some still do.

I recently received one that claimed to be from Venmo. A charge of $400 was made on my account. I responded to the phone number on the e-mail before I realized I did not have a Venmo account. My first instinct, driven by the thought of financial loss, was to take the bait even though I had received a similar email on a Pay Pal account some months earlier. 

Situational Crime Prevention

There’s a thing called “Situational Crime Prevention.” For years, I’ve written about it under the title “Risk v Opportunity,” the basic formula for all crime. For you, whether you apply it to your online usage, or a trip to the store, employing the formula, regardless of what you call it, will put you in a small circle of those who seem undesirable as a victim. First and foremost, stop and think about where you are going, what you are doing. 

Don’t provide opportunities. Do your running around in the daytime if possible. At night, take safety in numbers. If you stop for gas, use stores where there are others around and lock the car when you fill up. 

At home, lock up. Don’t allow solicitors to come in. Call 911 when you see suspicious activity. The list is long, but the fundamentals are the same. Think about how to make a crime more difficult to commit when you do whatever it is you’re doing. At home, on the road, at home, on the computer, it all can be opportunity to commit a crime or your opportunity to discourage it. 

Just stop and think through the situation beforehand. You may never know you’ve discouraged a crime targeting you, but consistency in those little things to discourage it is vitally important. It is one less thing to worry about, allowing time to find the remote.

Steve Rose

Steve Rose is a retired police captain and a contributing writer to Atlanta Senior Life.