Protect yourself against crime by following these safety tips | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

It’s a harsh reality—evil lurks in our streets, even our neighborhoods.


To put together this special issue on personal safety, we visited the Southern Police District Headquarters and spoke to Police Supt. Jenny Tecson, chief of the Public Information Office of the SPD.


We asked her for personal safety tips based on the modi operandi they’ve encountered. She said, “To avoid falling victim to crime, individuals should be alert, responsible and vigilant. Report suspicious people or acts to the authorities. Approach the police or your barangay officials.”


Because we want you safe, dear readers, here is the list, with some inputs from the Super staff.


Read it, clip it, repost it, share it with your loved ones.




If you are alone, make sure all your doors and windows are locked. Do not open the door for strangers.


If someone is loitering or acting suspicious near your home, take note of his or her description. If you spot a suspicious vehicle, write down the plate number. Text your relatives and friends and alert them. Do not be complacent.


Install additional locks on your doors. If somebody knocks on your door, open just one lock and make sure you know who it is before you fully open the door. A double lock can prevent criminals from just barging into your home. If you can, install a peephole so you can see who is outside before opening your door.


Use curtains to prevent people from peering into your home. Do not expose your property to prying eyes. “Dapat hindi nakikita ang laman ng bahay natin dahil ito ay nagiging mainit sa mata ng gustong gumawa ng hindi maganda,” says Superintendent Tecson.


Do not leave things outside your house, in your garden or garage.


If you have valuables inside your house, use a safety vault. Do not tell anyone outside of your family what’s in your vault, do not even tell people that you have a vault.


Get to know your neighbors. They will be the ones to come to your aid during an emergency.


If you will be away for a long time, ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your house.


People who leave their homes for short periods  sometimes leave their radio on so robbers wouldn’t think the house is empty. But do not do this if you will be away for a long time.




Keep your loved ones updated on where you are. Text them if you’ve left work and which route you will take. Make sure someone always knows where you are.


If you think you are a kidnapping target, avoid having a routine. Change the time you leave home and your office regularly. Do not use the same routes every day so criminals wouldn’t be able to trace your path. Tell the people at home and your colleagues at work not to give out info on your whereabouts.


Do not flaunt your wealth. Superintendent Tecson said, “Ingatan ang ating yaman, huwag hayaang maging sanhi ng kapahamakan.”


Keep your young children with you at all times. Do not let them out of your sight.


Try to withdraw from ATMs only during the day. It’s better if there’s a security guard nearby. Hide the money quickly. If suspicious characters are hanging out near the ATM, do not make a withdrawal.


Check the locations of the security guards and police assistance desks so you know where to go during an emergency.




Be careful in posting for-sale ads, especially if you are selling items of high value. Criminals sometimes use these to search for victims and having your full name and phone number on display can make you a target.


Yes, we know, Internet dating can be tempting (sometimes). But try not to meet with a stranger for the first time alone. If you really must meet this person, do a background check—Google is your best friend. Meet in a well-lit place with plenty of people around. Designate a safety buddy—a friend you can trust with the full name, phone number and other details about the person you will be meeting and where you’ll be meeting. Always, always tell someone where you’ll be. Don’t just disappear.




Do not bring a lot of money. Or if you do, don’t show it. If you are paying your fare, don’t bring out all your money. Use  small bills. Don’t expose yourself to danger.


Keep your gadgets in your bags. Do not use your cell phone while commuting. Snatchers work fast, you wouldn’t be able to describe them to the police because your focus was on your phone.


Do not wear expensive jewelry. “Takaw tingin yan sa mga masasamang loob.” If you’re just going to the market, do not wear jewelry. “Baka ’yun pa ang ikapahamak natin,” says Supt. Tecson.


Keep emergency money in a hard-to-reach pocket so in case your bag is snatched or your wallet is pickpocketed, you still have money left.


If you are not in a rush, avoid crowds. Theft usually happens in crowded areas where you are too distracted to notice that you’ve already been victimized. “Huwag nang makipagsiksikan kung hindi naman nagmamadali.”


Be observant. Take note of the people beside you. “Minsan akala mo dahil guwapo, hindi siya kriminal tapos na-bingo ka na pala. Hindi mo na masabi sa panahon ngayon. ’Yung mga masasamang loob nag-upgrade na rin sila kagaya ng gadgets natin,” said Supt. Tecson.


There are security guards and police assistance desks at terminals. Approach them if you want to report suspicious activity or if you need help.


As much as possible, hail a taxi only at designated taxi stands and well-lit areas.  Some criminals use their own taxis to commit crimes so choose taxis from reputable cab companies.


Lock all doors as soon as you get into a taxi. Take down the plate number and cab company’s name and text the details to family and friends.




Make sure your car is in good condition. Remember the word BLOWBAG—brakes, light, oil, water, battery, air, gasoline—especially if you are going on a long trip. You wouldn’t want your car to break down in the middle of nowhere leaving you without a quick way to get help. Being stranded in an unfamiliar place puts you in danger.


BLOWBAG has actually been updated to BLOWBAGAR—A is for accessories (or your car tools) and R is registration. You need your tools so you won’t get stranded if your car breaks down. And always have your registration papers and ORCR in your vehicle. Make sure you have a working flashlight in the car.


Always wear your seatbelt.


Do not be complacent. Make sure that your windows are always closed and your doors are locked when you’re driving. If someone knocks on your window or another vehicle comes close and starts honking, motioning for you to open your window, don’t do it. If they really need to tell you something, only engage if you are in a well-lit area with other people around, like a gas station. And stay in your car. Do not unlock your doors.


One modus operandi criminals use is pretending to be concerned strangers, telling you your tire is flat or it has burst. When the driver gets out of the car, that’s when the criminals grab the chance. Do not get out of your car.


Crime happens any time of the day or night. Even in the morning, it’s not okay to keep your windows down or your car unlocked. Don’t let your guard down even during the day.


Park in well-lit areas. Check the backseat of your car before getting in.


If you are inside your car and people are trying to get in, grab your phone and call for help—call your family, friends, the police hotline. Honk your horn to alert other people nearby. The noise can scare off the criminals. Drive off if you can.




Be alert. Try not to panic. If a group is robbing you and its members are armed, just surrender your belongings. Take note of the perpetrators, the getaway car or motorcycle (memorize the plate number) and the direction they fled. Once the criminals leave the bus or the jeep, head to the nearest police station and file a report. Provide as many details as you can to aid in the pursuit of the criminals.


Use your discretion. If the criminal is alone and is obviously inexperienced and you are trained in self-defense and you are sure you can take him, then act on it. Take advantage of the element of surprise. Go for the groin.




Crime rates shoot up around Christmas. Do not let your excitement over the holidays distract you. Be vigilant. Do not just rely on other people for security.


As much as possible, study self-defense. This is very important. If you can’t afford to take classes, you can  watch videos online.


If your mobile phone plan isn’t post-paid, make sure your phone always has load. Always make sure your phone has battery. Your phone is essential in getting you help and keeping you in touch with your loved ones.


Program emergency hotline numbers into your phone’s speed dial. PNP’s hotline is 117; you can also text PNP to 2920. But don’t just rely on these numbers—get the phone numbers of the barangay office, police stations and law enforcement agencies near your home and your office. The more emergency numbers you have in your phone, the better.


Do not hesitate to ask a policeman for help and to file reports in the stations. “Huwag po sana silang mag-isip na ang ating kapulisan ay masama. We’re admitting that there are some na nalilihis ng landas pero mas marami pa rin po ‘yung mababait natin kapulisan na gusting maibalik ang magandang imahe ng PNP,” said Superintendent Tecson. “We are not tolerating any wrongdoing by our members but we are following the proper procedures para ‘yan ay ma-aksyunan.”




Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.