Security for the Disabled – Part 2
Written by Robert D. Sollars
For individuals who are blind or otherwise disabled, they need to depend on other senses and people as well. We’re going to start with one and move on to living in an apartment.
Intuition or Gut Instinct
Intuition, or gut instinct, is even more subjective than smell. The only thing I can tell you about it is this; if you think or feel something is wrong, it probably is, which means you need to listen and sniff even more intently, which can in and of itself can be unnerving. If you know that you are alone, yet you feel you’re being watched or stared at. It can be a bit, shall we say unsettling.
But you can’t let paranoia rule your life. If you feel something out of place then get up and check it out. Pay particular attention to other smells, sounds, and unfamiliar items in the house.
Even if it has no intrinsic value and you know they are, check the doors and windows to ensure they are locked and secured. Yes, your family will call you paranoid, but always be safe and assured, rather than being laid back and non-chalent. If nothing else they could make you feel better and less like you are being watched from inside…unless you have a pet.
If you live in an apartment with security concerns don’t stop complaining. If anything is wrong with the doors, windows, or landscaping then you have to keep telling them about it. If you don’t, unfortunately, they will ignore you because you are disabled.
You also have, and I do mean absolutely mandatorily, to document the complaints. As I always instructed people, if it isn’t written down and reported, then it didn’t happen. No matter how you record it, ensure that you place a date, time, and who you spoke to about the issue, every time it’s spoken about. Use your computer, voicemail, voice recorder. Just make sure you have a record of it.
Now you may ask, shouldn’t the complex be motivated to keep the place safe for the tenants? You would think they would, but I can assure you that is not always the case. Here is a prime example from 2003.
I lived in a supposedly gated community complex after moving to the Phoenix area. The manager and the brochure assured us that it was as safe and secure as anything in the area. And they said they never had any serious incidents. What they didn’t count on is a security professional moving in. So I conducted a perimeter survey.
I found over a hundred issues. From drug drops, vandalism and gang symbols, broken gates, locks, easily scalable fences, and so on. I gave them the report and they ignored it.
Four years later someone was murdered in their apartment. I gave it to them again. A year after we moved. All of my suggestions were implemented within three months.
A little tip before entering or exiting your apartment; stop and listen closely at the door. This will let you hear anything either inside or outside the apartment that may be amiss. If you do hear something and enter/exit keep listening closely as you do.
Having your keys in your hand and ready for the lock as soon as you get to the door is also helpful because it allows you to enter quickly without delay. A good idea is to put the keys between your fingers before reaching the door if you can. They can make a very potent weapon if someone were to accost you.
No one can guarantee your security. The best you can expect is for people to make their best efforts in securing the property. It is up to you to ensure that you are safe and secure, no matter where you live. Therefore, don’t let anyone patronize you and condescend to you about your security and safety concerns, especially being disabled. It may be helpful to find a family member, clergyman, or social worker, to be an advocate for you. Threaten to move if you have to, but be prepared to follow up on that threat, which may not be easily accomplished.
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