August 25, 2011

Safety and Protection

I'm working my way through your emails and questions! Next up is Susan who asked about safety while vehicle dwelling: Do I feel safe and what do I do to stay safe? This is a really important thing to think about, especially for you ladies out there.

Before I get started on tips, there are some thing I want you all to keep in mind.
  1. People, for the most part, are good. I know this sounds naive in some ways, but very rarely will you run into problems. Unfortunately, it only takes once so your best bet is to be prepared.
  2. Different people have different ideas of defense and safety. Some carry a gun, some (like me) carry pepper spray, some carry nothing (or they might be stealth ninjas). You will need to figure out what you're comfortable with.
  3. For the most part, vehicle dwelling is no less safe then any other mode of living, except that people are more likely to try to break into your car then an apartment.
    I've personally never had someone try to break into my car while I was in it, but it's been known to happen. There are a few things you can do to be better prepared.

    Means of Defense

    Pepper Spray:
    I'm a fan of pepper spray, just having it in my car while I sleep makes me feel more secure and, if nothing else, it will slow an attacker down. There are many places to buy pepper spray and it's fairly inexpensive. You can also make pepper spray fairly easily, just remember to read up on your state's laws.

    Stun Guns/ Tazers:
    I'm finding that these are pretty popular among vehicle dwellers. They're light, easy to use, and pretty cheap (as little as $15). They also come in all sorts of ingenious shapes, like this lipstick stun gun (called the stunmaster).

    Some people do carry guns with them. This has a lot to do with your comfort level and what is legal in your state. Remember that there are laws about transporting a gun across state lines and carrying a concealed weapon. Make sure you check on these things.
    Self Defense:
    Almost every town offers some kind of self defense class, usually for free. It's always a good idea to have a few of these hand to hand skills.
    Use Your Head:
    Your best defense is being alert and using your head. If something doesn't feel right, move along. You have the option of driving until you feel comfortable with your surroundings.
    • While privacy is important, I park in populated areas like grocery store parking lots. I am use to some noise and light while I sleep and there are enough people around that no one's going to try anything.
    • They tell you not to jog the same path each day because unscrupulous people will learn your habits. This goes for parking too. Don't park in the same place every night, switch it up. You won't draw as much attention to yourself or make your car a target.
    Like I said earlier, you'll need to figure out what works for you. Just remember not to freak out, the chances of you ever having an issue are small and decrease when you make smart decisions about where you're parking. For more info on keeping yourself safe you can visit the Cheap Living Forum to ask other vehicle dweller what they do. The mobile community has a lot of shared knowledge and years of combined experience.

    Please feel free to leave comments about tips and tricks 
    that you use to stay safe.


    1. if you're out walking at night, don't have your hands full of stuff, and look like you know where you're going (even if you're lost!) Walk with your head up, with purpose, and you're more likely to be left alone because you won't be perceived as a potential victim.

    2. I've found the TV show Dexter to be quite informative in not only self defense techniques but also in the disposal of your attackers body. Too much?

    3. REMEMBER: Anything can become a self defence weapon if need be. Such as a fork, knife, cork screw, screwdriver, ice pick, flashlight, and even toothpicks can hurt and give you time to get away.

      Of course as always try to avoid confrontation !!!


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