The growing insecurity in Nigeria today and attendant increase in the rate of crime are two factors that are giving everyone cause for concern.

These factors have clearly influenced sophistication of criminal activities and a growing capacity to circumvent conventional security procedures in public areas such as; Schools, Churches, and Recreational Parks – where children and even adults are now abducted, robbed and abused at the slightest opportunity.

At times like this, clearly, regular security routines such as keeping the lights on when you’re not home, always locking the door, employing security guards might not just be enough; rather you should make a deliberate attempt to always be conscious of your environment while walking or driving in and out of your neighbourhood. And more importantly, be proactive in defending yourself in the case of an emergency situations.

So it doesn’t matter how long you’ve stayed in a Neighborhood, it is not impossible for a once peaceful community to turn into a “Lion’s den” in a twinkle of an eye. While some signs of a dangerous neighbourhood are more obvious than others, these signs are common to most unsafe neighbourhoods:

Persistent Siren & Gun shots: If you hear persistent and almost-regular sirens or gun shots than crickets at night, you should be worried. It is likely your neighbourhood is home to criminals, soft targets, or the route they use in accessing or exiting from their hideouts. The sound of gun shots should not be something you get used to. Besides the discomforting sound, you could also be exposing yourself to stray bullets.

Heaps of Trash: Garbage, especially liquor bottles and beer cans littering sidewalks indicates both an ambivalence of disorderliness and nefarious activities. It is advisable you don’t live next to a refuse site. Equally, while you walk or drive through such spots always be on the alert.

Illegal Activities: These include: prostitution, using or abusing illegal drugs, persistent public fights, and indiscriminate display of pornography materials on the Streets, etc. If these acts are common practices within your vicinity, you should be concerned and prepare to leave or avoid passing such areas. Truth is, while these acts might not cause any direct harm on your or your property, it’s important to note that people who engage in them are likely to have criminal tendencies.

Abandoned Buildings: Whether its residential or commercial buildings, abandoned structures are one of the most common hideouts for criminals. While you might not be able to control how many of these you have in your neighbourhood, it is advisable you keep a distance from such structures especially when coming in or going out late.