A five-second security solution

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My friend wasn’t accustomed to staying alone; there had always been someone else with her at home.

Night noises that had been easy to ignore before were now often unidentifiable and frightening. She wondered what to do, and she was surprised when I told her that she needed only one thing.

”A weapon?” she asked.

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”No,” I said. “What you need is 5 seconds.”

So we searched around in her kitchen and collected some small items: gift ribbon, silverware, and cookie tins. That’s what I used to secure her house.

I tied forks and spoons to lengths of ribbon and looped the ribbon loosely over the doors knobs that opened to the outside. Then I place a cookie tin with its lid open but propped on top of it in the center of each window.

My friend was mystified. “What good can this stuff do?”

So I told her, “If anyone messes with your doors or windows, this stuff will make noise. And that noise will give you 5 seconds. That’s time you need so that you can get away. Don’t stop for shoes or a purse or anything else. Just run. Staying safe is more important than any stuff you might own.”

Even though I had a place next door to my parents for years, I’ve spent most of my life living completely alone. But it never occurred to me that I might be at risk until I was mugged getting into my car outside a busy store.

(Sour justice: they never caught the mugger but I hope that he was very happy with the $1 that was in my purse.)

Now I know that understanding simple security options is common sense; there’s even a safer way to get into a car.

Keeping safe is a matter of being mindful. Every so often I think potential situations through and I visualize what I need to do, where I need to go, what needs to happen if I have to get out, to get away, to stay safe.

If you practice mentally in advance, your body is ready to take over when you’re so scared that your mind shuts off.


I feel that a weapon can be taken and used against you. The most important tool you can use is your mind. You need to remember to breathe, to run, to hide, to get help when you can.

Now my friend understands that the beautiful glass bottles on my living room windowsill aren’t there simply because I like the colors.

The pretty brass bells on the back door have a purpose, too. It’s all part of my household security system:  All in an effort to give me 5 seconds.

By Sidney Walker