The Best Way to Avoid Dangerous Situations with Dr. Nancy Zarse, Forensic Psychologist

Jun 5, 2019 | Safety Smart, Safety Tips, Tips and Tricks

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “That will never happen to me”? If we’re honest, we have probably all felt that way about one thing or another in our lifetime. It is that way of thinking that makes us feel comfortable enough to let our guard down. In some cases, letting your guard down is good. In other cases, it could be life-threatening.

After working with the FBI, multiple police departments and divisions, Crisis Negotiation Associations, schools, private law firms, and at several high-profile prisons and barracks for the United States, Dr. Nancy Zarse has seen far more than her fair share of people who prey on those who let their guard down.

We asked Dr. Zarse to provide some valuable keys and insight to help you and your family and friends avoid potentially dangerous situations. Here’s what she had to say:

In your work, you’ve seen a lot. Can you share a story that shocked even you?

While working in a maximum-security psychiatric unit, I interviewed a patient who told me he was arrested for jaywalking. I thought that was unlikely, so I asked him to describe the circumstances of his arrest. He freely shared he had killed a woman in an empty lot and was dragging her across the street by her hair at the moment he was arrested. Since he was not in a crosswalk, he thought he was arrested for jaywalking. He was not being sarcastic or deceptive in his original answer; he was psychotic, and that out of touch with reality!

Wow! That is shocking. I’m almost not sure where to go from there. But what is a safety tip most people should know, but probably don’t think about?

Be open to sensory input and pay attention to your instincts. In particular, do not walk the streets with headphones in your ears, because that blocks the early warning system afforded by your hearing and your attention. Listen to your instincts; true fear is an evolutionary warning of danger, so don’t disregard it!

What are people frequently doing on the internet you feel is concerning?

My biggest concern with the use of the internet is the extent of personal sharing with little regard for the myriad of ways it can hurt ourselves or others. From what we inadvertently reveal to potential employers to how we alert potential thieves that our home is unattended to, and the lack of civility in our discourse, we need to exercise care.

Why did you join the advisory board of SafetyPIN?

I joined the Advisory Board of SafetyPIN because I believe in the mission and hoped to add value to the process. As a forensic psychologist, my work largely exists at the intersection of psychology and the law, which is where SafetyPIN does a lot of its work. I entered this field because it was under-served and I hoped to make a difference. I’ve been quite fortunate, for throughout my career I’ve found the work to be interesting, challenging, and rewarding. And I’m glad my experience can bring value to this unique company and the people that use it.

Click the video below to learn more about SafetyPIN and how it can help keep you and the ones you love safer.

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