Security Indicators in Daily Life

Explore detail 05

Purpose & Output

The purpose of this exercise is to help us get an overview of our daily routines and other activities, through visualising it. We can use this overview of our routines to make a check-list of moments in the day where we can establish a base-line and subsequently check for security indicators.

Input & Materials

Use whatever drawing materials you would ordinarily use, and either a notebook, electronic document, whiteboard, etc. for creating your check-list.

Format & Steps

Visualisation: Drawing, writing

In this exercise, we suggest that you use drawing as a way of visualising your routines. Although drawing may seem strange at first, it is a useful way to externalise your routines to get a different perspective on activities you may normally not consider from the perspective of security.

Draw a typical working day, or a day during which you are carrying out an activity you consider dangerous. Do not worry about making it too visually accurate or artistic: just enough for you to understand it yourself. Simply begin with where you are when you wake up in the morning and consider things like:

  • Where you are when you have breakfast, if you have breakfast?
  • If you work outside of home, how do you get there? In what vehicle, with whom, and via which areas?
  • When you go to work, what devices do you bring with you? What other things do you bring (keys, wallet...)?
  • Where do you work, and who else is there? How do you work and what devices do you use for that?
  • If you eat lunch or dinner during work, include this. How long do you give yourself and where do you eat?
  • What time do you stop working? If you work away from home, how do you get home? What route do you take?
  • What do you do before you sleep? What time do you normally sleep?
  • Where do you regularly spend time apart from work and home?


Once you have a picture of your day, try to look for moments where you may want to stop and establish a 'baseline', i.e. what a normal day looks like in order to later check for signs that anything unusual is happening in your physical surroundings. Some suggestions might include:

  • The vehicle in which you travel: are there any signs of tampering (wheels, brakes, steering, ...)?
  • The route you take to work: are any of these areas dangerous? Is it worth checking whether you are being followed?
  • Your office or workspace: is everything in its place when you arrive, and before you leave? Are the doors and windows locked?
  • The space immediately around your home or office: is there anyone or anything (for example, strangers, police or vehicles) out of the ordinary here?

Note down the moments when you will check for signs of danger in your physical surroundings, and consider sharing them with trusted friends, neighbours and colleagues. If you consider yourself at high risk, you might include the daily routines of your family members or other close persons.

Create a check list from the results: what will you check, and when?

Remarks & Tips

Going through this process is meant to help identify both instances when we carry out an action or take a precaution based on our own sense of security, as well as to notice moments when we may feel a need to pay more attention or take precautions. If you carry out many diverse activities in your human rights work, try to repeat this exercise for the different ways in which you work.

The purpose of sharing this with a trusted friend or colleague is to make ensure we double-check and confirm our observations and/or cover potential areas we may have overlooked.

IMPORTANT: During more dangerous activities, such as a protest or resistance action, or a monitoring and documentation mission, we have to be particularly aware of security indicators, especially given that the situation around us may change quickly. Consider carrying out the this activity for these particular activities and make a note of any different moments in which you should be sure to check for possible signs of danger in your physical surroundings. Make your own check list!