Awareness is your first line of Self-defense. Defensive Awareness. Threat Awareness. Situational Awareness. Whatever you call it, I repeat, awareness is your first line of Self Defense. So important to remember this.
Your first line of Self Defense, awareness!
The truth is, thugs prefer to target inattentive, distracted and preoccupied people, such as someone oblivious to the entire world on their cell phone. I’m sure you’ve seen this many times yourself.
Why? Because thugs want an easy victim. They want to get what they want and then get away. They don’t want to get hurt or caught in a fight, so they won’t be looking to attack someone walking with confidence who could be a challenge to them.
If you can see danger coming toward you, you have a much better chance at avoiding it… of getting yourself to safety before anything bad happens. It’s better to avoid a dangerous situation than to have to defend yourself after you are attacked.
Making Eye Contact
Thugs sometimes “test” potential victims through eye contact. If someone responds by quickly looking down or to the side, that person may become their next victim. Predators prefer people who appear intimidated and who won’t look them in the eye. They consider them an easy victim.
Making eye contact with a potential thug makes you a less desirable victim. When you make eye contact, you show them that you are aware of them. Thugs like the element of surprise. So, they prefer their victims to be unaware.
But remember, don’t stare them down. Otherwise, they might mistake your stare as a challenge. Simply let them know that you see them, that you are paying attention. Staring could change the situation entirely.
Awareness While Walking in Public
Walk with someone else whenever possible. And avoid walking at night if you can. Be aware of your body language when you’re walking in public. Keep your head up, your shoulders back and your hands out of your pockets. You’ll look confident. Most predators aren’t looking for a confrontation. So, they tend to avoid confident looking people.
Be alert. Look around. And actually, notice what’s going on around you. This way, you’ll see any signs of potential danger. And you’ll have time to react.
If someone you don’t know is getting too close to you, physically, the first thing to do is to move away from them. If that doesn’t work, make eye contact and tell them to stay away. And be firm about it.
Seek help from Police, Security or someone else that you trust. If it turns out you misunderstood the situation; you could end up being embarrassed. But so what? That’s so much easier to recover from than an assault!
Awareness and Your Cell Phone
When you are on your cell phone in public, you are easy prey.
Think about it… when you are talking on your phone, you are devoting your attention to the conversation instead of your environment. You can’t possibly have 100% awareness of your surroundings if you’re carrying on a conversation. Remember, predators like having the element of surprise. It makes their job easier.
Avoid posting, texting or talking on your phone when you’re in public. Unless it’s an emergency, of course, but being on your cell phone for no good reason isn’t helping you at all.
Where are the Exits?
When you enter a shopping center, a classroom, a parking garage, a theater, or any other place, look around.
Where are the exits? Where are your potential paths of escape? Are there barriers you can hide behind if escape is impossible?
Violence can break out wherever you are, and you need to be able to respond quickly. Plan ahead and know where the exits and escape paths are. It could save your life. This isn’t about you being paranoid. This is about you being smart.
Awareness in the Parking Lot
When you are putting groceries in your trunk or the back of your car after shopping, you are vulnerable to thugs. Since your back is turned to any potential threat, and because you’re concentrating on getting the bags packed in the car, it’s difficult to see what’s going on around you.
So, before you begin, take a good look around. Make sure no suspicious person is lurking nearby. And continue to look around as you load your bags. Constantly be aware of what’s going on around you so you can react if necessary.
Some stores like to make their cart corrals look attractive by planting bushes on either side of the corral. Nice, full, attractive bushes where it’s easy for thugs to hide. Especially after dark. So, what do you do? Use the cart corral anyway? Return the cart to the store? Leave the cart by your car? (If you must, then so be it. Better a disgruntled employee than you are becoming a polite victim!)
Whatever you choose to do, be ever vigilant and aware. Don’t allow thugs to take you by surprise.
Aware Today… Alive Tomorrow
Surprise, intimidation, and fear are the key elements of a robbery. Awareness, preparedness, and avoidance are your best defenses. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to leave an area in which you are not comfortable. Keep your valuables hidden and purse closed, especially when you are in an unfamiliar area. Keep a sharp eye out for anything that doesn’t seem right to you. Be ready to run.
You can choose to be inattentive and oblivious. And you might get away with it… until your path crosses a thug’s path.
You can decrease your chances of becoming a victim by removing your blinders and choosing to be aware of your surroundings.
The first thing to do when you get in your car
LOCK the doors! Don’t wait until you buckle up or start the car. Don’t arrange your purchases in the seat next to you. Don’t check your makeup. Just lock your doors and leave.
Unlocked doors put you in a very vulnerable position. Bad guys can pull you out and take your car or, worse, jump in and force you to drive them somewhere.
Keep all doors locked at all times
Your car doors should always be locked whether you are in or out of your vehicle.
When you’re in your car, it will keep thugs from jumping in when you are stopped at an intersection or any other place where your car is stationary.
When you are out of your vehicle, it keeps thieves from stealing your stuff and/or your car. It also keeps predators from hiding in the back seat where they can take you by surprise.
When stopped in traffic
Leave space between you and the vehicle in front whenever you stop in traffic. It gives you room to pull around the vehicle or do a U-turn to get away if necessary.
Be aware of what’s going on outside your vehicle. Look for someone getting out of the cars in front, beside and behind you. Also look for anyone approaching your vehicle or anything else that appears suspicious.
Use your rear-view and side-view mirrors as well as keeping your head on a swivel.
What if a “helpful” person is indicating to you that your tire is flat? Don’t pull over. Don’t hang around. Go to the nearest police station, service station or other safe area. Then check your tire.
The “helpful” person could be trying to get you out of your car so they can steal it, rob you and/or kidnap you.
If you think you’re being followed, don’t drive home. They could grab you before you get to your front door. Or they can wait until another time because now they know where you live.
Instead, make four right (or left) turns in a row (basically, going around the block). If you’re on the freeway, exit and then re-enter the freeway.
If the car stays with you, you know for sure they’re following you, head to the nearest police station or other safe place and report them.
If you are in a deserted, area, call the police and ask them to meet you somewhere.
If you see a police car, honk and flash your lights to get their attention.
The “Bump and Jack”
A “bump and jack” is when a car rear-ends or “bumps” the car in front of them. When the driver gets out to check the damage, a carjacker jumps in the car and takes off with it.
If you get “bumped,” don’t immediately get out of the car. First assess the situation.
Is the area isolated? Are you alone in the car? Do the people in the other car seem suspicious or make you feel uneasy?
If so, drive to a police or fire station or any other safe area. Call 911 and let them know what’s happening.
If you do decide that it’s safe to get out of your car, take your keys with you and lock your doors. And remain aware.
It’s easy to become totally focused on your child when dealing with a car seat. Those buckles can be a pain to open and close. And if the child won’t cooperate, it’s that much harder.
It’s no wonder that people end up so focused on the car seat that they forget to pay attention to their surroundings!
Before putting a child in a car seat, take a good look around to see if anyone is lurking nearby. Remember to look around from time to time as you are struggling with the buckles.
Paying attention to your surroundings will make you a less desirable target for thugs. And it gives you time to react if you spot danger.
Alternately, you could get in the back seat with your child, lock the doors, and then deal with those irritating buckles.
Avoid Road Rage
You’re driving to work, and some careless driver cuts you off. Instead of letting it go, you get mad. This guy needs to be taught a lesson is now your attitude!
First chance you get, you pass him while flipping him off. You cut in front of him. It makes YOU feel better. But now he’s mad. (He may not have even realized that he cut you off. As far as he’s concerned, you’re the rude one.)
Like you, the other driver wants to get even. Unlike you, the other driver is crazy.
He follows you. You get to work and get out of your car. He gets out of his car. He approaches you.
You think it’s just going to be some shouting and profanity.
Nope. He doesn’t say a word. He just stabs you. Now you’re in the hospital in critical condition. It can and does happen!
But hey. At least you taught him a lesson. Was it worth the risk, seriously? No, of course it wasn’t.
After reading this blog, you will have learned the importance of staying safe in everyday situations, common sense and a little thought behind where you are, where you’re going, what you’re doing and who is around you can go a long way to you staying safe, and hopefully prevent you from attack.