Avoid dangerous places and suspicious people. This is the number one rule of self-defense. If you avoid places where violence is likely to occur and suspicious looking people, you’ll dramatically decrease the chance you’ll even be considered as a target. Here’s a few examples of what to avoid.
Avoid High Crime Areas
Some countries, cities, and areas are known for having high levels of crime. Even in regions that are generally safe, there are often specific geographic locations where high levels of crime regularly occur.
Even if violence in such areas isn’t targeting people like you, it’s possible to get caught in the crossfire. In your own city, if there are high crime areas, you probably know where they are. Avoid them. Don’t travel to other cities or countries with high crime rates.
If you do enjoy travelling, there is a lifetime of safe destinations to visit. Travelling to a dangerous city or country is not worth the risk, particularly when there are so many safe alternatives. Before travelling to a new destination, look into the crime statistics and avoid the high crime areas. Think ahead before you travel, and remember avoid dangerous places and suspicious people.
Avoid Being Among Violent People
Violence is more likely to occur in the presence of violent people. Obviously, the former section, high crime areas, ranks at the top of the list for being among violent people. In addition, violence often takes place where groups of young males hang out, particularly where they’re drinking. If you avoid bars, clubs, parties, and other such locations, the chance you’ll even see such violence is slim.
If you’re not a young male, then these locations won’t pose the same level of risk. Violence is also common in violent groups, but exposure to it requires being in a group with a propensity toward violence.
If you’re not a member of a violent group, you don’t hang out in the same places as such groups, and you’re not in a relationship with a violent individual, you’re covered.
If you are a member of a violent group, or you’re in a relationship with a violent individual, there’s only one thing you need to do: Get out now. It may not be easy, but you can do it and will be one of the best decisions you ever make!
Avoid People Who Don’t Like You
Places where you’re different from everyone else and where that difference isn’t well accepted can be dangerous.
If you’re a white American male walking around in Tokyo, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have a problem, even though you are different, and you will stick out. But if you’re a white American male walking around in Iraq…well that’s a different story and asking for trouble.
Avoid places where you’ll stick out and people tend not to like your kind, and If people don`t like you personally, you don’t need to be around them, their loss, right?
Avoid Verbal Escalations
When two or more people begin to argue, with escalating verbal tension, the likelihood of violence increases. Some individuals need to psych themselves up in order to become violent, and progress from talking quietly and being relatively still to yelling and using bigger physical movements before becoming physically violent.
Verbal conflicts can happen in any physical location, but because they require an escalation, you can avoid that “place”. Avoid arguments, conflicts, and provoking people. And remember, it’s possible for a person to perceive that you provoked them even if you think otherwise. It’s better to be even nicer and less provocative than you may think necessary. Tread carefully in places or groups where you don’t know the social conventions.
Avoid In-Between Places
Violence is easier to successfully use and get away with where there are few witnesses. But there must be someone available to attack. “In-between places” are those where people commonly pass through, but not too frequently, for example, between parking lots and tourist attractions, on jogging and hiking trails, on isolated side streets, in parking garages, and on the way to mail rooms from apartment complexes.
Attackers can wait in these places, knowing that victims will pass through, and they’ll likely have some time alone with the victim. In-between places where people are more likely to have money or valuables are an even better location for criminals looking for money.
As best you can, avoid these in-between-places. If you’re staying in a hotel that’s several blocks away from tourist attractions and getting to the attraction requires a walk down an isolated street, take a cab instead of walking. If you’re going to a popular area but know you won’t be able to find parking in the vicinity, take a cab or public transportation if it exists.
If you’re going to a shopping mall and have the choice to park in an isolated parking garage or a visible lot on the street, choose the visible lot on the street. Imagine you need to rob someone for money, tonight. Think about where you would wait for victims and avoid those places.
A rapist or serial killer doesn’t need his victim to have money and may be willing to wait for a longer period of time. If you were a rapist and wanted to ambush a woman, where would you do it? On a jogging trail near a college campus, but not too near? On a path between an apartment complex and the mail room, not visible from the street? Avoid these in-between-places if possible.
Think about where you’re going before you go, if the thought of where you’re going rings the alarm bells, take note, an attacker might have had the same thoughts and already be there waiting for the opportunity to attack, make sure you’re not the victim.
Avoid Lawless Places
Some countries and areas are relatively lawless, particularly in times of war and internal conflict. In these places, criminals can get away with nearly anything. Avoid these places. If you chose not to avoid them, then minimize your time and exposure in them.
Even with The Best Intent and Preparation, Danger Can Still Find You!
Avoid dangerous places and suspicious people is great advice, but, It would be impossible to avoid dangerous situations 100% of your life, unless you lock yourself away like a hermit, which isn’t very practical and no life at all.
So, always be aware of your surroundings. It’s always better to be aware and mindful, not just for self-defense. Get into the habit.
Most people do the same things day after day, week after week, month after month. You should be aware of what’s normal in your neighborhood, where you walk your dog, in and around public transit areas, in and around your place of work, in the grocery store parking lot, and everywhere else you go. What kind of people do you normally see? What do they normally wear? What are they normally doing?
When Something or Someone is Out of Place, Take Note!
Why is there an adult man hanging around a children’s playground if he doesn’t have a child? Why is there a man leaning against a wall or peeking out from a recessed doorway? Why did those three guys split up but keep walking toward me? Why is that man wearing a jacket in the summer? Why does that kid have one hand behind his back? I’ve never seen that guy before…what’s he doing in my neighborhood?
People naturally have good instincts, and it’s extremely common for victims of crime after the fact to say they had a bad feeling about a situation, that something or someone didn’t seem right. But they ignored it. When you’ve got a bad feeling, pay attention to it!
Predators will use social conventions to their advantage. They know that it’s rude to be rude, and that nice people don’t want to be rude. They know you’ll feel strange crossing the street when they’re walking toward you, and that you probably won’t. They know you probably won’t tell them to get out of your face when they come too close, or that you’ll shake their hand when they put it out for you.
The most dangerous predators won’t seem like predators on the surface, but odds are, you’ll know something isn’t right. They’ll be where they don’t belong, or they’ll be doing something a normal person wouldn’t do. It may be something small, but if you’re aware and paying attention, you’ll see it.
You don’t have to be paranoid. You simply need to be aware and pay attention to your feelings. Avoid dangerous places and suspicious people. Keep this in mind and you’ll help keep yourself safe.