Street SenseMay 18th, 2015 by Dave Sinclair
Have you ever said “I just had a feeling…”. Well that “feeling” is your intuition, your instinct, your “gut”. Human beings are mammals after all and the same instincts that animals use to protect them in their environments are the very feelings that as humans we sometimes ignore. Keeping yourself safe in your environment requires you to trust yourself. Following your instincts and feelings will help keep you safe on the street.
As with most safety tips, awareness is crucial. If you feel uncomfortable with a situation or your surroundings, you should remove yourself from the setting as soon as possible. Always be aware of your surroundings by staying alert and walking with purpose. Digging in your purse or briefcase and not paying attention to people and spaces around you can put you in a dangerous situation. It is always a good idea to have your keys in your hand and ready to use if you are approaching your car or home. A person that can be caught off guard can make an easy target for someone who wants to do harm. If possible, try not to walk alone at night and be sure to stay in well lit areas. Walking near the curb of the sidewalk, away from buildings, and away from trees and foliage will help you avoid prime hiding spots for assailants. If you have a sense that you are being followed or are approaching someone that you feel you should avoid, don’t be embarrassed to cross the street or walk near another group of pedestrians walking in the same direction you are going. If you are traveling in an area that you are unfamiliar with you should check your directions and/or map in a safe location. Someone who looks lost can be vulnerable to a variety of misdeeds.
Take a look around and be aware of areas you could move to quickly if you feel threatened. Stores, restaurants, public transportation stops or other areas that are well lit and populated are ideal places to head towards if you feel you are being followed. On the flip side of this idea, be aware of areas to avoid such as dark alleyways or unoccupied buildings. If you find it necessary to wait in an area such as a bus stop, try to stand with your back against a wall or post. This will reduce the possibility of being approached from behind unexpectedly.
Non-restrictive clothing is always an asset. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation that requires you to move quickly. A shopping cart is another tool that will help you travel to your car if you have a lot of packages. If your arms are full of bags, boxes, or other items, it’s likely you are distracted from your surroundings. If you are unloading a full shopping cart be sure to stay alert and watch for anyone approaching you.
A final tip is to watch your routine. If you travel by the same route everyday, i.e. from home to work, you might want use alternate routes occasionally. It’s been determined that rapists have often studied daily routines and patterns to determine an optimal time and place to approach and attack their victims.
Don’t become a statistic. Use your street sense and be safe!!