1) Know the neighbourhood. Nothing places a bullseye on your head in a bad neighbourhood like looking lost and confused. If you have the chance, research a neighbourhood before you enter it. Look at maps and pictures. Know where you're going, and know the streets well enough so that if you get lost, you know how to find your way out without having to look at a map or [Give Directions|ask for directions]. For instance, in many urban neighbourhoods, the streets are arranged in a grid. Knowing something as simple as, "If I keep heading north on Manchester Road, I'll hit the M60," may be enough. Even if you are lost, pretend you know where you're going.
2) A person who isn't street smart might say "Ugh! This is too paranoid. I can just find a petrol station or shop and ask for directions." Rest assured, there are neighbourhoods where you might not find a "safe haven" or you might find some shady characters inside, who've taken a keen interest in your wallet. * PERSONALLY, I ALWAYS CARRY A WALLET WITH A FEW NOTES AND EXPIRED CREDIT CARDS.
3) Don't go into an unfamiliar neighbourhood without a full tank of petrol. In fact, if there's even a chance of getting lost or running into traffic delays, never let your petrol tank go below half full.
4) Learn everything you can about the public transportation system, if there is one. You might need to use it. Understand how the routes and fares work. Be sure you know the places and hours that attendants or guards are available, the safest places to wait for your ride and how to summon help if you need it. A train, subway, ferry or bus station can be a dangerous place late at night, and not knowing what you're doing will make the situation more dangerous.
5) Dress to blend in. Even if you look different, keeping your clothing understated can go a very long way. This is not the time tolook glamorous or unique. See what people your age usually wear in the region and copy them. Don't wear flashy jewellery or bright colours. In some places, certain colours like excessive red or blue are associated with gangs. And, if you're a woman, the most practical advice is ''don't look pretty''. Yes, it's a shame that you should have to suppress your individuality, but let's face it, individuality draws attention, and that's not something you want in a dangerous neighbourhood.
6) Act like nothing's a big deal. You have to be paranoid enough to be alert to dangerous situations and interactions, but you have to ''pretend'' to be nonchalant. For instance, if you're in a supermarket and a very intoxicated person bursts in, yelling and waving a fist, what do you do? If you're street smart, you notice and you casually go about your business, making your way out of the store without drawing attention to yourself. Someone who's not street smart might stare, might ''rush'' out of the store, or might even try and help the person (which is a "Good Samaritan" thing to do, but not a street smart thing to do—sometimes the two are mutually exclusive).
7) Don't look up. Your attention might be drawn to tall buildings, but it's one of those things that people living in a city don't notice.
8) Be quiet. Don't laugh, don't giggle excessively, don't raise your voice to get the attention of someone across the street.
9) Avoid contact. This is tricky. If you're walking towards a person or a group of people who are checking you (or your companion[s]) out, try to walk in a different direction to avoid them altogether. Don't make it obvious, though—if you cross the street, for example, go into a store on that side so it seems that's why you crossed. Remember, you want to avoid dangerous situations, but you don't want to come off as paranoid or scared. At the very least, be alert so you can spot a potential confrontation early enough to cross the street without making it clear to them that you're intimidated.
10) If you do have to cross paths with shady characters, however, don't quicken your pace (you might do it subconsciously). Pretend to be on a call or send a text message as you walk by, unless you have a really nice phone.
11) If you're walking with someone, don't let your conversation get quiet right when you walk by—that can increase tension. Have a Great Conversation|Keep the conversation flowing, and avoid topics that might indicate where you're going, where you're from, or what kind of stuff you have.
12) If you make eye contact with someone, don't look away suddenly; look away slowly and casually. Think about how you make eye contact in a neighbourhood where you feel safe. You don't shift your eye contact away in a big rush, do you? At the same time, you don't want to hold eye contact for too long, or else you might invite a confrontation. Or an advance. Don't stare, and if you make and hold eye contact, a friendly smile and nod of acknowledgment may reduce the tension of any perceived challenge.
13) If someone says something friendly, Be Polite but brief. If you walk by someone who asks, "How's your day going?", reply, "It's going well. Thanks." Nod in their direction when you say "thanks," but keep walking. ''Don't'' say anything that invites further conversation, such as, "Good. What about yours?" Some people are genuinely. Be Friendly|being friendly, but other people have bad intentions; this is not the place to learn the difference. If you're a woman and the person being friendly is a man, you might want to be even more terse. Say, "Fine, thanks," and don't smile.
14) If someone confronts you, stay calm and try not to be or look afraid. Observe your surroundings, and start looking for possible help (other pedestrians that look friendly, a place of business that is open, maybe even a police car approaching). If no such help is available, be prepared to defend yourself. Start by memorizing their face, ethnicity, height (compare it to your own), age and any odd marks or tattoos. They may try to take you somewhere less public. Do not follow them into a secluded area even if they have a gun. You have a better chance to survive if you stay put. If they try to take you by force, scream, kick, punch, bite. If they have a gun and all they want is your wallet or valuables, give it to them.(* SEE POINT 2) Don't try to be a hero, it's not worth your life. Call the police as soon as you're able to and explain the "who, what, where, when and how".
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