Bad things happen and human error is inevitable. Simply paying attention to your surroundings, no matter where you are, could be what keeps you alive.
Developing good situational awareness is key to recognizing an attack or accident before it may occur. First and foremost, we need to recognize the fact that these threats exist and can affect anyone. Ignorance or denial of a threat does not make it go away.
1.Keep your head on a swivel. We develop curiosity early on in life and in many ways, it is a survival adaptation. Doing mundane things like
sitting alone in the coffee shop or waiting for the bus can be boring. Nowadays we have distractions like phones, books, or computers to keep
us busy. However, these things can be a severe hindrance to your situational awareness. Look around and find the doors, windows, and
bathrooms. Look at the people. Does anyone look out of place or maybe even distressed? Use your natural inclination to observe the world
around you to entertain yourself, instead of burying your head into your phone. It could save your life.
2. Plan ahead. Do you have your entire day planned out? Where are you going? Are you walking or driving? Is there parking on site or do you have to park at a lot away from your destination? Will you be drinking? Try to be aware of these things in advance. All too often we find ourselves out and about when suddenly, problems start to occur. The valet shut down early or your car is locked in a parking garage after hours. Maybe you lost your keys or phone. Try and have plans in place for these common occurrences.
3. Learn to defend yourself. Both your mind and body are valuable weapons. While taking self defense classes or carrying a weapon can be great ways to stay safe, they do not make up for bad habits. If you aren’t aware of the threat, how can you defend against it? Train your mind as well as your body to recognize the subtle clues in your environment. Have you walked down this street before? Is there
anything different? A car parked on the side of the road with the trunk open, a light out in the alley, a group of people a little too interested in you. Your mind can save you before your body ever even has to act.
4. Make yourself a hard target. This goes hand in hand with training. Make the cost of the prize too high for the attacker. Criminals look
for easy targets. People or places with little to no defensive capabilities or security measures. Carry a weapon. Learn defensive
tactics. Stay in groups when possible. Walk with your head up and shoulders out. Use a bold voice with a stern tone if spoken to. Show
that you are not afraid of the world around you. If you are able to convey the message that you will not be an easy target, odds are you
will not be a victim tonight.