Being street smart means knowing how to keep yourself safe from strangers. Whether you're just riding your bike in the neighborhood or coming home from a friend's at night, there are things you can do to protect your valuables and even your life.
To learn more about them, a now-deleted Reddit user posted a question on r/AskReddit, saying "What are the best 'street smart' tips you can give?" Within just 3 days, people have submitted hundreds of answers, providing valuable insights to those who might be exposed to dangerous environments.
If you feel things are about to take a turn for the worse, leave.
If you get arrested, shut the f**k up. Ask for a lawyer, and then shut the f**k up. And when a lawyer shows up, shut the f**k up
Always walk on the side of the road that opposes traffic. This puts distance between you and a car that might be trying to follow you
Trust your gut. Your subconscious can notice details your conscious mind doesn’t. Don’t be afraid of making a scene to keep yourself safe
I am female, these are tips to make you appear stronger as a female on the street (walking home, nighttime subway, etc):
If you think you are being followed or if you hear somebody behind you - feel free to turn around and look directly at them because it shows you are not afraid to be aware of your surroundings.
By the same measure, don't be afraid (generally) to meet people's eyes. Not in a confrontational "yeah? WHAT!?" sort of way, but in a "I am seeing the people in my world" sort of engaged and aware way.
This shows you do not fear engaging your surroundings.
Again - this is to show you are capable, this is not to provoke or antagonize - that's a different, defensive posture.
Do not engage with crazy.
If they address you directly, still don’t engage
Basically, just be aware of your surroundings. A lack of situational awareness can lead to some bad things.
If someone is attempting to take you to a secondary location by car or something, fight like your life depends on it, because it does. Poke their eyes out. Punch them in the testicles. Bite them, scratch them, anything you can think of, do it to get yourself free. There are no rules when it comes to this situation. Some specific things you can do are screaming 'Fire!' Or 'Help my child!' This will catch more attention than just plain 'Help.'
Use windows as mirrors to see your blind spots or to check behind you. Literally every window you walk past, you should take a quick glance to know what’s going on in your blind spots. You can almost completely get rid of blind spots altogether because of windows.
Don't walk into the street texting, tweeting, meme-ing, etc. I've seen people walking straight into traffic because of this
Cops will take the side of anyone that speaks calmly every time no matter the circumstances
Seriously, you should swing wide around corners, it’s no joke. Five or six ago, I was walking home from the bar. I lived two blocks away. At the time, I was 6'1" and probably weighed 280 pounds. I came around the corner about halfway home and BOOM, I went down. Some kid that didn't even look 18 nailed me in the face with a skateboard. I went down so fast and didn't even know what hit me
If you are a woman in a public place a guy is giving you the creeps walk up to a big dude and just go “John! I can’t believe it’s you!” Then go into a hug and say “let me sit next to you, please.”
Most guys will get what’s going on and go with it and the chances that they themselves are creeps are slim.
Shadows can also be useful to pay attention to when you’re trying to peek behind you or see if there’s someone around a corner
Walk confident on the street. Thieves often target people who lack confidence, appear nervous or walk irregularly.
DO NOT WEAR HEADPHONES!!!
You make yourself an easy target by making it so even the most clod footed mugger can sneak up on you.
Always get your keys out before you leave a building to go to your car, and have them in hand as you exit it before you go into your house. Not only are they a great weapon if needed, but you aren't distracted while searching for them.
Be weary of women who approach you at a bar and immediately try and get you to go to another bar.
Those people are called “pullers” and they are paid to do it.
If you drive an SUV and you're in a parking lot, beware if you get in and notice there's a flyer under the small wiper on your back window. Many people get in and look in the rear view mirror as they start to back out; that's when they see the flyer blocking their view. They pop out to grab it, leaving the engine on and the door open for the second it takes, and that's when someone jumps in and car jacks you.
When you're at a bus or train stop at night, with nobody else around, and you hear young guys talking where you know they go in your direction, quickly disappear before you get in their sight.
They may be harmless, but as long as the probability they want to start [things] as soon as they notice you is there, don't take a risk. Learned that the hard way several times.
Avoid gawking around. It screams 'tourist,' which screams 'money on them' and 'no idea what to do in a situation
Walk like you know where you're going, make eye contact with strangers, and don't wear fancy clothes/purses/backpacks when walking around the neighborhood or using public transport
Putting a chain on your wallet shows a thief exactly where your wallet is and a chain will not stop an experienced thief.
In most cases, dressing and acting like you belong where you are goes a long way to blending in.
Whether it's breaking into an office building or walking by yourself at night, your appearance goes a long way towards making you just another blotch of white nois
Don’t fumble through your pockets.
If you think your being followed go into a store calmly and chat with the workers.
Carry a loose dollar bill or two if your someone that likes to give money to people. Less likely to target the dude that handed a single dollar than the guy who pulled a dollar out of a wallet full of 20’s
Pay attention to your surroundings at all time but mind your own business. Depending on the neighborhood someone screaming for help from an alley isn't really the one in danger
Surround yourself with people who make you feel safe. There’s a difference between feeling comfortable and feeling safe. You could be comfortable with strangers— maybe you just met them and they’re nice. You might not be safe around those people, i.e. would those people help you if someone had a gun to your head, or run for their own safety? Find the people who you know would take a punch to keep you safe
Realize the difference between someone trying to hurt you and trying rob you. Act accordingly.