We could all be more aware. It’s something that you should be working on daily to keep yourself from getting into trouble. The best self defense move is awareness. If you see the attack coming, you can go the other way. If I knew someone was going to try to kill me, I simply wouldn’t go there. If I found out someone was going to try and kill me where I was, I’d leave. If you knew you where going to get in a car accident on one road, you’d go the other way. Awareness is how you know when you should go the other way.
First, the most basic of all things; get off of your sensory deprivation device (AKA your phone)! You can’t really know what’s going on around you when you are talking or texting on your device. If it’s up to your face, it blocks half of your view. You just can’t be as aware of your surroundings when you are talking on the phone.
You should be looking around all the time as a habit. Even to the point that people may think you are rude. To get into the habit, every time you go through a doorway, look left right left right, if you are going straight. If you are turning, look behind you, look forward, and then look behind you again as you proceed. I usually do this every time I walk outside. If you do it slowly you look like you are looking for your car. If you do it as fast as possible you kind of look like you are having a seizure. Do it quickly but don’t draw undue attention to yourself.
Walk faster than the crowd and most of the people around you. As you move, it changes your view of things continually. If you move at the same pace as the crowd the people around you and your view of them never changes. You will never see that person that is three people behind you pacing you, waiting for the opportunity to victimize you. Moving faster than the crowd gives you different views as people move around. A person that is following you will eventually be exposed through gaps in the crowd. Walking faster also makes it harder for someone to walk up behind you. If you are moving at a good pace, it’s hard to be quiet when running up behind someone. It also makes it really hard for people not to stick out when they are trying to follow you.
If you have to stop to do something (like use your phone), put your back to a wall. It keeps people from walking up behind you. It’s still not the safest thing to do, but sometimes all of us have to take a phone call, or we just want to. Just know that you are vulnerable when you are on your phone.
I don’t think you should beat every person that tries to steal something but it would be nice to see it coming. At least the girl saw her attacker and then had options.
Paying attention to the world around you instead of your phone could be helpful. And if you’re the bad guy you should pay attention too.
If you are going to stop in a crowded place and talk to people, face them directly. That way you can watch their back and they can watch your back. Works really well when both of you are into self defense, not as good when it isn’t someone that pays attention.
Every time you go in a different place be looking for the exits as soon as you finish looking around. If something happens everyone will go out the front door and everyone that is trying to get you will expect you to go out the front door. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the stampede, go out another door. Also, if something bad happens (like a mass shooting) it would be nice to escape the madness instead having to stand there and fight it out. Knowing where all the exits are gives you choices and can buy you time.
When you sit down someplace, pick a spot where you can see what’s coming and going. I like a back to a corner if possible, or at least facing the main entrance. Most bad guys will enter like everyone else through the main door. It would be nice to see if someone was coming in with a rifle to do evil. If you saw them coming, already knew where the exits were, and had looked at the crowd, you have choices and may simply be able to leave before the shooting starts.
When you are looking at the crowd of people, or at your surroundings, look for things that are out of place. Notice what’s normal in that area and then you can see what sticks out. The obvious one example is the guy with a Trench Coat on in the middle of summer in the hottest heat wave you’ve ever seen. There might be something wrong there. Most things won’t be that obvious, but if you look you can spot the bad guy in a crowd.
If you don’t spot anything obvious, but think there might be something wrong, ask yourself why people are there? The other night in Nevada (open carry is legal), a lady walked by with a full sized 1911 on her belt. Of course, I noticed, but a quick look and she was just someone eating dinner and paying her bill with someone else. No danger to me or anyone else. So look out for the person that has no reason to be there. They might be up to no good.
Lastly, notice if things or people are missing. When I lived in Southern California and walked into a Stop-n-Rob (convenience store), if the clerk wasn’t behind the counter, then the place was probably getting robbed. The first time I went to a convenience store in Texas and the clerk was missing, I turned and walked out. The clerk was in the back stocking something, but no harm, no foul. But you should notice if something is missing. In bad neighborhoods, the locals normally know when something bad is going to happen and they leave. If there are a lot of people around and then no one, you probably have a problem and should leave post haste.