Self Awareness / Common Sense Self Defense 

            What I want to promote in this chapter is confidence through knowledge and that prevention is the best defense in any situation where danger may lurk. When that is impossible, preparation is the next best thing. The average mugger or burglar is an opportunist looking for an easy victim, and many of us are very accommodating. By using simple, common sense techniques, you can reduce your chances of becoming the victim of a crime. 

1)      Your state of mind and attitude is the first step in personal crime prevention. Never show fear, even though you may feel it. Create a superior attitude, speak with authority and display an air of confidence. 

2)      When walking the streets or going shopping. 

a)      Try to have a companion with you.

b)      Plan your route. Use streets that are well-lighted and well-traveled.

c)      Walk down the center of the sidewalk, away from buildings and alleyways where a stranger could hide his self.

d)      Donít take short cuts through alleys, vacant lots or wooded areas.

e)      Watch for people following you. Be alert, look around.

f)        If you think that you are being followed, go into a store or head for a crowd of people.

g)      If you are being followed by a car, change directions, cross the street. Always try to walk facing traffic.

h)      If the driver stops and asks directions, donít get too close to the car and risk being pulled in.

i)        If you are carrying a purse, hold it close to your body under your arm, never with your hand holding it. Never dangle it. If possible carry a shoulder bag, as it is harder for a purse-snatcher to grab it. When carrying an armful of packages, tuck the purse between the packages and your body.

j)        Donít carry or flash large amounts of money. Donít carry bankbooks; checkbooks, or credit cards unless they are going to be used at that time.

k)      Carry your keys in your hand or pocket, keep them handy. If your purse is taken you wonít lose them.

l)        Carry enough change in your pocket to enable you to make an emergency call. Cell phones are great as long as they are not in your purse.

m)    Be aware of the person who crowds you in a group, he may be a pickpocket.

n)      Men should carry their wallet in an inside front pocket when wearing a jacket. If a wallet is kept in a rear pants pocket, button that pocket and check often to see that your wallet is still with you, especially if you are in a crowded area.

o)      Never leave your purse on counters or in grocery carts.

p)      Be alert when you enter a public restroom. Donít leave your purse on the restroom floor.

q)      Donít go to the laundry room or laundramat alone.

r)       If you ride the bus sit near the driver if possible.

s)       Young ladies/men do not hitchhike. You have no idea who is going to pick you up or what their intentions are.

t)        Donít stop off and have one drink too many. This will impair your common sense defense.

u)      If you are confronted by an armed criminal, do not hesitate to give him your money, rings, wallet, or whatever he wants. Be observant and get a good description of him.

v)      Remember the decision to fight an unarmed assailant is yours. It depends on the danger involved. Make noise, scream and shout as loud as you can. Use whatever is available as a weapon.

w)    A womenís pocketbook contains many self-defense weapons; a comb into the eyes, keys across the eyes, a brush to the throat, a finger nail file to stab with, scissors as a weapons, etc. 

3)      If you must fight to save your life: 

a)      Choose primary targets; eyes, throat, groin and knees.

b)      Rip, tear, scratch, kick, thrust and hit like a wild animal. Under stress, rage permits the body to become abnormally powerful.

c)      Fight dirty, using bottles, garbage can lids, sticks, etc. Your life may depend on it.

d)      You donít have to be bigger and stronger than the attacker; you just need to know where the vital striking areas are. Man is fallible and is made up of bones and flesh that will break and tear. You have nothing to lose fighting back and much to gain; your life.

e)      Once you have hurt the attacker, get away as fast as you can. 

We live in a society that has conditioned women to submit to attacks, by making them believe they have little or no strength, and thus that women are completely helpless, and are at the mercy of the attacker to do as he pleases. Because of this conditioned response most women will freeze, panic and submit. This dangerous attitude must be changed. By reviewing the previous information, it is my belief that a prepared informative woman has various options and choices to protect herself from harm. 

4)      Donít be a victim of auto theft. An experienced auto theft crew can break into your car in seconds and strip it in a matter of minutes. Here are some tips to keep you and your automobile safe. 

a)      Never leave the ignition key in an unattended car.

b)      Donít leave the engine running while you dash into the store or house.

c)      Donít hide a spare key in the car.

d)      Always lock doors and roll up windows when the car is parked.

e)      Park in well lit and well traveled areas.

f)        Donít leave valuables or packages exposed in a parked car.

g)      When leaving your car in an attended parking lot or garage, leave only your ignition key with the attendant.

h)      Never abandon your car if it breaks down. Carry your cell phone and call for help.

i)        Donít carry car title or leave credit cards in your vehicle.

j)        Carry a car club to lock the steering wheel while it is parked. 

5)      When youíre in the car. 

a)      Donít travel alone at night if you are low on gas or having mechanical problems.

b)      Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up whenever possible.

c)      Be alert at stop signs and traffic lights, or if someone is approaching your car when stopped.

d)      If someone tries to break in, drive away if you can and lay on the horn.

e)      If you believe you are being followed, head for a police or fire station, or some other public place.

f)        Park in secure parking lots and garages, well lit and close to your destination.

g)      Lock packages in your trunk.

h)      Before getting into your vehicle, check to see that it is not occupied.

i)        Have your car keys in your hand for quick entrance.

j)        Look around you as you approach your parked vehicle. Donít go near it if someone is lurking nearby. Go for help.

k)      If someone taps your back bumper with their car, do not stop and get out. Go to a public place such as a gas station.

l)        If your car breaks down.

(1)   Get off the road.

(2)   Turn on your emergency flashers.

(3)   Tie a rag to your antenna or display it outside your rolled up window.

(4)   Lock the doors and wait for help.

(5)   Carry a cell phone with you and call for help.

(6)   Donít get out of the car if someone stops to help unless you feel it is absolutely safe.

m)    When at home.

(1)   Keep emergency numbers near the phone.

(2)   Keep doors locked.

(3)   Use a door peephole or security chain.

(4)   Ask for proper identification of those you are not sure of.

(5)   Never tell anyone that you are alone.

(6)   Females should list their first initial and last name in the phone book.

(7)   Never give out information over the phone of who is home.

(8)   Keep a phone near or in the bedroom in case someone breaks into your home.

(9)   Keep shades and curtains closed at night.

(10)  Never change clothes in front of a window.

(11)  Vary your daily routine of going out and coming home.

(12)  Have a plan of escape should an emergency occur in your house and you need to get out fast.

(13)  Donít hide a house key under doormats.

(14)  Have door locks changed if your keys are lost or stolen.

(15)   Have a neighbor keep an eye on your house and return the favor and do the same for him.

(16)  Keep your garage door locked at all times.

(17)  Never plant tall shrubs near windows or basement entrances. They make good concealment for intruders.

(18)  Keep all outside ladders locked up. Best yet, store them in a garage or shed.

(19)  Make your home look occupied.

(a)    Use a timer to turn lights or a radio on.

(b)   Install outside light sensors that will come on if anyone walks by. The more lights the better.

(c)    Let someone know when you are going on a trip, when you are leaving and when you will be back, and an emergency phone number where you can be reached. Take your cell phone with you.

(d)   Cancel your newspaper delivery while you are away.

(e)    Have your neighbor collect your mail when you are on a trip or vacation.

(f)     If you have a second car, park it as close to your house as possible.

(g)    Put safety locks on all windows to make them secure from intruders, but easy to get out from inside in case of fire.

(h)    Put a security bar on inside of sliding glass doors along with a normal lock.

(i)      If for some reason your door hinges are located on the outside, install non-removable hinge pins.

(j)     Install dead bolt locks on all exterior doors.

(k)   If you come home and believe an intruder is inside, do not enter. Call the police and let them go inside first.

(l)      Install a burglar alarm

n)      More personal safety tips. 

(1)   Treat credit cards like cash, donít flash them in public.

(2)   Use ATMs that are located in secure places. Take a friend with you. Donít use them at night.

(3)   Donít be intimidated by strangers. Act confident, speak boldly, and walk briskly.

(4)   Be alert to people and things around you. Trust your inner feelings. If you feel something is wrong, it usually is.

(5)   If an attack occurs, run, scream, blow a whistle, or act crazy.

(6)   Never work late at the office by yourself. Leave with a co-worker or have someone pick you up.

(7)   Avoid lonely, unsecured parking lots and garages.

(8)   Avoid using deserted or isolated stairways.

(9)   Do not enter elevators if you feel uncomfortable with the person on board with you.

(10)  Keep a flashlight, map, flares, a blanket and a first aid kit in your car for emergencies. 

Conclusion. 

            Prevention and safe protection are crucial. When danger occurs it is too late to decide how to protect yourself. Take responsibility for your own personal safety. Be aware of when and where you are vulnerable at home, in the car, or on the street. Always be watchful for dangerous situations. The object of self awareness / common sense self defense is not to be jumpy or always on edge, but to be prepared, pre-planned and to live with an air of confidence.

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