Walking Safely – Ten Preparations

Part 1: Walking Safety Crime Prevention Series

Walking Safely – Ten Preparations

“When we search for the beauty in life, the ugliness noticeably stands out.”

With thoughtful consideration, there are actions we can take to start off safer when walking, whether it is a short walk to the vehicle, the subway or train, parking lot or garage, to a longer walk when exercising, enjoying recreation, or sight-seeing.

Although safety considerations must focus on a potentially harmful event, this series on Walking Safety will focus on the search for beauty. We should NOT let criminals ruin the joys we may find in life!

1. Search For Beauty In Life
We can discover the beauty in our environment by expanding our mind with safety information. Implementing safety tips allow us freedom from fear. Ironically, learning how to harness the benefits of fear, we can find even more beauty in life.

(Sarah – Model Mugging Graduate)

      “Before I took Model Mugging, I spent most of my life in hyper awareness, conscious of all the possible danger around me, fearful and not enjoying life much at all, especially walking. Street thugs always let me know what they wanted to do to me, even when I was wearing baggy sweats with a hoodie on purpose.
      I immersed myself in the martial arts, in self defense. My mind geared toward fighting all the time, became my normal state of mind. Not good. Overall, I did not feel prepared, and instead I felt panicked and it clouded my mind.
      We want to be loving, caring people in our daily lives. But, if we cross paths with evil, we can respond with avoidance, deterrence and if necessary use force to defend ourselves or others. We can find consonance between these two ideas, that I am a loving caring person, and I am willing to fight for myself and those I love if I need to.”


Opening 360 degree awareness to beauty, you allow your eyes and ears to be more aware of your surroundings.

2. Pre-Plan Your Trips
Pre-planning trip activities reduces your risk of being targeted for an attack, such as robbery, theft, battery, or sexual assault.

Moving about after dark and in areas with fewer people increases risks, so plan to avoid that if you can. However, realistically there will come times when we need to move around at night or in empty areas. At these times it will be even more important to plan ahead.

Pre-program your directions before leaving your location, so you are not distracted by typing into your phone or searching for street signs while you are walking to your intended destination. Take into consideration that satellite imagery may not be accurate depending on when it was last updated.

Criminals tend to target people who appear nervous and unsure of their surroundings. Take a few extra minutes before you head out to plan your route and identify your destination, especially in areas you have never been before.

3. Consider What You Must Wear
Footwear: If you must wear dress shoes, consider wearing walking or running shoes to your destination while carrying your dress shoes in a backpack. This will give you better traction in case you need to move quickly or navigate slippery surfaces.

Clothing: Consider your clothing for the location you are visiting. Can you move freely or does your attire restrict your movements? Does the color and style stand out. The idea is to blend into the environment and not draw attention when walking.

4. What Must You Bring
Do you need to carry a laptop, work files, sales materials, or school books that may weight you down? If so, consider how to carry the items for better mobility allowing faster movement. Also consider what would you do with the items if you had to defend yourself?

If you must take heavier items, can someone help you carry them? Consider a rideshare or taxi to and from the location to reduce your vulnerability as cumbersome bags are a mental and physical distraction from the awareness of potential threats. Politely ask if the rideshare driver will wait until you safely reach your door with your bags. A folding cart may work well for grocery runs or other items and cab be used as a barrier, ramming device, or easily dropped if you must defend yourself.

Always prepare for the loss of items that you carry in the event of a theft or robbery. Is your electronic devices password protected, software data backed up, and are the files or paperwork copied/scanned? Assess what valuables you need and how should you carry them. Can you conceal them under your clothing, inside a purse or backpack, etc.? Avoid taking “flashy items” of perceived wealth, such as expensive jewelry, designer items, and limit your cash.

Consider wearing reflective clothing when walking in areas with more vehicle traffic to become more visible to drivers of vehicles and bicycles at night, especially at dawn and dusk. A flashlight or headlight can also be a warning of your presence to drivers. Always be wary of passing vehicles, which becomes harder with the increase in electric vehicles. Remain cautious of drunk drivers that is more common at night, because drunk drivers may veer toward your light.

Tools for walking: One of the best items for walking is a flashlight or torch. Do not rely on the cell phone light. Having a pocket or belt clip for both items provides you more options and faster response if needed. Place the clips in front along your stomach area and not on your hip that might inhibit your mobility in the event you must defend yourself on the ground.

If you walk a lot at night, a flashlight with a strobe light enhancement option for your flashlight is beneficial. The flashlight may be used to temporarily blind a threatening individual to improve your defensive options. Illuminating dark areas and shadows can prevent being surprised by criminals lying in wait. A key-chain light is another option, select one that is easy to turn on and off without having to look at it.

Overusing a flashlight prevents your vision from becoming accustomed to the darkness, which allows an assailant to approach you undetected from an area outside the illumination cone. Don’t rely on the flashlight as a crutch for visual dependency. Even though you are safer from being struck by a vehicle, you are also illuminated as an identifiable target for criminals both on foot and in vehicles. When necessary, use your flashlight for sporadic visual safety, and as a warning signal to passing vehicles.

Defensive gadgets, or pepper spray, have pros and cons when carrying for self defense. However, knowing how to use your personal weapons cannot be underestimated in projecting confidence, which decrease the likelihood you will be targeted.

5. Walk in a Group Whenever Possible
When possible walk with others when leaving work, study groups, or using an out of sight restroom. Walking with others offers more eyes and ears, while also puts a doubt in a criminal’s mind to attack because others would likely intervene if they attacked someone from the group. At night consider asking for an escort or wait for other people to leave the building when going to parking structures or parking lots, and transit stations. Ensure everyone safely gets to their car and drives off together, so no one is left stranded, especially after it has gotten dark or deserted. Assess your location for additional transportation options or  people who might be willing to take a couple minutes and give you a short escort. However, also consider their safe return alone.

It is not always convenient to wait for others to leave or arrive. Also, just because someone is with you, does not mean they will not freeze in fear that increases the vulnerability within a situation and impairs everyone’s safety. When walking with others and engaging in conversation, it is often harder to maintain a 360 degree environmental awareness.

6. Reduce Distractions
Stay off your phone while walking. The most common distraction when walking is the cell (mobile) phone due to talking, listening to music or podcasts, etc. because visual and auditory awareness suffer making you more vulnerable to being surprised.

Don’t wear earbuds while walking. Earbuds are a sensory depriver, which takes away your sense of hearing and your focus from recognizing danger. Walking with a cell phone with earbuds or headphones on is dangerous, not only for being struck by a vehicle, but being attacked by surprise.

Assess how backpacks and purses may become a distraction for you if threatened. Decide whether you absolutely must have them on your walk because they may be targeted for robbery. Additionally, purses prevent you from keeping your hands free, straps may assist, but what and how much you carry effects your options. Backpacks allow freedom of hands but reduce your balance and maneuvering during a threat.

Safety gadgets and weapons are not always practical and should not be a crutch relied upon for personal safety. They also require proficiency in the use of the gadget when under stress, If not, the chances that you may use it effectively when attacked are reduced. If you are not proficient in using your gismo or gadget, it becomes ineffective during an attack. Similarly to other safety devices, a whistle, or pull-cord noise making alarm may also be used to attract attention, and possibly startle an assailant or a robber. Further, if you have not practiced using these tools while under stress, you are unlikely to do so if actually threatened.

7. Always Be Ready – Keep Your Hands Free
Except for a flashlight, keep your hands free. If you are carrying anything, put it all in one bag or backpack. This will make it easier for you to react if you notice someone following you. In a dangerous situation, carrying bags can keep you from moving as quickly.

When carrying bags, even if both hands are full, place the key or fob resting over the index finger so you do not need to dig through pockets or your purse, or put your bags down upon reaching your door, especially when carrying multiple or bulky items.

Key Knife

Key Knife Position

Carry keys or fob in the dominant hand for faster entry into a vehicle. Keys may naturally be used for self-defense as an improvised weapon when held in a key knife position.

Keep your hands as free as possible when approaching the door. Avoid fumbling with multiple keys on a key ring at the door. Consider using textured, shaped, and colored plastic key wrappings for quicker key recognition and entry. Your deadbolt and door handle locks should be keyed the same way for quicker entry instead of searching for the next key. If the porch or doorway light is not on, a mini-flashlight attached to a key chain can assist you in quickly finding the right key and quickly inserting into it into the keyhole. Consider a number pad combination or biometric locks that use finger recognition to unlock the house door.

8. Cell or Mobile Phones
a. A cell phone is a tool with many safety applications, but don’t rely on them for personal safety. You may be in a poor reception area, battery is low or dead, an assailant may take your phone in a theft or robbery, even break it to prevent you from using it. Cell phone​s requires fine muscle movements, ​which when frightened could cause difficulty to operate when frightened with adrenaline flowing through your body. You also may not have much time when threatened with danger. Most commonly, cell phones are a detriment to environmental awareness that result in tunnel vision, causing you to neglect safety precautions when focused on the tiny screen, a form of tunnel vision.

b. Set an alarm to remind yourself to charge your battery before you are supposed to leave.

c. Add preset phone numbers for local law enforcement, security company, family, distress app, or others  who can help you quickly in areas you commonly visit.

d. Don’t rely on a smart watch as a communication device.

e. Activate cell phone location app, tracking, or local alert notification app. If you are attacked, or abducted, your phone is likely to be dropped, but people can start to look for you from you last known location.

9. Listen to Your Intuition
Let your spirit assess others around you in the vicinity no matter what time of night or day. Be sensitive to body language of people moving about, watching others and possible locations where predators maybe lurking or idling behind buildings, bushes, pillars, walls, etc.

You may not recognize the danger signs directly, but you can feel unseen danger. You may recognize an uneasy feeling inside you. Trust this radar/awareness sensor. Immediately start moving to a safer position or location. Don’t attempt to rationalize it away. Trust your spirit and immediately look for options to move toward a safer place.

     “I was 20 years old and cocktailing. I was about a mile away from my apartment complex. For whatever reason, I actually felt like a person was following me. But I thought, I was just being paranoid.
     When I get home on this particular night the gates were not working. They were wide open so anyone could walk in and out. I drove into my apartment complex and I parked. When I got out of my car, I saw a man walking from the gate. It was scary, because I was thinking maybe he’s going to follow me, but he could be one of the tenants that live here too. People coming home late from the bar, I’m not going to be paranoid about it, I’m just going to my apartment.
     Just as I walked behind this wall, suddenly, I heard running. And when I turned around and looked, the same guy comes around the corner, rams me. I go back flying, hit the back of my head. Luckily, I wasn’t knocked out, and I see the man hovering towards me. And I’m thinking, ‘this guy’s going to take off his pants, get in between my legs, and rape me.’ I’m wearing a dress at the time. He starts trying to grab at me, I’m flailing and yelling, “Get away from me.” But there was a moment, I paused, and he grabbed in between my legs, and ran away.”

The woman’s account shows how she intuitively recognized recognized the above predator’s intentions that he leaked from his body language, even while she drove home and he had followed her, but she did not listen to her intuition, and instead rationalized it away.

10. Confidence vs. Fearfulness
Confidence and fear come from the spirit. Both, confidence and fear are natural reactions from life’s experiences, knowledge, background, and training. Confidence is often derived from positive and successful experiences, while fear often occurs when there is a gap in knowledge how to deal with a possible negative situation or from negative and painful experiences.

Criminals recognize individuals who are in fear. They usually pass by those who demonstrate the appearance or aura of confidence. However, sometimes even with the aura of confidence glowing from your inner being, predators may assault you for a variety of reasons because you might have other traits that fit a criminal’s desired victim criteria.

Graduates of Model Mugging naturally walk differently after they graduate. Their understanding of predator tactics that provides a stronger awareness and more accurate situational assessment for faster recognition of potentially threatening individuals. Overall, their spirit radiates more confidence gained through personal fighting experiences of their Model Mugging course. The energy of confidence flows outward from the body while the head is scanning and making eye contact.

Personal and situational assessments can enhance our safety. Model Mugging skills provide a realistic pool of options when defending yourself, but most importantly how to avoid danger, which is always the best self-care, planning for for personal safety and preparation for self-defense. Those who are prepared to realistically defend themselves rarely have to use their skills.

Model Mugging gives graduates draws out confidence while walking that enhances the the “search for the beauty in life”, because the “ugliness more noticeably stands out”. We want to be aware of our surroundings and the realities of danger, but without living in fear. We want to recognize when ugliness of danger arises, avoid it, and then resume our search for beauty.


Walking Safety Series

Walking Safety Series Future Crime Prevention Tips

2. Options when apprehensive
3. Maneuver Hiding Places
4. Being Followed
5. Exercise and Walking
6. Confronted with Danger


Join our Contact List or Like us on Facebook to be notified of the next crime prevention post for various safety tips and crime prevention strategies in the following crime safety categories:

Awareness for Crime Prevention

Crimes Within Relationships

Protecting Children

Personal Safety

Home Safety

Vehicle Safety

Travel Safety

Like us on Facebook