Options When Feeling Apprehensive While Walking
Part 2 of 6 X 10 Walking Safety Tips
Once your intuition triggers an alarm, start assessing your options and immediately move toward a safer location. You may not see the threat, but it is there. Don’t wait and see what happens next, trust your intuition. Other times you may recognize suspicious behavior.
In most cases, the places we go to and from are habitual, so, as you go about your daily activities assess locations as options for safety. If you are in a new area, the unfamiliarity can be distracting when preparing for a potential threat. Apprehension and anxiety elevates when not knowing where safer locations are. Acknowledge the distraction, take a breath as you assess for options.
1) Go back inside if you sense danger. Reassess your situation. You may not see what is making you feel alarmed or in danger. Did you see someone or something unusual or suspicious you didn’t consciously see at first? What has been occruing in the area? Are you in a location to call for escort, security, or police?
Going back inside the building from where you were leaving may be inconvenient and time consuming, but it is safer in the end. If you deny your intuitive feelings, time and convenience may be your last concern.
2) When back inside, re-assess the other pre-planning preparation tactics (Part 1 in Walking Safety Series) of what you are carrying, and other possible options. Can you secure your items for a short while and comeback with assistance or overwatch to get your belongings?
Assess your footwear and attire for the area and your attire and how it may affect your options regarding footing, balance and maneuvering.
Prepare any self-protection item. There are many pros and cons for weapons, gismos and gadgets, and will be discussed in a later section on Walking Safely.
3) Can you leave later and maybe the threat will move along? Not ideal, especially if you must go to work, pickup others, have other appointments. Is it better if you call for a rideshare, or taxi? If you are walking to your vehicle, can you walk with others?
4) Prepare your safety app on your phone. The time it takes to look down and activate the phone, could be the time an assailant needs to close the distance while you are distracted. Safety apps do not solve your immediate problem of dealing with the threat. If you have it ready beforehand, some apps may be able to draw assistance sooner.
5) If unable to return to your start point, assess the closest places that you can move toward that are safer. Are there open businesses along your route where you can go? Move away from being isolated and toward open areas. Move toward crowded areas.
6) Can you alter your route? Possibly backtrack and go around to the next block. However, do you know the area and certain you won’t be going into an isolated area.
7) Determine what items you are carry that are essential. The generalized walking safety recommendation to “keep your hands free” may not be realistic as there is a reason we are carrying an item(s). Instead, if you are already walking, consider your options of what you may do with your items if confronted with danger. Such as drop what you are carrying and deal with the threat, or toss it at the face of the assailant and run to safety. Having predetermined assessment of what is important and what is not will give you faster assessment of options regarding what you may do with your items if threatened. You will have faster reaction time when necessary.
If you have a purse of backpack. A backpack may allow you to free both hands, but depending on what you have in the backpack can impair your balance and can be grabbed to take you to the ground, or be the target of theft or robbery. A purse is personal and psychologically impairing thought process and effective behavior if threatened.
8) Assess your options for assistance. If you feel there is a threat, is there local security available? If you are a student, is there a campus escort service available? Consider calling the police as a last resort if security is unavailable, or others are fearful to provide escort. You may have to wait a while in a safe location for the police to respond to check the area. Provide the police with a detailed description of the person who is making you feel threatened or anxious. You can request the patrol officer stand by while you get to your car or move past the area.
Call a family member or friend before you start again to let them know your destination and your estimated time of arrival. Staying on the phone with them may provide comfort, but may be a distraction that degrades your option assessment and reaction time. Someone on the phone cannot help you if threatened.
9) Are there neighbors who are usually home or likely to wake up if you knocked on their door or rang the doorbell? Are there signs that someone is home? Apartment buildings and industrial complexes have less options.
10) If you feel threatened, call the police and request the emergency operator not transfer you if you are on a jurisdictional border to prevent being disconnected, put on hold because lines are busy, or the call drops. Ask the operator if they will relay your location while you move to safety to the responding jurisdiction. If you must respond to the threat, it is also important that the operator be able to listen to what may be going on in the background. Pocket your cell phone so you are not distracted.
The phrase “Walk confidently” is a meaningless buzzword. You can try to fake it, but confidence comes from the inside, not something you put on. It comes from life experiences. Model Mugging Basic Courses allow you to gain experiences in an adrenalized situation, similarly to walking and feeling the hair on the back of your neck stand up because of the fear you feel. Model Mugging courses show you how to channel that fear into personal safety.
Walking Safety Series Future Crime Prevention Tips
1. Walking Safely – Ten Preparations
2. Options when apprehensive
3. Maneuver Hiding Places
4. Being Followed
5. Exercise and Walking
6. Confronted with Danger