People do it all the time- walking alone. Many people walk to work, to the bus stop, to school, and around campus, as well as all around town. Several people don’t think twice about walking anywhere alone, night or day. Many runners and walkers also go out on their own. There is always risk when anyone walks anywhere alone. The risk gets higher if the area has high crime statistics, or it’s dark outside. Even wealthy suburban towns may look safe, but there is always risk when you are walking or jogging alone.
When my wife was a child living in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, she had three different traumatic situations occur with cars following her when she walked home from school. One man tried to get her in his car. This was a small town with little crime. Never assume you are safe, simply because the town you are walking in ‘looks safe’. Criminals can be found anywhere, and anyone who walks alone at all needs to be prepared to defend yourself against any possible attacks.
Your safety is the number 1 priority, when you are walking alone. Students who walk on campus need to educate themselves on how to stay safe. Parents who walk around their neighborhood with their little kids need to equip themselves on safety strategies as well. Whether you are out alone for a short period of time simply getting from one place to another, or you are on a long walk or run, you need to protect yourself and learn how to be better equipped to handle any unforeseen attack.
Many people have financial plans, college plans, and career goals, but don’t think about safety plans to ensure they are protected. This should be the number thing to consider for you and your loved ones, friends, and family. Any type of assault or theft will leave damaging trauma to your physical body, but also to your mental health. It’s imperative that you look into how to better protect yourself in any circumstance that proves to be dangerous, and being out alone certainly brings risk to your safety.
You need to be educated with the knowledge on how to protect yourself and stay safe. You also need information about various weapons you can choose to own and use to arm yourself in case of an attack.
First, Let’s Make a Plan
Think about all the places you walk by yourself. Now let’s go through these important questions for you to answer, so we can put specific safety strategies in place.
- Are you wearing headphones when walking or jogging?
These are great to help motivate you while you are exercising, but they are a distraction. You can’t hear if someone is coming at you from behind. You have become a target, because criminals will look for people who are distracted because they won’t be prepared to fight back when attacked.
- Do you day dream as you walk?
This is another distraction that will leave you vulnerable to an attack for the same reason. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you won’t be prepared to defend yourself against an attack.
- While you walk do you look around at your surroundings paying close attention to who is near you?
This is an effective safety strategy you need to practice every time you are out walking/running alone. Keep an eye on the people you pass, the on goings around you, and if you sense danger, you need to leave the scene immediately.
- Does anyone near you look odd or is staring at you in a creepy way?
As you practice the safety strategy of being aware of your surroundings, make sure you tune into the people around you. If you see someone who looks threatening or if your danger radar (your gut instinct) goes off, then you need to move quickly to a safe location.
- What do you have on you that can be used as a weapon like a knife, pepper spray, kubotan, keys, Etc?
Do you carry any type of self-defense weapon? If not, what can you use on your person for self- defense? Think through this carefully and have these things accessible anytime you walk alone.
- What do you carry with you a purse, backpack or a handbag?
Whatever you are carrying with you, make sure to have it tightly attached to your person, so no one can grab it and run. Also have it visible to you, not behind you where you can’t keep an eye on it. (For example: Shift your backpack to your front or side, instead of on your back.)
- Have you ever considered taking a safer route if walking a route that is more risky?
Perhaps you cut through more isolated areas to get to where you’re going faster- like wooded areas, back roads or alleys. Consider taking the time to stay on more exposed terrain that is safer. The more crowded your surroundings, the better chance you have of lowering your risk of any danger.
- Can friends walk with you?
Can you ask a friend to walk with you, instead of walking alone? Being with another person lowers your chances of an attack.
You need to really look at these questions to start to formulate a plan to make your walks safer.
Walking Home Safely
We need to consider some ways you can stay safe when walking home alone at night or even during the day. Let’s look at some safety suggestions you can put into place to keep you protected:
- ALWAYS stay alert and aware of your surroundings, when you are walking anywhere alone.
- If possible, walk with a friend.
- Hold your purse, backpack, wallet, any belongings close to your body and in sight.
- If possible, taxi or Uber where you need to go.
- Never take your route through back roads, alleys, or cut through wooded areas away from public view.
- If you sense danger or see someone approaching who looks threatening, move quickly to a safe location or find anyone and tell them you don’t feel safe. You can also call 911 immediately, to ensure your protection.
- Carry a small weapon with you to use in self-defense if needed. Let’s look at your weapon options:
Carry Pepper Spray with you
Get out the pepper spray with your finger on the trigger and the safety off. If someone comes up to you quickly you will not have time to pull out the pepper spray to use it. Have it out and ready for anything that could happen.
Keep a knife in your purse or pocket
You can carry a knife to use in a dangerous situation if you are ever attacked. I know most people are not familiar with using a knife for self-defense. You can go to this article on our site that explains in detail proper knife usage, if you are interested in learning more.
Carry a Taser or Stun Gun
You need to make sure these are legal in your state before carrying one around. These weapons are effective in disabling almost all attackers for you to quickly escape. You have to be carrying it with you and have it ready to use when you are walking. Just hold it in your hand while making sure the safety features are off. Do not walk around with it in your purse or pocket because you will not be able to get it out quick enough to use if you are attacked.
Carry a concealed gun
A gun makes a great self-defense weapon. If you want to carry it around with you while walking anywhere alone, then you need a concealed carry permit. I would also make sure you do the training necessary to know how to use a gun.
Use a panic alert on your cell phone
Phones now have the panic alerts on them that can be activated quickly. You can get these apps loaded to your phone.
- Watch Over Me
- React Mobile
Use an App to track your location
You can also load any of these apps so you can be tracked if you were abducted or even lost hiking.
- I’m Getting Kidnapped
- Family GPS Locator
I am not recommending any of the apps above, but just giving some examples. You need to go look at reviews on each of these products to see what will best fit your family needs.
These apps will not stop an attack but they would be helpful to track you or alert friends you are in trouble. I watched a show on TV called I Shouldn’t be Alive which are true stories. A woman was abducted on the show and she used texting to contact her boyfriend saying she was kidnapped. He used his phone to locate where she was because they both had set up the app on their phones. Using that app, the police in the next state were able to locate her and arrest the abductor. She was found and saved because the app worked like it should.
Take Self-Defense classes
It’s a great idea to take a class to learn how to fight back to stop someone from attacking you. I would still carry one of the many self-defense weapons above with you even if you know how to fight back. You could have a few attackers come at you, so fighting off more than one person is tough for anyone. Carrying a weapon plus having self-defense training really helps with confidence and knowing what to do. Here are the best self-defense training systems based on our experiences.
- JiuJitsu – Learn this first if you can the best training system to be able to stop larger attackers.
- Krav Maga – This was created for Israel security forces and has gotten really popular for people to learn self-defense.
- MMA – I know this is not where most people go to learn self-defense. I trained in an MMA gym for 3 years in my 40’s and those guys could seriously hurt anyone who attacked them. If you have seen MMA matches, would you pick a fight with any of them?
- Muay Thai – I have trained in Muay Thai and the elbow plus knee strikes are devastating if you learn how to do them correctly.
There are many more options that would be good to mention but I wanted to only give the top 4 I am familiar with from my own training. If you want to learn self-defense online instead of going to a school, we recommend this online training course that I put together with some expert fighters.
I hope we have opened you up to the world of protecting yourself while walking alone. If you put into action just a few of the safety strategies we mentioned above, you will safer while walking alone. We want you to be safe all the times, but you must be informed and prepared in order to protect yourself at all times, when walking alone.
My Altering Course Story
I had just dropped my son off at his indoor soccer practice. I went to a convenient store not far from the soccer place to get an iced tea. When I pulled in to the store, I parked on the opposite side of the entrance since there were no available spots in front of the store. I looked out my rear view mirror to see a big young guy standing by the entrance to the door. I just sat in the car waiting for that guy to leave the entrance area. Instead of him walking away, he began walking right towards my car and my driver side door. This is why you need to be aware of what is going on around you. I locked my doors and turned on the car, then backed up to leave. This guy was probably coming up to me to ask for money, but why take the chance. He turned around walking back to the entrance. I did not need the iced tea, and I knew it would be safer to avoid the situation.
Please make sure to review all this information so you can stay safe out there.