Lack of awareness is the number one reason for assault. Some statistics have it at about one in 10 property crimes occur in parking lots or underground garages. If you look at the statistics, roughly 80 percent of the criminal acts at shopping centres, strip malls, universities and business offices occur in the parking lot of these facilities.
What self defence techniques can you use to protect yourself and your family from becoming a victim? This is the part where you are getting ready for me to sell you on the benefits of karate. Of course I think it would be great for you to take five years of martial arts training to enable you to fend off just about any would be attacker. This however is the free lesson that is going to teach you the number one self defence technique that should be common sense. Awareness!
How many times have you seen a young person, male or female walking at night absorbed in a cell phone conversation? Or even worse, headphones and some type of MP player blasting music into their heads, they have completely blanked out the world. And not necessarily young people, I’ve seen many people of all ages totally unaware of their surroundings. They are living dangerously.
Here are some ideas that can keep you safe when you are leaving a building, heading home on foot, or going to your vehicle in a parking lot or parking garage.
1. ) As soon as you exit the building scan your immediate surroundings and the area(s) between
you and your vehicle or your path home. Look for anything unusual or anyone out of place.
2.) Do not use your cell phone, do not have any music devices operating, no headphones. Any calls can wait until you are safely in your vehicle.
3.) You should already have the correct key in your hand that unlocks your vehicle. Not a handful of keys, just the one you need. Keep your other hand as free as possible.
4.) Walk along with or near someone else when possible for as far as you can. If this is night time, is the street light near your vehicle out? If so be cautious.
5.) As you’re walking stay focused on the areas around you and near your vehicle.
6.) As soon as possible walk in a direction that allows you to see underneath your vehicle from a safe distance. This will let you see the feet of someone crouched down behind your vehicle.
7.) Does your vehicle appear to have a flat tire, always check as best you can from a distance. It helps to know this before you actually get there. You will not be as likely to lose focus because you’re surprised and upset.
This is a well documented tactic used by criminals that we tend to overlook.
8.) When you reach your vehicle with the key already in your hand do not fiddle around at all. Unlock the car quickly (remote key fobs are really great for this). Get you and your stuff in the car as quickly as possible.
9.) Start up the vehicle, most modern vehicles have auto locks that engage as soon as you put the car in drive, in other vehicles lock the doors of your vehicle as soon as you enter. Leave the area immediately. Straighten up whatever you have to later, use your hands free phone later in a busier location.
10.) If you do see a stranger too close to your vehicle, do not engage with them, walk to a safer location (back into the building) get someone else to approach them with you or call security or the police depending on the situation and your location.
There you have some of the basics for self defence using awareness, staying focused and utilizing common sense procedures. Many of these points are related to getting safely to your vehicle. If you are walking many of these same points are relevant. The main point is awareness, know your surroundings, use your instincts and stay in well lit populated areas.
I hope you found some of these ideas helpful. Next lesson we will look at point number 2 in our list of Top Ten Self Defence techniques.
Contributed by Paul J. Youngman