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The Complete Guide on How to Protect
Yourself from Violent Crime

Did you know that most crimes in the United States aren't reported to the police?

Pick pocketing sometimes feels like a fruitless thing to report to the police, especially if you didn't see the perpetrator. Some crimes can be more dangerous though—even fatal.

It is possible to avoid violent crime. Having 911 on speed dial is important, but there's more when it comes to knowing how to protect yourself against violent crime.

If you want to know how to be a more aware and physically prepared individual and avoid being a victim of violent crime, check out our 5 tips below...

1. Be Prepared for Any Situation

You can't avoid going out into the real world just because you fear being a victim of a violent crime. It's important to know how to handle situations wherever you are.

Parking Lots
Grocery store parking lots are a popular site for violent crime. Why?

Well, it's very easy to catch someone off guard if they are juggling four grocery bags while also trying to find their car keys in their pocket. When you're leaving the store, make sure you have your keys ready to go.

If you're pushing a cart, don't leave any purse or wallet in the child's seat of the cart. Sure, it's convenient, but it makes it easy for someone to do a grab-and-go.

Make eye contact with people as you cross the parking lot. This helps you avoid looking vulnerable. If anyone does tip off your radar, return to the store to see if they will follow you, and don't be embarrassed to ask for an escort out to your car!

While Driving
Driving requires a lot of focus, so you might not think about the possibility of violent crime while you're in the car. It's smart to be alert though even when you're on the open road.

Always keep your doors locked. You never know when someone may attempt an attack when you're pulled up at a stop sign or traffic light. If someone approaches your car to talk to you, speak with them through the glass instead of rolling down your car window—the latter creates an easy entrance.

At the Park
Have you ever gone to a public park that just feels a little...creepy? It's happened to all of us, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a day out at any public park!

Plus, anyone with children knows that a park is the perfect place to keep kids entertained. How can you prevent violent crime at the park?

Plan any playdates or park trips accordingly. If you know other parents who take their kids to the park, see if they want to plan a group trip.

Otherwise, if you're going to the park solo, see if you have any friends who might want to become walking buddies. You'll have power in numbers, and two sets of eyes are better than one!

2. Staying Aware

One of the most important things for learning how to protect yourself against violent crime is developing situational awareness.

It's easier to target a victim in low-lit areas where there aren't many other people walking around. Avoiding areas like alleys and keeping your guard up when you're walking alone is important.

Don't listen to music if you're out walking. If an assailant is pursuing you, you might not hear them approaching.

Remember when your parents used to preach stranger danger when you were younger? There's definitely some truth to that. Be cautious when accepting any help from strangers or revealing personal information to them.

3. How to Protect Yourself with Weapons

Weapons can be handy for protecting yourself against violent crime. While this should only be used as a last resort, it's wise to be armed when you're out alone.

Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is often used as a gag in movies and TV shows, but it's very effective in real life. The main ingredient in pepper spray is cayenne pepper, which can make skin itchy and burn. The effects when sprayed directly in the eyes are even more extreme.

Purchase a pepper spray that contains UV dye if possible. Not only will it deter the perpetrator, but it will also identify them if the police are alerted and search the area.

Always make sure it's legal to carry pepper spray in your state and that you are purchasing pepper spray with a legal concentration (some are more intense than others). Pepper spray can be purchased online or in stores, and it makes a good weapon to keep in your bag or attach to a purse.

Firearms
If you feel very uneasy where you live, consider purchasing a firearm. They are definitely something you need to be more experienced with, but these Volquartsen firearms can help you feel safe and secure.

Before purchasing any gun, be mindful that you need a license to carry firearms, and not all states have open carry policies. Also, learn the best methods for defending yourself with a gun. Even if you feel safe, you might not know the full situation, so it's best to deliver a non-fatal shot and call the police to further handle it.

Knives
Knives are an easy thing to keep in your purse or pocket when you're out. Like guns, states have different carrying policies for knives, so be mindful of that.

There are a lot of knife styles to choose from, and knives are typically more easily concealed than guns. You will also want to take into account how easy it will be to draw the knife when you choose one. Fixed blade knives are easier to use, but folding knives are more easily concealed.

Knives can make self-defense difficult though because if the sight of it alone doesn't deter your attacker, then you need to be pretty close to use it against them.

Martial Arts
Knowledge of martial arts isn't a tangible weapon, but it's a smart way to weaponize yourself. The study of any martial art will teach you not only how to defend yourself, but how best to anticipate attacks and a perpetrator's next move.

Learning a martial art is also a good way to boost your confidence. If you know you can defend yourself, your body language will express that. This will make you appear less of a target.

4. Build a Support Network to Stay Safe

There's nothing better than having a group of people you can count on who care about your well-being. Building a support network is important for anyone committed to protecting themselves against violent crime.

If you're going out alone, always tell someone—the location, how long you'll be gone, and if you're meeting up with anyone during your outing.

There are several apps that can help you build up safety measures. One keeper is Kitestring. Kitestring allows you to enter a list of emergency contacts. Then, when you're going out, Kitestring will ask you when the app should check up on you—anywhere from 15 minutes from your start time to 12 hours.

If you don't reply when Kitestring sends you the checkup alert, they will send out an automatic text to your emergency contacts to alert them you may be in an unsafe situation. It's a good way to make sure you'll always have someone looking out for you!

If you are friendly with some of your neighbors, consider creating a community of neighbors who can approach each other if they are feeling unsafe. Even if you're a block away from home, it's nice to know you can duck into a neighbor's home and wait it out if you're feeling uneasy or rattled from an incident.

5. Keep Your Valuables Stowed Away

If you just bought a brand new wallet or handbag, you might be tempted to show it off. But if you're walking alone, it's smart to be more conservative with your valuables.

Flashing anything worth a bit of money makes you an easy target. The perpetrator already knows you have something worth stealing—now they just have to catch you off guard long enough to snatch it, and that might mean striking with a violent attack.

If you're bringing valuable items with you in your car, make sure they are out of view. Put your phone and wallet in your pockets and tuck any visible bags underneath the seat or in the glove box.

Stay Alert
No one can always be 100% vigilant, but do your best to be prepared and exercise street smarts when you go out. Violent crime can happen to anyone, but you can deter it by not looking like a victim and staying alert.

Following the tips above on how to protect yourself can help you achieve that and keep you as safe as possible!

Check out the rest of our website for more information and articles on self-care and personal growth!

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