Personal security is something that will vary from person to person. Some people will be uncomfortable and looking for threats in any social interaction, while others will stumble blissfully ignorant into the middle of a gang war with no second thought.
Everyone (including the blissfully ignorant) should constantly work on the improvement of their personal security, without making the trip into the wilderness of paranoia.
Just a few main points to be aware of anytime you are out in public will help you maintain a reasonable sense of being secure from violence to your person.
There are several layers to your personal security. They start on the edge of your perception and move closer to your body with the threat increasing with each layer.
If you can learn to be aware of these layers as you go about your day and occasionally play the “what if” game” (for example what if a gunman comes through the door while I am enjoying my morning mocha in the coffee shop?) and decide what your best course of action is, you will be several steps ahead of the average person.
Situational awareness is simply being aware of what is going on around you. So many people in this day and age go around with their noses glued to a tiny screen. So much so that they walk into fountains, trees, and traffic.
Paying attention to those around you with the potential to cause you harm is just basic security. Look for people who don’t belong. People who are dressed different, who are acting different, or seem out of place in any way.
We are told we can’t judge people but you are constantly making judgements based on the tiniest clues. There is nothing wrong with watching out for someone who is wearing a heavy coat in hot weather. They may just have the chills, but they also may have a shotgun tucked away under it.
Be watchful but don’t get zeroed in on one person who may seem out of place, just be aware they are present and a possible threat.
A Graceful Exit
If you notice a person or situation that poses a possible threat the safest course of action is to exit the area immediately. This is not cowardice (unless it is your job) it is simply a safe course of action that will help you avoid possible conflict and keep you safe.
Anything where you feel uncomfortable from a security standpoint is a situation you should consider walking away from.
If the threat is on the verge of becoming real, as in an argument or possible fight, and you have decided not to move out of the area right away, you can employ de-escalation skills. Police departments are being taught these skills as a result of the multiple shootings that have put them in a bad light to some.
The verbal skills can be found online. They should be learned and play acted if you plan to try to be a peacemaker, or have to try to talk your way out of a situation.
Fight or Flight
If you get to the point where a conflict is imminent you have a final choice. Fight or flight. You can choose to stand your ground and employ any self defense or physical personal security measures you may have, or you can turn and run away.
Again there is no cowardice in preserving your own life, unless others are relying on you to protect them.
This is a choice everyone will have to make for themselves.
A Final Option
If you are caught unawares with no chance of retreat or fighting your way free your best option may be to fake a heart attack.
Say “Please I have a heart condition” immediately roll your eyes up and slump to the ground.
Most likely this will not save your wallet but it has a good chance of saving your life. Of course if someone is simply after your wallet you may just be further ahead giving it to them, but that is your call.
There are many things to be aware of when you go about your typical day. If you can learn to be aware you can avoid almost all of the personal security risks you will ever face in your life.