| What follows are simplified scenarios, a quick reference to what we discussed throughout the website. It is more important that you build a natural attitude to defend yourself more than trying to remember the scenario by rote and what to do. Nevertheless it is easier to jog your memory going through particular situations that can occur and the course of action that can be taken when and "if" needed.
Obviously we are not implying that for instance taking a taxi is dangerous, or using an underground car park can get you into trouble, quite the opposite but normally during the practical courses that we hold these are the questions that a lot of attendees want answers to, both in an INDOOR and OUTDOOR situation. Obviously you can use techniques from one similar scenario and apply to another similar one. For instance if you are woken up by an intruder within your bedroom the same action applies if that happens in a hotel room.
AT HOME - DAYTIME If you live/work on the ground/basement/first floor keep main doors and windows locked at all time. If you have to keep some windows open install grills or at least chain locks that allow you to leave the window partially open but does not allow easy entry.
If you hear someone breaking/entering while you are in, grab a phone and lock yourself in the nearest room. Call emergency services talking very loudly, making yourself heard. If this is not possible, grab whatever is within reach that can help in fending off an attacker, kitchen knife, baseball bat, and hairspray. Shout very loudly that you are armed and you have called the Police and he should leave. Remember that half of all home attacks happened after someone "conned" his way in with an excuse, such as that they have a delivery for you or informing you of a neighbour's, accident, utility reading, impersonating law enforcement or authority, etc. If you are meeting someone you don't know for whatever reason (prospective buyer, work colleague) make sure that they have the impression that someone should be home any moment. You can even call your own number pre-dialling it on your mobile and pretending that someone has been delayed but is coming soon.
AT HOME - NIGHT TIME Make sure that all windows and doors are locked, including balconies or any other windows or doors even if they are on the top floor. Burglars can climb up a drainpipe/tree/nearby building and access your roof/balcony. Make certain to fit chain locks even to windows. Keep a mobile/ phone next to your bed. If you are woken by an intruder make some noise and dial the emergency services. If it is possible to, lock yourself in the bedroom. If the telephone is out of reach or not in the room with you pretend you are calling the Police. If you are attacked and pinned onto the bed or on the floor see GROUNDWORK. If you are within a room see OBJECTS. Remember if you are fighting to defend yourself within a room that you can maximise your strikes or pushes using the walls or furniture as leverage. (fig.63)
fig.268A - Most people sit
near the window.
BUS OR COACH/TRAIN/TRAM/UNDERGROUND METRO If the bus is really empty do not sit on the upper deck or at the back by yourself, but find aseat next to the driver. If you are not sure stand next to the driver if possible. Do not sit next to the windows, but near a corridor. Someone can easily sit next to you holding a knife and block your escape route.
Choose seats that allow you to have as much visibility as possible should someone sit next to you. Choose to sit next to someone who you think might help you if needed. If you are threatened move away towards the driver or start pressing the alarm/ring repeatedly. Always choose a coach/carriage containing as many people as possible. Most public transport vehicles have safety hammers/axes/extinguishers; use them if you fear for your own life.
If necessary, push the attacker away using a seat/window/side of bus to push from. Do not intervene to tell someone off who is smoking or putting his feet on the seat. Let the authorities deal with that. It was all over the news about a woman who told off someone for smoking on a train platform and she was pushed onto the rail, barely surviving the fall on the high voltage line. Be wary as you walk down a deserted train corridor, especially at night, someone might just drag you into his compartment, in that case resist being dragged into it, pin yourself against a door frame, divider, grab the handle, but do not be dragged inside at any cost.
fig.286BB - Jump in the water
as a very last resort.
BOAT OR SHIP If you are on board a large vessel such as a cruise ship, follow the same advice as per Hotel situation. Do not walk around by yourself especially at night on a big ship, especially on the lower decks or parts of the ship reserved for personnel. You need to familiarise yourself with the locations of escape routes. It is useful to try to locate alarms and fire extinguishers. If you are on a small vessel make sure that you know what you can use in case someone decides to have a go for you, on a boat there are plenty of tools that can turn into useful defensive weapons. Always locate where the fire extinguisher is, when mooring make the access to the boat more difficult. If attacked always try to go on to upper levels, bang repeatedly against the wall (they resonate loudly) scream and grab anything that can be used as weapon. Jump in the water as a very last resort if everything else fails. If mooring in the harbour with your own boat make access to the boat more difficult during the night. There are alarms and other devices on the market that can help to secure a boat from unwanted visitors.
If you can choose a room choose one in the middle of the corridor, not at the end of it, so that if something happens you can bang on either wall and people will hear you. If you cannot lock yourself in using the door key
fig.289 - Choose a room next
to the main exit or
lift, or in
the middle of the corridor.
HOTEL OR HOSTEL ROOM
(do not trust electronic keys, someone can easily duplicate them) jam a chair against the door knob. The same goes if you are staying in a bungalow or similar accommodation, don't choose the most remote location unless you have someone able bodied with you. If someone enters while you are asleep see HOME – night time described previously.
If you need to shout something, shout "FIRE" not "help". (see STRONG). As a norm try not to carry your key with the room number in view, or avoid asking for your key at reception loudly. Do not open the door unless absolutely sure of who is calling. If you are walking down the corridor late at night and come across rowdy people or in any case someone who makes you feel uneasy, it is better to go back to a common area or reception and ask a member of staff to escort you to your room or just wait for a while before going back. If you are attacked while in the corridor do shout, there are people behind the doors. If necessary press the fire alarm or use the fire extinguisher, there are plenty of extinguishers about in any hotel. If you are attacked within a room trash everything within reach and make as much noise as possible, people will complain and someone from the hotel staff will come and check. If a phone is within reach take the receiver off and dial zero. Locate fire extinguishers and fire alarms. Don't forget that unfortunately a woman by herself at the hotel bar is sometimes mistaken for a prostitute since often hotels bars are fertile ground for them to pick up customers.
TAXI OR HIRED DRIVER
If possible always choose a reputable authorised taxi service. Do not take a taxi that stops asking to take you anywhere even if it looks legitimate enough. Make sure someone knows that you travelling by taxi and with which company especially if coming back from a party at night. Sit behind the driver, it makes it more difficult for him to threaten you or try to reach for you. Familiarise yourself with how the door opens. Hold your mobile phone in your hand. Remove expensive jewellery before entering the taxi (away from view). Make sure that if you are talking on the phone you do not reveal any personal details, including your mobile number (you can always text it to the person asking on the phone. Do not assume the driver cannot listen to you or that he does not speak/understand your language even if he doesn't seem to. Do not give him your exact address; just close enough, even one or two door numbers different. Make sure he has disappeared from view before going to your door. Pretend you are looking for keys or go to neighbour's door. If a driver takes an unfamiliar route or you are sensing something odd ask him to go back urgently because you have forgotten your purse/wallet. If he ignores you get out of the car at the first opportunity to do so safely. If this is not possible attract the attention of passers by/other cars, lower window and call for help. Call emergency services after you have noted WHERE you are, name of street etc.
fig.290 - London cabs are
famous for being a
fig.291 - If you can't see who is
hiding behind the
should take a longer but safer
UNDERPASS OR STAIRCASE/ALLEY/ROAD/STREET If you are confronted or feeling uncomfortable as you go through an underpass/alley or staircase try to go back to where you have just come from. Do not feel embarrassed or stupid about it, the threat might be real. Avoid walking close to the bushes or the wall, stay away from secluded entries/doorways and be aware of hidden spots, Walk in the middle or near the pavement edge. See if there are any objects that you can grab in case you need to defend yourself, a fire extinguisher for instance or loose pipes. If you are attacked use the walls to your advantage, push away from them or back against it and push away your attacker. If you can turn him (push/pull action) against the stairs going down push him as hard and suddenly as you can to make him fall. If you are able to wait until someone else passes by who seems trust worthy and follow him/her. Always walk facing the traffic flow, if someone harasses you it's easier to run in the opposite direction than the one you are facing already. Always run towards heavier traffic or a more built up area. Do not engage in conversation with anyone who stops in a car. If you decide to help keep your distance. Never accept a lift from a stranger.
fig.291A - Choose a good seat.
CINEMA/THEATRE OR VENUEIf you find yourself threaten or molested in this type of venue try and move towards the MAIN exit as soon as possible. Do not sit in a corner alone or near a column, always try and sit close to a group of people, family or near a main aisle. Do not let children go to the toilet by themselves. If the attacker has you cornered shout "FIRE!" or attract the attention of staff or nearby people. Remember all public venues have fire extinguishers and fire alarms, use them if necessary. Locate all emergency exits and escape routes if possible on initial entry to the building.
JOB INTERVIEW OR MODEL/ACTOR AUDITION If you are asked to go to an interview make sure that at least two friends or family members know the exact address where you are going and at what time you will be there and who you will be meeting with. Do not go to private homes,
reputable companies will not do that, if unavoidable suggest a cafe or other venue where other people are/will be present. Do not go to interviews past 6 pm, unless you can go accompanied by someone. Sit three quarters facing the exit route and familiarise yourself with the exit route on the way in.
fig.292 - Where would you sit?
If you feel uncomfortable about any aspect or tone of the person you are meeting make an excuse that you need to exit a moment to put money in the parking metre or because you have forgotten your mobile downstairs/outside. make sure you say clearly that you will be back in few minutes.
Pretend your phone is ringing (even if it doesn't it could have been on silent/vibrate mode) and you need to leave the room for a moment and then leave. If you are attacked while in the office with an interviewer use what is on the desk, pencils, scissors, staplers etc, or within the room such as a plant, chair, vase or any heavy object. Never accept a dinner invite after a job interview or a lift back home, it gives the wrong signal and a true professional would never do that in any case.
PARK OR GREEN SPACE If walking alone or with your dog or jogging alone in a park make sure you do so near main routes/walkway, do not go in
undergrowth or places away or hidden from main activity. Familiarise yourself with map/surroundings, know where you are at all times. Do not be convinced to follow anyone even in an emergency, call for help from your mobile phone. Avoid regular patterns and using the same route at the same time everyday. Do not take a park or green space as a shortcut no matter how short if deserted or in the dark. It is always the perfect spot for an ambush. Avoid stopping in isolated or screened section of the park to do some stretching or exercises, keep near the main path and near groups of people. Do not have music in your earphones at too high a volume, just low enough to hear what is happening around you. Take with you an insect repellent spray, the strong type, it can be very useful to spray onto someone's face if you are attacked, it works even on dogs if aimed at the nose/eyes. Beware of animals such as dogs/swans etc, if jogging slow down and walk until past them. If you are attacked remember to use soil/sand/branches to fight back, run into lake/pond or climb up tree. If you have been followed and have lost your bearings aim for a wide open space, downhill, there are more chances of meeting someone. If necessary,use a large feature such as a tree, fountain, bench as an obstacle to put in between you and your attacker.
fig.292A - Stay on the
fig.292 B - Alone on a beach is fine but
BEACH OR RIVER/LAKE Do not lie on a deserted beach alone, always go with friends or where people are present. Beware of going to facilities by yourself or without other people knowing. Do not rest/fall asleep in a secluded area. Familiarise yourself with your surroundings and check possible exit routes or where you can go for safety. Remember if you are attacked or if you realise that you are about to be that going into the water can be a good solution, especially if you are a good swimmer. Do not go on the beach by yourself after dark. If in a wild country remember that rivers at night attract large animals to drink and most predators in warm countries hunt at night near rivers. Sharks and other sea animals feed towards dusk or at night time. Always check local customs so you do not end up offending locals or worse breaking local laws. Some countries carry heavy fines or punishment for sunbathing alone or "being indecent". Make sure you are not the last one to leave a beach or other secluded space, especially in the late afternoon.
CAR PARK OR UNDERGROUND GARAGE Always park your car with the front facing towards exit (see fig. 293) and near a main route, not in asecluded/hidden spot such as near walls or heavy foliage If you are parked closer to the main entry/exit better. Reverse into a parking slot. Be aware as you exit/entry car, that is vulnerable moment. Check where alarms/fire extinguishers/fire axes are located. Make a note of the exact spot/row number/level on your mobile phone so that you don't walk around needlessly trying to find your car. If you sense danger going back to your car or you see a person around your car do not confront him or carry on towards your car and seek help as you go back. As you walk towards your car be aware of people
sitting in cars parked close to yours or loitering nearby sometimes pretending to give leaflets away. Avoid parking next to vans or very big cars with blackout windows. If you are attacked do not let the person drag you into a car or van, fight with all your might. Make sure that when you return to your car you have your car keys ready in your hand. If the attacker wants your car key throw it at them and let them have it. Make sure if it's an underground car park that your mobile phone has a signal, if not (very possible) try to go back to your car with some other people. If you don't feel comfortable do not chance it, take a taxi home or ask the car park personnel for help. If you are attacked as you are loading your shopping or groceries (the most common moment of attacks on women) use what is at hand, a bottle for instance from your shopping. See also CARJACKING.
fig.293- Park your car reversing into a
next to a busy lane and a well lit
spot, away from
pillars or hiding places.
fig.293A - Beware of someone signaling
you to stop while
driving in a remote area.
CARJACKING Lock yourself inside the car the very moment you get in, before doing anything else, even before putting the key in the ignition. If it happens while you are getting into your car, it is best to let them take the car, as long as they're not trying to take you or your child with it. You should never let the carjacker take both you and the car but if you find yourself in the car with the carjacker (now a kidnapper), try to make the car crash by grabbing the steering wheel, or attacking the kidnapper's eyes. If you are the one who's driving and you know the area go to the nearest Police station or stop the car next to a Policeman or Police car. In any case act as early as possible and do it in an urban area, if you wait too long and allow him to drive you outside town you have less chances of survival. Remember that more often than not compliance does not mean making it safely, more often it is the opposite. If you are put in the trunk, use your mobile phone to call for help, or kick out a tail light and wave your hand through the opening.
Carjacking is more common in some countries than others, especially in cities where the car is a very important means to get around, and the majorities of carjackers use a weapon to make you comply. Do not resist, just get out of the car and run. Carjacking occurs most of the time while the victim is entering or exiting their vehicle while parked, sometimes right on home doorsteps, often within five miles from home. Carjackers target people on their own and want car keys readily available, car door unlocked and a quick getaway. Most targeted people are men, young and single/divorced, since they tend to have flashy cars or in any case go to places more exposed to this type of crime. As a rule never pick up hitch-hikers, never mind how harmless they seem.
Carjacking target locations are parking lots, gas stations or any place where you might either drive through slowly (fast food) or you might stop quickly to get something and back to your car, such an ATM or convenience store. Shopping centres are also at risk, be aware of your surroundings when loading groceries/shopping in car. As you approach the car look around, under and inside it and start your car and drive away immediately. Traffic lights intersections/crossroads are also high risk. A carjacker will jump off his vehicle, drag you out at gun point out of your car and drive away. Normally this happens at deserted junctions to avoid other drivers reporting it to the police in real time, that's why you should always drive with your car doors locked and windows shut. Another technique is to crash into the back of your vehicle and as you get out to assess damage the carjacker will take your vehicle while the accomplice drives away. If you are bumped by a car from behind, with young males on board, be alert. Be wary if someone points out that you have a flat tyre and he can help to sort it out. If you are forced to drive, crash your car near a busy intersection to attract attention. To avoid been attacked while asking for help if the car breaks down join a rescue service (such as AA or RAC in UK see LINKS) . Have some loose coins in your car in case you need to make a phone call and your mobile runs flat. ALWAYS Keep a spare phone charger in the car. Keep a large torch (Maglite is best for that) in your vehicle and a fire extinguisher. Both can be very useful in many ways. If you are attacked as you are sitting hold onto the steering wheel and kick him off fighting like a wild cat, start the car and drive off. If you are dragged by your clothes come out of the car in an explosive way, head butting your attacker. Remember that this type of crime is opportunistic; therefore you must avoid giving an opportunity to a criminal.
RAILWAY STATION OR SHOPPING CENTRE/MALL Any situation where a large setting offers a lot of hiding places or opportunities for crime should have your full attention.
fig.293B - Train stations attract criminals
people carry valuables.
A busy harbour/railway/buses/subway station normally has a lot of people carrying valuables with them, such as money for their trip/holiday. Also people going through these environments have a lot on their mind or in any case their attention is constantly challenged, looking up at the board to see what platform or what delay and so on, in any case they will have suitcases/shopping or their hands full or in any case are multitasking. If you are queuing to get your tickets or are retrieving your pre-booked ticket at a vending machine be aware of your baggage, put a leg in the strap if you need to have it on the floor and keep it in front of you, NOT BEHIND. Be aware of people bumping onto you or offering help with your luggage. As you go up the escalator make sure you have the person behind you at a reasonable distance. If it is not possible because it is too crowded keep your bags in sight and make sure nothing on you is easily accessible to a pick pocketer. If you are travelling with a rucksack on your back make sure you have it in front of you while queuing and if you are waiting for something/someone lean against a wall. Remember that public facilities such as toilets are often targeted by criminals.
NIGHTCLUB OR DISCOTHEQUE/BAR Stick to well known reputable venues. Avoid places with a dubious reputation or which are known for fights breaking out all the time. If you are not sure ask the locals or do a search on the internet adding "trouble" or "disturbances" next to the venue's name. If while having a drink you have the feeling that you are not welcome there or people are trying to set you up just leave. Pretend you are making a phone call and need some quiet spot then leave immediately. You can always ask the doormen (or bouncers) to let you leave via another exit so people won't realise you have left and will not follow you. If you are desperate just use the emergency exit and if the alarm goes off as you open the door so be it. In the event that a fight breaks out do not intervene, just leave, the beefy security guys who will turn up won't make any difference and they will see you just as one of the troublemakers and no matter what excuse you come up with they will just remove you from the venue in no time and not very gracefully.
fig.294 - Beware of what can happen to
your drink when
you are not looking.
Always stay within the club, it is safer to be where there is a crowd, the moment you go into a secluded space or even the car park by yourself you can become a target. Always go with someone, even for just a quick cigarette. If you meet someone that you like make sure that the people with you meet him as well. Think twice about leaving with someone you have just met, the sweetest person can turn out to be different once alone with you. If you really want to leave with the stranger, make sure that whoever came with you knows that you are leaving or knows where you are going. If you decide to leave early and the others prefer to stay make sure that you have someone picking you up that you can trust or a reputable taxi company.
fig.295 - Always look around .
ATM MACHINE OR CASH WITHDRAWAL If you need to withdraw lots of cash, even just few hundreds is considered "lots" you have to be on your guard even if you make the transaction inside the bank. Some criminals might decide to follow you afterwards and rob you at the first opportunity. Most ATM crime is committed between 7pm and 4 am by young males alone. ATM robbers usually position themselves nearby (50 feet) waiting for a victim to approach and withdraw cash. Half of the ATM robberies occur after the cash withdrawal. Many ATM robbery victims are women and were alone when robbed. Most claim that they never saw the robber coming. Most ATM robbers use a gun or claim to have a concealed weapon when confronting the victim and demanding their cash.
WALKING/SHOPPING If you are walking on the footpath, carry your handbag on the opposite side of the road, to avoid bag snatchers grabbing your bag while riding a scooter. Wear your bags strap across your body if possible, making it more difficult to grab. If you are cycling keep the bag on your body, not on the front or rear basket. If carrying a rucksack wear it on the front, more difficult to cut the pockets open. Remember that if you are pushing a pram you are more likely to be subjected to a bag snatch, criminals know you wouldn't go after them and leave the pram there. Do not keep money and values in your bag, better to keep them on your person, or at least split it. If someone grabs your bag and is riding a scooter let the bag go. It's not worth the danger of getting hurt: if you are dragged with it you might sustain serious head injuries, or even die. If you are quick enough you can apply a takedown to a bag snatcher on foot, see TAKEDOWNS. If you walk in a deserted street or late at night stay away from side of buildings or parts that offer a hiding place, as you turn around a corner stay "wide" so you can quickly spot trouble instead of walking right into it. Remember if there is a bar or any other activity nearby or as you walk past, in case you need to go back and ask for help. If you need to press any or even all doorbells on an entry phone or throw something onto the windows to attract attention.
fig.296 - Be alert.
LIFT OR STAIRCASES If you take a lift, especially during unsociable hours, make sure that you never have your back to the doors, while you wait for it and when travelling in it. Stay more than an arm length from the doors, to avoid someone dragging you inside. If you find yourself in an lift and you feel uncomfortable about the other people or someone in particular get off at the first chance even if it is not your floor., in any case exit with the person before the last one. Keep close to the buttons and make sure you know which one is the alarm button. If the lift is the one to your home and you are with people you don't know, exit at the floor before yours, so they do not know which floor you live on. Many attacks in lifts happen as the doors are about to open or close, therefore stay more alert when that happens, especially as you enter. If possible avoid at all cost being trapped in the cabin, if it is too late, fight pushing away from the walls and use elbows/eyegauging/headbutting. As you go up or down staircases try to see what is around the corner before you turn and avoid using your mobile phone , instead keep an eye on what is around you, especially side doors or hidden spots.
fig.296A - Rush hour.
DRIVING OR ROADRAGE If you find yourself subject to abuse by another motorist (or motorcyclist/cyclist) it is best to stay in the car (never get out of the car or lower your window) lock yourself inside, raise hands and apologise. If you are able to do so, drive away. If you are chased, drive to a busy road, not to an out of town or deserted road. Stop at a police station. You can call the emergency services and provide the vehicle registration number, or you can pretend you are doing so. Make sure that the other person understands what you are doing. If the window is open say in a very loud voice, "police, hello a driver is etc...registration number" often that should work. Do not engage in conversation; do not gesture except to clearly apologise and a big smile. If the other person hits your vehicle DO NOT STOP, stay within the traffic flow, other people might report what is happening. Stay calm, it's only damage to a car, but if you stop and get out you might be seriously hurt or even killed.
DOG OR ANIMAL ATTACK If you come across a dog being walked on a leash keep a safe distance between yourself and the dog, keep children well away, dogs and other animals generally attack the smallest. Stay away from barking, snarling, sleeping, eating, or nursing dogs. If a dog approaches you do not stare into its eyes, turn sideways and slowly move away. You can't outrun a dog, and showing your back to the dog might provoke an attack. Speak in a calm and soft tone "Good dog, it's OK" keep repeating calmly; do not wave your hands. Put an obstacle such as a tree, car, fountain or bench between you and the dog. If you are attacked, put something between you and the dog's mouth, coat, purse, large stick. If you fall to the ground get up as soon as possible. If the dog has grabbed your arm in his mouth push towards the back of his throat, do not pull away. Be aware of unleashed dogs in the street or in the wild, stay away or walk together with other people. Climb on a parked car roof if necessary. The majority of wild animals such as BEARS, MOUNTAIN LIONS, and COYOTES etc will shy away if you make yourself big, spread coat/mantel to appear so. Do not enter caves unless sure it is empty. Never turn your back on an animal. Playing dead, rolling into a ball has worked with some bears some times but there is no guarantee, it does not work with other animals. In SNAKES while on a country walk making noises and carrying a long stick, inspect before sitting on rocks, grass. Carry poison extractor and antivenom. Move back slowly if you startle a snake, keep your hands close to your body and offer a long stick for the snake to bite if the it moves towards you. In SHARK infested waters stay away from fish/turtle farms or fishing boats, do not swim at night or dusk. While surfing do not go off on your own If you are attacked do not play dead, hit the shark's head with all your strength, aiming for the eyes/gills/snout. Scream underwater, I am sure you will feel up to that if confronted.
fig.296B - Good doggy.
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