How to keep yourself safe from attackers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How to keep yourself safe from attackers

April 11, 2006

Albany -  So how can you keep yourself safe from potential predators? Walking alone in a deserted ally, day or night may not be the safest idea, but if you must, there are ways to keep yourself safer.

Dougherty Police Chief Don Cheek says, "If you're on the street by necessity, just be observant to what's going on around you." Being aware is the first step to safety.

Martial arts instructor Shaun Brunson says walking with confidence will tell would be attackers to find another victim.  He says, "Walking firmly to your car without digging around in your purse looking for things." This isn't a time to be looking down. "No.  Everything should be out, in your hands and ready to go, so when you do get to your car, all you have to do is unlock your car, get in and immediately lock the doors."

Don't let your environment work against you, make it work for you. It's easy to turn everyday items, like the contents of your purse, into crime fighting tools."First of all, you have your keys because most people at night are walking to a vehicle, your keys are the number one thing as a primary weapon you can use to punch. You can scrape.  Eyeliner, lipstick can be used.  You can put it in your hand and use it to strike and it's a nifty little tool."

But if an attacker grabs you, it's not too late.  You can and should fight.  Brunson says, "If I come around here, and I grab you in what we call a restraining hold. All you have to do is shift your hips to the side, and you can just bring that leg up and strike or you can close your fist and strike straight down, and that's a basic self defense technique that you can do."

If you can't get away, and the suspect gets you all the way to the ground, don't give up, there are still ways you can protect yourself.  "The importance of this close guard keeps her hips this far away, just 6 inches enough from my hips, to where I can't do much." But you still can.  Kick him forcefully, slide away, and run.

But the best defense is a good offense.  Chief Cheek says, "A lot of offenses like these are targets of opportunity. It's not necessarily that the victim has done anything to perpetuate it, it's simply they may end up being at the wrong place at the wrong time." But by knowing self-defense tactics, it could be the suspect who's in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Other self-defense weapons that can be used are personal alarms, a whistle, pepper spray, or stun guns, but if you are going to carry one, make sure you're comfortable using it.

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