A rule of thumb when walking the streets of any major City is to “act like you know where you are going and what you are doing.” This rule exists so that predators lurking around won’t identify you as possible “prey.” Walking around while looking towards the ground, hands in your pockets and walking aimlessly are traits most bad guys look for. Think of it this way, if a criminal is watching Justin Bieber and The Rock walking down the street, who do you think they’ll choose to rob? In the military its called having “Command Presence” but for most people is simply having a “presence” so that other people watching think you have it all together and if they tried anything, the fight would be on.
Many people talk about situational awareness, knowing where you are and what is going on around you or awareness as a key to “street survival.” In reality, these days you have to have “360” degree awareness with not only to know where you are and what is going on around you but also, are you carrying a flashlight? Do you have a knife to be able to cut through something? If you can, are you carrying a gun? Is your cell phone charged? Where could you go to escape or be safe? Where is the closest medical care? Are there any natural (storm, tornado, etc.) or man made (large event occurring, bridges out, etc) issues occurring that could affect me? You also need to know and understand both your physical and practical limitations. Am I a good runner? Do I know how to fight? Do I know the difference between cover (it can stop bullets) and concealment (I can hide behind it but it wont stop bullets)?
Thinking about or gaming out “what if’s” are also a key to “plan ahead,” just in case. Think of the recent Mall shooting in Columbia, MD. If you were there, what would you have done? Where could you have gone? Once you understand your surroundings, as Dirty Harry once said, “You also have to know your limitations.” Taken together, this type of planning can help reduce the risk for anyone willing to take the time necessary to think, plan and prepare.