Do you know how to be street smart? Being street smart means knowing how to keep yourself safe from strangers when you’re alone or with friends. Whether you’re walking to school or to the bus, hanging out at the mall, or riding your bike in your neighborhood, being street smart helps you stay safe. When you’re street smart, you know your way around, you know how handle yourself in tough situations, and you’re able to “read” people.
That’s why it’s important to follow these safety rules all the time:
Beware of your surroundings
The first thing to do is to always beware when we are in a place where you don’t feel safe. For instance, if you go running on your own, especially in not so crowded places, don’t put on headphones with high music. If you want to listen to something while you exercise, always use a medium-low volume, so that you can be aware of what happens near you.
Check your back from time to time, and beware of what might be happening around you so that you can be prepared to react.
Stick With a Friend
It’s more fun and safer to do things with friends. Take along a buddy when you walk to school, bike around the park, or go to the store. Traveling with a friend whenever you can is a good idea, and traveling with a bunch of kids is even better.
Create a coded message
If you’re in a dangerous situation (attack, robbery, kidnapping, etc.) and you have the chance to send a message or make a call, but you don’t want your attackers to know that you’re asking for help, it’s very useful to have a code. Something like a specific word or a sentence to communicate to your relatives and friends that you’re in danger. Invent a sentence that wouldn’t cause any suspects to ask for help. You can add more codes to communicate where you are or where your attackers are taking you (north, south, etc.).
Pick Out Safe Spots
What are safe spots? Safe spots are places where you can stop if you need help, like the houses of friends you know, your parents’ friends’ houses, stores, restaurants, police stations, libraries, and fire departments. When you’re walking or riding your bike, make a mental note of the safe spots along your route. That way, you’ll know where they are in case you ever need one.
Call a relative/friend if you’re scared
If you’re walking home alone at night and you’re in a zone that makes you scared, a good solution is to call a friend or a relative. It’s less likely that an aggressor would attack you if you’re in direct contact with someone through a phone call, as they would find out what is happening. Moreover, it will make you feel safer and more relaxed to call someone while you walk home.
Of course, Avoid Places That Aren’t Safe
Be sure to keep away from isolated areas. These are places where no one is around, like the woods or small, dark streets.
Stay Away From Strangers’ Cars
If a stranger pulls up in a car and offers you a ride, don’t get in. You probably know that rule, right? But that’s not all of it. It’s also important to avoid a stranger’s car completely. If a stranger asks you to look in the car, don’t do it. Don’t agree to look in the trunk or in the back of a truck or van. Don’t put your arm in the window to take something or point to something. Don’t agree to come closer to see a pet or to get a toy that’s offered.
If a stranger walks up or pulls up in a car and you’re too far away to hear the person, don’t go closer, even if the person waves you over. Just get away. Run the opposite way that the car is heading. Get to an adult you know, a police officer, a security guard, or one of your safe spots as fast as you can if the stranger comes toward you.
Even if the stranger knows your name, don’t be fooled. There are lots of ways to find out a person’s’ names, even when someone doesn’t know them or their families. Do you have a jacket or a piece of jewelry that has your name on it? That’s an easy way for someone to learn your name. Or a stranger could see something about you on someone’s social media site — even your name and a picture of you!
Make a Lot of Noise If You’re Scared
You’ve probably been told lots of times that you should not yell. You should keep it down, be calm, or use your inside voice. When you think you might be in danger, forget all of that advice! That’s the perfect time to be noisy!
If a stranger approaches you (on foot or in a car) and follows you when you try to walk away, yell for help as you run away. If a stranger ever tries to grab you, yell as loudly as you can and try to get away. You can shout things like, “Help! I don’t know you!” or “Help! This isn’t my dad!” People in the area will hear what’s going on and help you, so make plenty of noise.
Share locations with family members and closest friends
If you’re in a new city attending school, riding in the back of an Uber or stuck in traffic, you can share your location with loved ones and colleagues so they know where you are and that you’re OK.
How to share your location with Google Maps
- Open Google Maps on your phone.
- Tap the menu button on the top-left of the screen.
- Tap “Location Sharing.”
- Choose how long you want to share for.
- Choose who you want to share with.
- Confirm that you’d like to share your location.
- Send the message.
How to share your location with iMessage
- Open iMessage on your iPhone or iPad.
- Start a conversation with the person or people you want to share your location with.
- Tap the “i” button on the top-right of the screen.
- Choose “Share my location”
- Choose to share for an hour, until the end of the day or indefinitely.
Carry some emergency cash
It’s good to have some cash on you at all times, just in case. Perhaps your apple pay won’t work or your debit card gets lost. You never want to be stuck in a scary situation because you don’t have the necessary funds to get out of it as quickly as possible.