One of the great things about getting a little older is that you get to go out on your own. But just because you’re old enough doesn’t mean you’re safe enough. It is very important that you develop your own safety skills, or as we call them, street smarts.
No Walking while Looking at Your Phone
Texting isn’t only bad when you’re driving. It’s not safe when you’re walking either. Not only are teenagers peering into their smartphones annoying people who have to get out of their way, they could be setting themselves up for some serious trouble. The National Center for Victims of Crime reports 12 to 24 year-olds are more likely to be victimized than any other age groups. Some of those crimes like robbery or assault happen out on the streets. When deeply engrossed in texting, scrolling through their never-ending feeds on social media, or answering emails, you tend to lose vigilance and fail to spot the danger in a timely manner. As a result, you run a higher risk of becoming a victim of someone you’ve recently seen on the wanted posters. So, if you want to stay safe and sound and avoid unwanted confrontations on the street, consider ditching your unhealthy digital habits.
Know Where You’re Going
Looking uncertain on the street can make you a target. If you’re heading out to an unfamiliar place, make sure you know how to get there. Do some research and plan your route in advance. Asking strangers for directions might seem like a good idea, but you want to refrain from doing that if you’re not completely sure it’s safe. If need be, ask reliable people like policemen or municipal officials for help.
Know When Your Belongings are
If you’re carrying a purse, make sure you have it over the shoulder. It should in no way be hanging out behind you not to invite potential danger. Also, don’t leave your suitcase or other belongings unattended or put them far from you. Otherwise, you may end up being robbed. If you get a wallet, which is usually a primary target of any thief, make sure to put it in your front pocket so it’s harder to get to. You should always, always carry your smartphone with you or have someone who does. If you’re lost or in trouble, your phone is really your lifeline. But, as we’ve mentioned earlier, never be a phone zombie. If you’re looking down or wrapped up in a call, you might not notice someone or something that could do you harm. This leads us to the next tip.
Don’t Trust Almost Anyone
You don’t have to be super paranoid when you’re hitting the streets, but keep in mind that not everyone you meet is going to have your best interests in mind. Even in the daytime, be street-smart. A crowded street is probably going to be safer than a quiet one. And if something happens on a busy street, there’s at least going to be people that you can shout out to or stores to run into. At night, all streets can be dangerous, even familiar ones near your home. So, be extra careful. Finally, remember that there’s safety in numbers! Try to travel in packs instead of alone.
No Loud Music or Loud Mouths
Love your music? Great. But turn it down so you can be aware of your surroundings and ignore loud mouths. If someone shouts something at you, you’re better off just leaving it alone and not responding and not turning a stupid comment into an argument.
If you follow all of these rules, probably, nothing is going to happen to you. But if something does, and someone approaches you, and you feel like you’re in a dangerous situation, your best option is to run away and scream your head off. And shout for the police. That way, other people will know you need help and you’re not just horsing around.
You might think this couldn’t happen to you, but as we’ve said, statistics show teens and young adults are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than their older counterparts. Don’t become another statistic. Be street-smart!