Security systems help protect homeowners and their belongings from potential intrusions, but what if you’re attacked outside of your home? Between 2010 and 2011, the number of assaults reported in the U.S. increased by 22 percent, according to the 2011 Criminal Victimization report by the Department of Justice. Women are often the victims, particularly when walking alone late at night. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps any woman can take to avoid being targeted and quell an attack, if necessary.
1. Be aware
Always be aware of your surroundings and potentially dangerous people, especially when walking alone late at night. Let a friend or family member know what time you expect to be home so he or she can make sure you’ve arrived safely.
2. Do not walk alone
Women who are alone are easy targets for potential attackers, so avoid walking alone after dark whenever possible. Ask a coworker to walk you to your car after work, or make use of safety escort services, which are available on many college campuses.
3. Eye contact
If you’re concerned for your safety, make eye contact with the potential attacker so you can identify him or her later, if necessary. Fear of being identified will deter most attackers.
4. Keep your hands free
Avoid texting or talking on the phone while walking alone. Doing so will distract you from potential danger and make defending yourself against an attacker much more difficult.
5. Take the elevator
Attackers often strike in empty stairwells, so take the elevator instead. Stand close to the door so if someone makes you uneasy you can exit quickly.
6. Take a self-defense class
Every woman should know basic self-defense techniques. Consider taking a class or attending a seminar to learn how to stay safe and defend yourself against potential attackers.
7. Carry mace or a stun gun
Self-defense maneuvers may not be enough to deter a bigger, stronger attacker, so carry mace or a stun gun with you as back up. Both items will immediately incapacitate a potential attacker and give you time to get away.