Hey, Leo. Come sit by me. I am about to write a new blog. I have something on my mind that relates to city life. Living in a major metropolitan area, I encounter many people during my various photography jaunts who have experienced assailants. I have horrors of someone ripping off my best camera, but it is usually a purse or a wallet. Thieves have such audacity and they must be confronted with some kind of self defense. I have to learn to navigate a busy city with caution to protect my equipment and myself. What to do?
A friend recently had a run-in with a pickpocket of all things. Do they do that away from carnivals? You bet. It pays to be extra alert when in unknown areas and especially at night. Traveling about in numbers is a good strategy. Otherwise, take your dog. Leo goes with me all the time, and while he is not particularly ferocious, he does deter aggressors due to his size.
Apart from keeping your eyes open and training your dog to growl on demand, there are other protective measures you can take. When in crowds, do not get too close to others or you might encounter a pickpocket like my friend. They love to operate in busy areas where they can easily disappear out of sight. If you want to be extra secure, I recommend carrying some mace in your pocket or backpack. I have never had to use it, but I know how. A few quick sprays at close proximity will inflict considerable discomfort to the eyes and nose that lasts for almost forty-five minutes. Don’t stand too far or the effect will be minor.
If you want more tactics, you can look into stun guns and heavy-duty plastic or rubber “knuckles.” Just pulling one of these could make an attacker or mugger run. He will also respond negatively to loud yelling or screaming. It alerts people in the vicinity to a problem and will signal someone to dial 911. In a busy location, a group may retaliate on your behalf and wrangle with the individual, immobilizing him on the spot. This is the advantage of being in a populated region. If you are in a skid row area, the drunks and homeless are less likely to pitch in and help out, so the de-escalation techniques from Self Defense Guide can be helpful.
If you have been trained in martial arts (recommended for people in big cities where all kinds of threats thrive), you can attempt some basic maneuvers and use hand-to-hand combat. If you are quick on your feet, you can kick, punch, jab, or poke vulnerable body areas. A self defense stance would make me back off. I would want to avoid the pain. Few robbers are well-versed in self defense moves as they are the aggressors. They may be on drugs and out of their minds, compromising their ability to fight.
If you are a peacenik at heart, try de-escalation techniques of talking the opponent down. Appeal to the assailant’s good sense and human spirit, if it is inside. Use calming words and slow hand gestures. Never insult an angry person or challenge him in any way. With these methods, you should be ready to go out without fear.