If you watch the news regularly, you may have developed a bit of fear about the world we live in. Every evening, newscasts unleash information about the latest shooting, mugging, bank robbery or drug scandal. As a society, we are trained to be extremely cautious of our fellow man, even to the point where some of us will avoid going places that we need to go out of fear that something bad might happen. This clearly is no way to live, but you can’t escape the constant bombardment of bad news unless you choose to turn off the television and remain in ignorant bliss.

Although the news may tend to lean toward the negative side, terrible things do actually happen. Cities can be dangerous, and even rural areas can sometimes be shady during certain times. For this reason, many city planners are installing security cameras in areas that tend to have a lot of crime. However, since these cameras are not everywhere and they can’t prevent a crime from happening, you need to find other ways of keeping yourself safe.

1. Walk Tall and Be Confident

You may have heard the term “street smarts”, a method of describing someone who has their wits about them when dealing with difficult situations out in public. There is definitely truth to the idea that walking tall and appearing to know what you’re doing can bring you protection. It’s for this reason that many tourists are targeted for scams and thievery in foreign countries. They appear lost, confused and easy-to-manipulate. When exploring a new area, always try to appear as if you are moving with a purpose, even if you’re not exactly sure where you’re going.

        According to attorneys from The Perecman Firm in New York City:

       “When crime victims suffer serious physical and emotional injuries, they are rarely able to sue their attackers and obtain any meaningful compensation. However, in some cases a third party, usually a property owner,  be held partially responsible for crime-related injuries.”

2. Educate Yourself About The Area

Whether you’ve just moved into an urban apartment complex or you will be traveling to a foreign city for the first time, your first step in safety will be educating yourself on the area. Are there any areas that you will want to avoid? Is there anything in particular that you need to know to stay safe? That back alley behind your building may be a shortcut to the market, but you might think twice about walking it alone after finding out there have been multiple robberies there. Information is power, and the more you know, the better you can ensure your own safety.

3.  The Power of Numbers

Whenever you can, try to have someone with you when going out. If that’s not an option, let someone know your plans for that day. This “itinerary plan” can help you in the case that something happens to you and no one hears from you, at least your outing can be tracked. They should also have numbers to call in case of an emergency for you. Think of this as your own personal safety plan.

4. Take Measures to Protect Yourself

It’s never good to be paranoid of your fellow man, but there have been circumstances in which carrying pepper spray, or even a gun, has saved someone’s life. Naturally, the laws regarding carrying a concealed weapon vary depending on where you live, but pepper spray is legal in all 50 states and can be found online for purchase. Another good measure is to make sure that your cell phone is programmed with all the numbers you may need in an emergency. Being able to dial 911 at the push of a button could mean the difference between life or death if you were being attacked.

As much as you prepare, sometimes bad things happen that are simply unavoidable. If you’ve been the victim of a crime, your first step is to notify the authorities and press charges. Next, you will need to seek medical care for any injuries you received during the attack. Lastly, don’t avoid getting therapy if needed. Experiencing an attack is a very traumatic thing and many people don’t get over it easily. Sometimes, talking to a professional can help you move on.