Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Welcome to the first in our Guard Yourself series. Today we will be discussing our first line of defense: awareness.
This is not a feeling of paranoia where you're always looking over your shoulder, but merely being present in the moment and aware of your surroundings. Keep your nose out of your phone and other people's business and observe. As you're observing, you're establishing a baseline.
A baseline is just the overall "feel" of the environment. If you're at a nice restaurant, it's usually rather quiet and secluded. If you're at a concert it's usually loud and crowded close to one another. Judge your environment for yourself and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary from what you perceive.
Next, locate all the exits. Again, this isn't paranoia, just a good thing to do. Just like putting on a seat belt, you're developing a plan just in case something goes wrong, not being scared something will always go wrong.
Finally, where possible, orient yourself so that you have a view of the entire venue and the exit or multiple exits. In a restaurant, ask for a table at the back wall. At the concert, try not to be in the middle of the crowd. Again, have a plan, but be present and enjoy the outing and the ones with which you share it.
Be alert, be aware, stay safe.