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Self defense crime prevention tips

This is an excerpt from Teaching Self-Defense in Secondary Physical Education by Joan L. Neide.

In an emergency, dial 911

Three factors must be present for crime to occur: desire, ability, and opportunity. While citizens may not be able to change an individual’s desire and ability to commit a crime, they can significantly reduce that person’s opportunity by following simple crime-prevention rules.

Crime is prevented when citizens develop good habits that take away the opportunity for criminals to operate.

At Home

  • Use your door viewer before opening your door.
  • Secure your home before leaving it. Unless it is used, the world’s best lock is useless.
  • Don’t hide your house key under mats, over doors, or in flower pots.
  • Use interior and exterior lighting to discourage unwanted visitors.
  • Have keys ready in your hand for fast entry to your home.
  • Report suspicious loiterers in your neighborhood to the police.
  • Place identification markers on all property. Most burglars will not steal marked property.
  • If you know people who live alone, remind them not to list their addresses in the telephone directory.
  • Demand identification before admitting sales or repair people, especially if you were not expecting them.
  • Leave the bathroom light on while sleeping or away at night. A lit bathroom light gives the impression that someone is home and up, which can deter a burglar.


  • Plan your route ahead of time, and never walk alone at night. Arrange to walk with a friend or a dog.
  • Use well-lit streets, not dark alleys or bushy areas.
  • Carry signaling devices like shrill alarms, shriek alarms, or a whistle to summon help in case of attack.
  • Be alert! Look over your shoulder occasionally.
  • Never ask for or accept rides from strangers.
  • Avoid displaying or carrying large amounts of money.
  • Avoid wearing or displaying valuable jewelry in public.
  • Don’t resist an armed robber. Hand over whatever is demanded quickly and quietly. Your life and safety are worth more than your personal effects.

Purse Protection

  • If possible, don’t carry a purse.
  • Carry your purse against the front of your body, with your forearm across the front of the purse and your elbow held tightly against your side.
  • Carry your keys, wallet, and other valuables in coat or pants pockets.
  • Carry only minimal amounts of cash and few credit cards. Keep a record of card numbers in a safe location in your home in case your cards are lost or stolen.
  • Carry the purse over your shoulder, and wear a coat over the purse if possible.
  • Don’t let your purse hang loosely in your hand. Doing so invites a thief to grab it.
  • Never carry anything you can’t afford to lose in your purse. If a purse carrying valuables is snatched, you may want to fight to keep it. It’s better to surrender your purse than to fight for it.


  • Always look inside your car before entering.
  • Make sure all doors are locked before starting the car.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If a stranger approaches while you are in your car, keep your windows closed, your door locked, and the engine running.
  • Install a trunk release button inside the car.
  • Engrave automobile stereo systems with your driver’s license number before installation.
  • Remember to park in well-lit areas at night.
  • Keep the ignition key with you at all times.
  • Lock all doors when leaving your car.
  • Use your garage.
  • Protect tires and rims with wheel locks.
  • Consider using a good automobile burglar alarm system.
  • Use locking gas caps or antisiphon screens.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car. Put them in the trunk or cover them if you don’t have a trunk.

Call the police immediately if you are attacked. Ask witnesses to stay until the police arrive.


This is an excerpt from Teaching Self-Defense in Secondary Physical Education.