How to Avoid Being Randomly Attacked

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Written by Bernie Carr

There seem to be more and more random attacks occurring lately, especially in large cities. Many of the victims of these brutal attacks are women who are just going about their day.

One on instance, a woman who was walking out on the street with her two children was slashed. More recently, a 24-year old graduate student who was working at an upscale furniture store was stabbed to death. I’m sure you’ve heard about the woman who was pushed to her death in front of an oncoming subway train.

I feel so sad for these victims and their families. Some do survive these attacks but many do not. These attacks happen so suddenly and seem to have no motive other than random impulses to kill. And there are still those others where the motive has been robbery; you have to watch out for those as well.

What are things you can do to protect yourself?

There are no easy answers to this problem, and many aspects are beyond our control, such as violent criminals getting paroled early, deranged individuals who should be institutionalized or on medication but are free in public. You might try to influence policies by participating in a community task force or voting but it takes time to fix society’s problems. All you can do is take steps on things you can control.

In some of the social media groups I have visited, some women have decided to take self-defense lessons. You can look into free lessons in your community, often given by law enforcement, church groups, library and senior citizen centers.

Pay attention to your surroundings

I can’t stress this enough: practice situational awareness at all times.

In our neighborhood social media, I read about a family with kids and the trouble that happened as they were exiting a restaurant on a late afternoon. As the family entered their car, a man with a baseball bat approached and started hitting their car windows with the bat. The man was yelling political views and cursing as he was hitting their car. The kids were terrified. The father drove the car as quickly as possible and left the parking lot. They then reported the incident to the police. Once again, this seems like a random attack. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

What could they have done? In this instance, it seems like the guy with the bat wanted an audience and targeted the family because they happened to be there. If the parents were exiting the restaurant and were paying attention, they would have spotted the guy with the baseball bat yelling obscenities. They could have perhaps stayed inside the restaurant a bit longer and waited until the guy walked away, or called the police from there. Of course, I wasn’t there so this is all just speculation on my part. Not trying to blame the victims, but hoping to learn from the incident so it doesn’t happen to someone else.

Anytime you’re out and about, don’t be looking at your phone. When walking to your car, home or office, look around you and really take in what’s going on. I’m guilty of this lack of attention at times. I sometimes have a bad habit of looking straight at something but multi-tasking in my own head that I don’t notice certain things. Now more that ever, pay attention to your surroundings.

Trust your gut

If you get a bad feeling about someone, immediately get away from that person no matter what. Your subconscious mind often picks up changes around you that your conscious mind might disregards. A person nearby may have ill intent and your intuition is telling you to flee. Put some distance or a barrier between yourself and the suspicious person.

Read this book: The Gift of Fear. It’s a great book that teaches the reader how to read the signs, observe behavior and use our very own basic but often ignored survival skill – our intuition.

Don’t let your innate politeness, fear of messing up or embarrassment stop you from doing what you need to do. Get away.

Don’t let them get close to you

Just as we have been keeping a six foot distance between people throughout this pandemic, keep a distance between yourself and strangers. Once they are within your personal space, it may be too late.

Carry a weapon

The old advice to carry your keys pointed outwards so you can jab an assailant does not work. Most keys are not sharp at all, and it would take a lot of force to make a difference. Get a real weapon and learn how to use it.

I like the Taser, as compared to the stun gun, since you have to be close to deploy the stun gun. I have also ordered pepper gel or so I can have it in my hand while walking or crossing a parking lot.

Whatever weapon you choose, learn how to use it. And you must have it in your hand, not in your purse or pocket while you are walking. The assailant will not wait for you to find it as you try to fish it out of your hiding place!

Parking tips

Park in a well-lighted area, that is close to the entrance or exit of your building.

Glance at the back seat before entering your car.

Do not sit in your car fiddling with your phone or the radio when you get in. First thing you do is lock the doors (front and back). As soon as you buckle up, leave right away.

If possible, walk with a group or have security escort you to the car.

If you’re attacked, fight as hard as you can and don’t allow yourself to be taken into their car.

If you think you’re being followed, don’t go straight home, as they will know where you live. Call the police.

The advice is not all-inclusive. What are a few things you are doing to protect yourself? Please share in the comments.

If you found this article interesting or helpful, please consider helping us out (without costing you anything)! We are an affiliate of, which means we received a small commission if you click through one of our Amazon links when you shop, at totally no cost to you. This helps keep the lights on at the blog. Thanks!

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

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  1. Good article. When it comes to a society-wide shutdown (no matter what the cause), I’m personally concerned about people now strolling around town with a mental disorder who will be cut off from their meds. Kids in school with ADHD or bipolar disorder or antisocial personality disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. There are other people on the streets (on probation or parole) only because their condition can be controlled with medication. Some of these folks you already know; you just don’t know they’re on drugs. And nobody has any idea the crazy stuff they’ll do when the meds stop. Yes, situational awareness is called for. Yes, put down your cell phone. And no, this is not the same world I grew up in.

    1. Hi Ron, It’s sad the world has come to this, where you have to be wary everywhere you go and no place seems safe. We don’t know who’s a crazy person anymore. I agree, it will only get worse if there is a grid down disaster. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Twice over the span of a year or so I walked out of church because someone alarmed me. The first time, I was sitting with my young son. Someone near us began acting very strange, and as I watched them, I felt like I had ice running through me. I collected my son’s things, and we walked out. The second time, my body didn’t react the same, but I was alarmed enough to get up and leave with my sons. Both times I was the only person to walk out of the service, both times security eventually intervened with the person.

    With the first time, I sat watching the man act strangely for a few minutes. He was moving around the sanctuary, left at one point, then came back. I sat there with that icy feeling, trying to decide what I should do. Looking around at everyone else wondering why no one was reacting. When he came back in, and continued acting strange, I decided I didn’t care if I made a scene by leaving. With the second experience, it only took a minute or two to decide that I needed to get my boys out of there. Intuition is a powerful thing.

    Another time, I was driving home in snow with my sons when someone on the road became very angry with me. I ended up behind him at a light going into our neighborhood. When we turned, he pulled off into a parking lane, but then got behind me after I passed him. He followed behind us all the way as I turned onto our street. I knew not to pull into our driveway, and kept going. I ended up sitting at a stop sign a few streets away, while I called the police. The man following us stopped at another corner and watched us for awhile. It was pretty scary. The roads were bad enough that I was afraid to try and go back uphill out of the neighborhood to the local gas station. The police never came out because they were so overwhelmed with accidents that day, but the officer called to make sure I got home ok, and said I did the right thing by not pulling into my driveway.

    1. Hi Melinda, Oh my, your gut was really telling you that danger was afoot during those times! I am glad you did not ignore these feelings. Scary that this happened a couple of times but glad you and your children were safe. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I appreciate your comment.

  3. Those were good comments by Ron and Melinda. I think that road rage is a big threat in these tense times. Be very polite while driving and do not yell or glare at anyone. If another person becomes threatening, stay in your car and have pepper spray available and use it, if this person tries to break in. Unless you are forced to stop because of a red light, try to remain safely mobile. If the person keeps following and threatening you, make sure he sees you calling the police on your phone. The overwhelmed police may never come, but the possibility of their intervention might make the angry person go away.

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