Are You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy

Are You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor SurvivalToday I would like to talk about street smarts and the development of a street smart attitude in a survival situation.  But first let us start with a definition.  The Urban Dictionary describes street smart as the prevailing trait of “someone who is intelligent, has good common sense, knows how to handle bad situations, and has the skills necessary to function where they live”.

For our purposes, you could say that “Street Smart” is the ability to recognize what is going on in the world and the place that you live in.  That plus having the physical and mental tools to adapt and survive within that world and that place.  That is my definition and I like it.

So imagine this:

There is chaos around you (due to a natural disaster, civil unrest, massive unemployment, whatever) and even though you stay close to home, you must venture out to go to your job, take your kids to school, and to periodically make a trip to the grocery store.  And yet the moment you step outside you can feel the tension.

What do you do?

Trust you instincts and stay alert:  You know those gut feelings of yours?  Now is the time to pay attention.  If something around you seem “off”, walk away and retreat to safety.  Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that you are frightened even if you feel foolish after the fact.  Bad vibes are bad vibes so trust yourself and you will be fine.

Evaluate the risks:  Headed to unfamiliar area?  Evaluate the risks so that you are prepared.  Dress to blend in, don’t carry a lot of obviously expensive electronics, and don’t call excessive attention to yourself.  If the area in under siege, evaluate your need to even go there.  Is it worth the risk?

Are You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival

Evaluate your home security and create a safe zone:  Make sure the outdoor area of your home is well lit and that the foliage and shrubbery is trimmed around the perimeter of your home site.  The last thing you want is a convenient hiding place for the bad guys right there on your property.  I have written about this extensively before but in you need information check A Dozen Home Security and Crime Prevention Tips for the Prepper here on Backdoor Survival and Is Your Home a Target for the Bad Guys? 12 Things You Can Do Now on Strategic Living.

Also, check with your local police or sheriff’s department; many will offer a complementary home security survey.  All you need to do is ask.

Situational awareness:  Teach yourself to actively look for signs of threats and dangers.  Crime can be anywhere but tends to be more prevalent in dark, quiet areas such as parking garages, alleys, stairs, and lonely roadways.  As you enter these areas, look around for things that don’t seem quite right.  Trust your gut!

Know your neighborhood:  Reach out and get to know your neighbors and members of your community.  I have said this before and will say it again:  talk among yourselves and come up with a plan to work together and to look after each other during a crisis or disaster.

Every day carry items:  Increase your ability to defend yourself and get attention.  This can be as simple as carrying a whistle, some pepper spray and a small flashlight.  Or, depending on your situation, this could include a knife or firearm.  For an excellent discussion of knives, see Survival and The Survival Knife: Everything You Need to Know and More.

What to do if you feel threatened

Attitude is everything and can make a huge difference.  Do not give off signals that you feel vulnerable and threatened.  Nope – don’t do that.  On the other hand, do not purposely walk in to a dangerous situation.  Instead, withdraw as quietly and unobtrusively as you can and retreat to an area where there are more people around.  Worse case, run away while making a loud noise (remember that whistle?)

The Final Word

Having street smarts takes common sense and the ability to deal with all kinds of people in a myriad of contentious situations.  While having well honed street smarts is essential for urban dwellers, street smarts are also an important skill for those in a rural community or remote area.

There is no better time than now to practice a street smart and street savvy attitude.  Above all, be safe.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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Sabre Compact Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key RingAre You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival: The portability of this pepper spray adds to its appeal since it can be easily carried on a key ring or in a handbag or backpack.

Mace Screecher Personal AlarmAre You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival:  When shopping for a whistle or pocket alarm, read the review and make sure whatever you choose is LOUD!

Nano Light Keychain LED FlashlightAre You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival:  I have dozens (literally!) of mini-LED flashlights.  They are in my purse, my car, my nightstand, my desk drawer and the pockets of my parka and coat.  This one is especially nice but you can also find models for about $3 on Ebay.

SOG M37-N SEAL Pup:  One of many very popular knives.  Plus, for the budget conscious, the very nice Kershaw OSO Sweet KnifeAre You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival for less than $25.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: The book is about $15 and a true treasure. Recommended not only for the recipes, but for the heartwarming anecdotes that fondly recall memories of life when all you could count on was yourself and strength of the family unit.

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Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.

Are You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival

I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites ComboAre You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy   Backdoor Survival from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round. With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice.

The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.

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Are You Street Smart? Urban Survival Tips for the Street Savvy — 5 Comments

  1. Great advice. I learned something. A good quote from the TV show Farscape: ” Fear accompanies the possibility of death, calm shepherds it’s certainty”.

  2. Had some good tips and enjoyed the article. I wanted, however, add some comments of my own regarding street smarts and add a new perspective to three of the tips. Street smarts, to me, is being able to blend into the environment as far as dress, language, and awareness of where a person is and the threats. In short, what it takes to survive in a certain situation.The quickest way to get mugged is to dress preppy in a bad area. Example of street smarts: A friend of mine, on Christmas Eve, avoided being mugged when he was approached by two shady characters while walking . When approaching the duo and assessing the threat, he immediately slid his hand into his pocket as if reaching for a pistol. They saw what he did and , though they were probably armed, figured he had the “jump” on them and could fire first.They said a simple “hello” and avoided him. As for the new perspective on some of the tips: understand that alot of neighbors, mine and those of my friends, have no more interest in being neighborly than a man in the moon . If they don’t seem interested in getting to know you, accept the fact you have to depend on members of your own household and not neighbors if things go bad and those neighbors will be the ones banging on your door for food. Two, understand this, no one is going to pay attention to a whistle or car alarm. Believe me when I say this! I worked 8 1/2 yrs college security and no one pays attention to car alarms sounding or whistles blowing , except the latter on the athletic field. I seen alarms sounding for as long as 15 minutes with students walking around the vehicle to go to class. In fact, you can get a ticket from the police for disturbing the peace. One man did.In the county I live in, there is a $150. fine, which doubles on second calls, for intrusion alarms that prove to be false and police, fire, or rescue have responded to. The ticket is issued by the police. So what do you do when threatened? If there is a chance to flee, take it. If cornered, do what you have to do to protect yourself. Third and last, understand that with the economy getting worse, home invasions are getting bolder and can and do occur during the day and not some much after darkness anymore. Keep that in mind when adopting threat awareness. A friend told me today, a family came home and went to enter their home, and the home invader followed them in. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that with the economy worsening and making people more desperate, the rules for personal and home security are changing. I speak from experience regarding street smarts.

  3. this is a little late in posting, I don’t always get to see every article. anyway. I was taught at a young age to always be aware of my surroundings, observe who is around, and their actions. this saved me when i averted being kidnapped when i was about 5 waiting for the school bus. from then on, my parents were always there waiting with me. stay away from anyone who is acting shifty. if you are around people and it looks like a crowd might go into a frenzy, quietly remove yourself, the middle of a crowd is the worst place to be. also when you enter a store, don’t linger around he entrance.

  4. If the SHTF, there will naturally be more crime, as everything legal will implode and everything else will be literally exploding! Crime will be rampant, as there will be No Law Enforcement capable of handling the rebellion! You can put your head between your legs and kiss it goodbye or you can be ready to survive! I choose being ready to survive (and I am)!!!

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