How to Stay Safe When No one is on the Streets
With so much information being shared on how to keep ourselves, and one another, healthy during COVID-19, it can feel overwhelming – believe me, I am inundated. With many of us existing in a world of seclusion, and rarely leaving our houses, physical safety seems like an afterthought. However, it never should be.
I spoke with the owner of Oakland’s KES Fitness, Kewesi Simon, to get an idea of how we can keep ourselves physically safe. A personal trainer, personal defense instructor, 15-year-long Oakland bouncer, and decades-long student of martial arts, Kewesi has some valuable advice on how to keep yourself safe.
One lesson that Kewesi hammers home to his students and friends alike, is that maintaining awareness of your physical surroundings is a critical factor in keeping safe. It goes back to the basic belief, the more you see, the more you absorb in your surroundings, the better you are. Some easy, but important tips include not wearing headphones or earbuds, keeping a visual on who is around you, and making sure you aren’t focused on your phone. Sure, with shelter in place being observed, the streets are emptier, but that shouldn’t make you drop your awareness.
I’m sure that, much like myself, you’ve been having people tell you about the buddy system since the beginning of time. As nagging and silly as it seems, it fucking works. If you’re going out, shopping, ATM-ing, and at some undefined time in the future, hitting the town, bring a bud. Not only do you have someone to share in the woes of tracking down toilet paper and bank balances, it also gives you both another set of eyes (please do refer back to the aforementioned subsection). What if you’re isolating alone? You can still set up a buddy system, just make sure that you both stay at least 6 feet apart from one another.
Think About Timing
Look, I’m a night owl. I always have been, I always will be, and that’s totally fine. However, just because you want to be out and about in the night, doesn’t mean that it’s the best time to hit the ATM, grocery store, or other chore-based activities. Sure, there aren’t many people around, but as Kewesi told me, this can mean that you’re all the more attractive to someone who might wish you harm. The easiest way to combat this? Dial the clock back, go earlier, go in the morning if you can.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact with people may sound minor, but it’s actually pretty powerful stuff. To put it simply, as Kewesi explained it to me, establishing eye contact with someone lets them know that you are aware of their presence, that you see them. While it might not stop every case of physical harm, people are less likely to make a move if they know you are paying attention to them.
Protect Your Home
Sure, we need to keep an eye on ourselves when we’re out and about, keeping your home safe is important too. The easiest, though most expensive, way to do this is to get some kind of home security system. Ones that include cameras, lights, and an alerting system are obviously the best, but not all of us have that kind of money. If you can’t do the whole deal, having motion sensor lights is an excellent place to start. It gives people who might be trying to break in less ambiguity and lets you see what’s going on outside.
Ultimately, at some point in time, when we move to a place that is beyond this pandemic, our commitment to the safety of ours and our friends will hopefully remain. After all, it’s one of the best qualities that we as humans have – a sense of responsibility towards ourselves and others. For those who want to learn more about personal defense training, Kewesi is conducting online training sessions. You can reach him here for a free consultation. I hope you are all safe, happy, and healthy. Take care of yourselves and one another.