“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Summer is nearly here and so are the tourists. The influx of vacationers also brings an influx of criminals looking to take advantage of anyone they can… including locals. While it’s not necessary to avoid your favorite places and the beaches during tourist season, it is necessary to know some simple self-defense tips for the busy tourist season.

1. Be aware of your environment – Don’t be distracted by your phone or headphones, etc. Stick to well-lit areas and always keep an eye out for alternate paths or ways to exit a threatening situation. Have your eyes and ears attuned to your surroundings.

2. Use confident body language – Stand tall with your shoulders back and chin up. Not only does this make you a less desirable target than someone who is distracted, it also helps you better see your surroundings.

3. Use eye contact – Eye contact is a powerful thing. Use it when approached by anyone, especially potential attackers. Looking down or away shows intimidation and is more likely to make you a target.

4. Maintain boundaries – If anyone enters your personal space and makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, do not hesitate to act. The element of surprise when someone violates your boundaries can be good defense.

5. Trust your gut – If your gut instinct tells you a person or situation is unsafe, listen to it and get away as soon as possible! Never doubt your gut as you’ll waste precious time in getting to safety.

6. Be vocal – Speak up if someone approaches you in a threatening manner. Yell NO or STOP as loud as you can. This will possibly startle a potential attacker but also draw unwanted attention to him.

7. Know targets – If you have to defend yourself physically, know what targets to strike for. These targets include the knees, groin, eyes, temples, ears, nose and throat. If you have to strike, strike hard and fast and get away to safety as soon as you can.

8. Take a self-defense class – Self-defense classes teach you how to fend off an attacker. Having this knowledge and practice can be life-saving if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation.

9. Invest in tools – Invest in self-defense tools and know how to use them. Pepper spray, a taser, a stabbing keychain are all great tools to help you escape an attacker, as long as you know how to use them.

Tourist season brings in a flood of visitors to our area. While this is good for the local economy, it’s also often good for criminals looking for opportunities to mug or rob people. Knowing some simple self-defense tips can help you avoid being a victim this busy season.