Most people who are attacked by groups of people will tell you that they would have done something different if they knew the attackers. This is a valid point, but only if the attacker had warned people ahead of time. If the attacker is known to the group of attackers, and they know there will be trouble, then it’s even better to be aware than to try to defend yourself in a mob of people who have come looking for you! Here are a few 22 tips to stay safe in a crowd or riot.

First of all, be very wary of what you’re doing during an attack. You need to think about what your attacker is going to do while attacking you. Is he going to just punch you? Is he going to use his hands to hurt you? Or is he going to use some kind of weapon to hurt you?

The more you know about what’s going on beforehand, the better prepared you’ll be to defend yourself. During an attack, many attackers will try to surround you and hurt you physically as they move closer. If you can see multiple people trying to attack you, then you’ve likely been attacked already. There’s really no need to run, scream, or fight back; you can simply turn and run. Do not approach an attacker unless you’re within ten feet of him or her, and especially if you’re being attacked by a group.

If you are being attacked by a larger group, then you need to break away from the attack as quickly as possible. Don’t fight back; run to safety. If you cannot see anyone trying to attack you, then it is safe to try to run to safety. Look around and see if there are any other people in the crowd that you can identify as being part of the attack.

When you are attacked, remember to keep calm. Panic can only make things worse! Attackers want to make you feel scared, and if you allow yourself to be afraid, then they will have their job done. Keep your head up and walk away if you can; even if you feel danger, then keep walking.

Carry pepper spray wherever you go. Pepper spray can stop attacks in their tracks and make the attacker retreat. It also makes the crowd safer because the spray is non-lethal. Take extra precaution, however, when carrying spray around school or other group settings. Do not open the canister, unless you are told to do so. Failure to do so is highly likely to result in bodily injury.

Never run after an attack. It’s impossible to see someone who is being attacked, and if you attempt to flee, you put yourself in greater danger. Instead, keep moving and see where the attacker is going. Escapes tend to stick around for a while, but if you stay focused on protecting yourself, there’s a good chance that they will go away for good.

If an attack has happened to a friend or loved one, try not to blame yourself. Many people feel that they “owed it” to get attacked, and they end up behaving in a way that is counterproductive. Stay focused on getting help from the police and 911. It is also wise to get away from the scene as soon as possible.

Stay in school or at work during school hours as much as possible. Crowds tend to be calmer in the morning or at lunchtime, so staying home all day is generally not a good idea. Waiting until after school or work to go somewhere could increase the chance of an attack happening on your way home. If you must leave campus, make sure that you know how to get home safely, and call a ride from your parents or a friend on the way home with you.

Avoid crowds. A lot of people have been known to get into altercations with other people simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you feel like you need to be physically fit, do so in a gym or a public place, not in a parking lot. Being in the middle of a parking lot is very likely to inspire an attack from someone who already feels threatened. It’s best to just avoid large crowds altogether.

Carry a cell phone. Even if you are just going to school, it is better to have something available to call if you encounter an attacker. Some schools will provide you with a free cell phone after enrolling, but others won’t. There are many available options on the internet for free phones, though. It might also be a good idea to carry pepper spray, a mace device, or other self defense products with you to give yourself some added protection.

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