The newspapers are full of horrifying stories recently concerning violent street attacks. If it isn’t bad enough that terrorist attacks in cities are more frequent, now the latest trend seems to be acid and moped attacks. But why is this happening?
Times and trends seem to change much more rapidly than previous decades. The internet, font of so much information, can be used for good and bad causes. Criminals can research online too. The internet is also a haven for sick-minded people to fuel their twisted ideologies.
Our society seems to be more divided now than ever. Is it the rich/poor divide getting worse, lack of border controls, cuts in police funding, people living more stressful lives? Or is it a combination of several factors?
Just like armed bank robberies are a thing of the past, there have been many changes to the ways criminals operate today. Online bank fraud is more prolific than before. People don’t carry so much cash these days and so street robberies for money are fewer. Thefts of mobile phones are more common.
The gang culture has undoubtedly got worse. One police officer recently admitted to me that there are no-go zones for the police force in London and that the general public is unaware. I was astounded! It’s no longer shocking to see on social media one person getting attacked by a rabid mob whilst many film it purely for entertainment.
I believe that now more than ever, we need to be more vigilant when out and about. Attacks from criminals on motorbikes have rapidly increased. I’ve recently seen video footage on social media of moped riders robbing pedestrians, car drivers and other moped riders.
Acid attacks are on the increase too with 464 reported attacks in the UK last year. This horrendous crime is virtually impossible to defend against. It also has a devastating effect on victims causing life-changing injuries. This disturbing act shows a psychological sickness of those willing to use it. Hydrochloric acid (drain cleaner) is easier to buy, conceal and use than more traditional weapons like knives and guns.
So my 7 tops tips for staying safe are:
- Choose the areas you visit wisely. Some places are more prolific for crime than others.
- Choose the times that you are in public places wisely too. Criminals prefer to act late at night when there are fewer witnesses.
- When driving a car, lock your doors and keep your windows shut or just partially open. Under no circumstances stop and get out of your car for anyone who flags you down even if they look distressed.
- Get your head up from your mobile phone whilst in public and be aware of who’s around you. This will give you time to react and get out of the way to safety.
- Walk with confidence and don’t stop to talk to anyone. This deters criminals. They like soft, compliant victims.
- When walking on the pavements, walk on the side of the road against the traffic. This will give you more time to see vehicles mounting the pavement.
- Prepare for the worst. Learn and regularly practice a martial art that teaches ‘pressure tested’ self-defence techniques. This will hone your mind and body in the event of an unprovoked attack.
Sensei Stephen O’Brien