Safety first: Tips and tricks to get you through the night

Portland State issued a crime alert email on February 19 that reported 14 car break-ins since February 1 in various parking structures around campus.

At 9:30 p.m. on the February 17, a male student was confronted by an assailant attempting to break into his car.

Campus Public Safety Office offered tips to students for crime prevention following the description of the incident. No strategies offered included self-defense.

Get around safely

Before leaving for your night out, plan to have a safe ride home. Let someone know where you are or walk/drive together. If you plan to take an Uber, Lyft or cab, be sure your phone is charged. When walking, avoid badly lit or isolated areas. Keep your cell-phone handy in case you need to make an emergency call. Be aware of the environment around you. Note other’s movements and remember your surroundings.

After the fun’s over, if you have to take the bus, wait in a well-lit area. Once on the bus, sit up front and share a friendly chat with the bus driver—especially if you’re alone. This will leave you less isolated, but also make the ride go faster.

If you plan to drive, try to park in a busy area. Make sure nothing valuable is visible, and keep your keys ready and your phone within quick reach when returning to your vehicle.

Avoid dangerous encouters

The Take Defense Foundation, an organization focused on self-defense and safety awareness, stated that, “Knowledge is the best defense.” Take note of a few of their examples:

If you’re walking and a car pulls up beside you, increase your distance away from the moving vehicle. Take note of the license plate number if you get the chance.

If someone is following you, make it obvious that you notice your follower. They may give up just because you’re suspicious. You can also change directions and head towards other groups of people or go into a store.

If someone follows you while you’re driving, don’t head straight home and exit your vehicle. Go straight to a police station or a nearby business and ask for help.

If you are being assaulted, let them take your valuables without force. Arguing or fighting could escalate the situation and leave you injured, which is worse than letting those things go. Your well-being is far more valuable.

And most importantly, follow your instincts.

A couple easy self-defense moves:

CBS News outlined two simple self-defense moves.

The first is known as “The V-Trigger” and recommended to use when grabbed by one arm. First, curl your free hand into a fist. Second, “Look for spot on back of attacker’s hand that is directly below the V formed by the first and second fingers and close to the knuckles,” Third, punch that spot. Then make sure to try to run and scream to attract attention.

Another move called “Shin Insertion” works best when both your hands are restrained. Use your foot to kick upward as hard as you can at a 45-degree angle. Continue this until the attacker stops, and then make sure to yell and run for help.

If you’re interested in trying out some moves for yourself, a section within the Portland Police Bureau, “Women Strength” has taught free self-defense classes since 1979.