Tips: Public Places

Public places in crowded urban environments have many challenges. From safety, to difficulty of movement, public spaces present us with a unique microcosm of things we need to negotiate and deal with. Large gatherings of people tend to attract many things, including those that are good, and some that are bad, very bad.

I talked already about situational awareness before, and I mentioned that each place has its own pace and patterns of life. The sooner you can learn that “normal”, the sooner you’ll be able to detect things that deviate from this, giving you the edge to react and adapt to a possible threat, or a developing one. This is particularly true on public locations, where things tend to develop organically, and can get chaotic very quickly.

So, how can you make sure you have an easier, safer commute on this environment? Simple:

  • Understand when those public locations are the most crowded. When it’s rush hour. If you can, avoid these places then.

  • If you can’t avoid them, move fluidly and don’t linger, unless you have to. Going light and fast will not only provide safety, but it will make the commute overall less stressful. Learn to be light and fluid.

  • Don’t attract attention to yourself. Remain neutral both in posture and in colors (clothing). Don’t display flashy items like expensive jewelry and brands.

  • Try to remain on the periphery of the area. Walk onside the main or central points of the public places. Avoid things like the information booth at a main train station, for example, or its main hall. Go straight for your track or bus stop, and take the route that both provide the least amount of people, and the most cover.

  • Smile. If you smile and people see you are friendly, good things happen if something bad happens. (Yes, I make no sense… But I do).

In short, public places are almost always unavoidable during a commute. That is ok. However, make sure you have a good understanding of what can go wrong. Then, relax, pay attention and have a better commute.