What It Takes to Be Street Smart

Employers, schools and parents want their staff, students and kids to be street smarts, but don’t know really how to achieve this. Is it something that can be taught? Should we have the police come in and list safety tips? What if we frighten them or make them paranoid? This article will assist in guiding people in the right direction when it comes to teaching “street smarts” or Personal Safety”. The right curriculum, delivered in an effective way will go along ways to motivating people to think about their safety, without scaring them or boring them to bits.

Being “street smart” isn’t about the ability to list a number of safety tips, or mastering self defense skills nor is it about having a security or police background. If we are talking about the mind set and abilities required to manage the various situations one might face on the street or perhaps at work, what is required is a shift in how we view and respond to conflict/potential violence. With the right curriculum, presented in an effective way, it should not require much time at all.

Personal safety is an emotionally loaded topic. To some it’s overwhelming to even begin thinking about. Due to upbringing, traumatic experience or perhaps even advice from others, some people believe or are more comfortable believing that they have no choice in how they might respond to a situation. There are others who are so busy preparing for the “inevitable” crisis that they fail to recognize that simple things can be done to avoid or prevent such events. So in order to uncover your staff’s, or student’s already existing “street smarts”, we need to remind them that;

-awareness does not equal paranoia
-assertive isn’t rude
-trust and act on intuition
-it’s OK to say no,
-they play a key role in enhancing safety and security at work, school

and that we all have choice in how preventatively to respond to situations (not victim blaming). Once motivated, participants will be far more likely to assume some personal responsibility and plan for probable events, as well as address the more remote possible events.

The right training can motivate employees to buy into the wearing of staff ID and politely approaching those without ID or a visitor’s pass. Staff, students will be more likely to trust their gut feeling and report the suspicious individual, question the person attempting to piggy back into the secure area and perhaps take the bomb threat evacuation drill more seriously. Fear and denial can quickly change to healthy levels of awareness, acknowledgment and confidence.