There is an oft-referred to distinction between "book smarts" and "street smarts," of which the former may refer to good grades and hard work, the latter generally refers to common sense and self-preservation. There is a perceived binary between the two which is generally untrue.

There are some "street smart" things you're generally expected to know--like, can you take a right on red in your state? Is it better to lie to keep the peace or tell the truth? Is it safe to cross the street?


u/breadedsnake asked Reddit:

What are some street smarts everyone should know?

Here were some of those answers.


Surroundings

1-Situational awareness would probably be the biggest thing I'd stress to people. These days everyone's so buried in their phones, they don't pay attention.

2-Walk with a purpose, act like you belong and you're 100% in charge of your sh!t. This combined with 1 will probably keep you out of trouble 99% of the time

3-If you can, control the situation. Your gut instincts are often right, and when they're telling you to leave, you should. Sometimes people prevent that from happening, but as a general rule I try to control the situation by LEAVING. I'll try again and again.

k0uch

Nobody Better Follow You

I grew up in a a pretty rough neighborhood in chicago and probably the best thing you should do when walking by yourself at night is pay attention to every car.

Usually they'll drive past you and scope you out, if you look like a target you'll see that car again, or they'll meet u farther down your path while you're walking past an alley. Always be ready for something when walking past an alley and stay close to the houses, that way if anything's suspicious, you can run into a backyard.

cooliooh

Like Being On A Plane

Always know where the exits are in any place that you enter so that you don't get lost in an emergency.

Also, never place yourself in a "hole" in public where there is only one entrance and exit and no other people around. These are often crime hotspots.

StefanFaniePetrus

Solid Advice For A Kid

Street smarts to give your kids: if you get lost, find the the closest adult with kids.

I saw this in action once at Disneyland when a 4 year old kid approached me and my kiddos while we were eating. She joined us very calmly, introduced herself, and said her parents gave her the above advice. I heard her parents shouting her name not long after, and the relief on their faces was a sight.

Aguacero7

Just In Case...

If you're going to be away on holiday or somewhere you're unfamiliar with for any length of time, it's a good idea to try to always make sure that someone knows roughly where you're going to be and what you're going to be doing on a given day.

Even if you're like me and you don't like to plan out a full itinerary, a rough indication of what your plans might be can help work out your movements if ever there is an issue.

lukemantel

Scams Or Thieves

Here are a few of street smarts that makes it harder for pickpockets to steal your stuff:

  • Do not keep your wallet in the backpocket of your jeans. This is a super easy place for pickpocket to take it from.
  • When in crowed touristy areas it sometimes is better to wear your backpacks or purses to the front of your body. If you sit down in a restaurant, keep your backpack in front of your feet.
  • Be especially aware of your belongings when there is a bit of pushing, like when entering a subway or metro wagon.
  • Be alert in situations where a potential group of thieves try to distract you for example by asking you for directions on a map. While you are distracted by showing the person the directions another thief will open your bags and take your stuff without noticing.
  • Edit: Another thing to lookout are people in European cities asking for cash donations for the blind, deaf or handicapped. The huge majority of them are not for real charities but just to A) get some money from me and B) more importantly for an accomplice to see where you store your wallet.

Area Of Time

Every answer on the street in a not-so-nice area is No.

"hey can i have a cigarette?" no

"hey you got the time?" no

"hey can i borrow your phone to make a call?" no

Stick-up men wanna see your hands. If they can see your hands, they know you don't have a weapon and will be easier to rob.

Barmello_Xanthony

Walk Like You Own The Place

Be aware of surroundings, look like you belong either through body language, attire, or occupation (without being oblivious to things around you).

The moment you look lost, out of place, or unsure is the moment you can look like a good target. If someone is looking at you with an expression questioning why you are there, be prepared to answer it with confidence and give an answer they would accept, or be prepared to leave before they can ask.

SpecificFail

Once Again Awareness

From experience :

  1. If you're alone on the street and you think you're being followed, immediately call someone, forget about conversation starters, and give away your location. You should add " I think I'm being followed". Speak loudly enough so the person you think is following you hears you doing it. If you're right and they were following you, that will be a big turn off. If you're wrong you have nothing to lose.
  2. It might sound harsh, but if anyone approaches you and asks to use your phone for anything ( especially emergency-related ), don't fall for it. They will usually tell you what the "emergency" is, so walk away, tell them you don't have a phone/whatever, and for your inner peace call the emergency and give away that person's location. Tell them exactly what the person told you. Either they really needed help and you're sending it their way, or they tried to trick you into something horrible and will most likely try it again with the next passerby.
  3. Whenever you are, plan ahead and blend in with the crowd. I mean don't dress all-fancy in the hood-kinda thing.
  4. Please, for the love of God, stop using your earphones while on the street. At least try to only have one earbud in if you can't help it. It' s not healthy ( ear fatigue, potential risks to your hearing, etc.) but at least it won't completely cover the background noises.

Talky Talk

If you're walking and someone approaches, don't break stride. You can carry on a conversation while walking, but people who are looking to proselytize, sell you something, or mug you will want you to slow or stop to address them.

If they want to chat, make them keep up with you. You can even tell them that you're in a rush but would love to talk and walk.

They'll likely find someone more stationary, because if you can make a person slow, you can make them stop. If you can make them stop, you've already adjusted their priorities and placed yourself at the top.

It's a subtle power game. Keep going where you're going, and you retain your power. Stop and cat, and you've given it up and opened yourself to possible problems.

Diablo165

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