When panic and desperation start hitting the streets, being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be a death sentence. You only have to go on YouTube to see the worst of what humanity has to offer, and while we’ve indeed had some rough months recently, it’s hard to imagine just how bad things will get when the SHTF. Because it’s not going to be pretty.
Without law and order or any threat of repercussion, people will do some pretty terrible things. If you’re starting to see things descending into chaos my only advice would be to get out and head somewhere safe, but you still need to get there. Here’s how you can safely make it through unfriendly streets and hostile environments without risking your life.
Blend in with everyone else
Choosing the right clothes is your first line of defense. Because you want to blend in with everyone else you may encounter. In a riot, you don’t want to be the only businessman in a suit, and the same logic applies here. If you’re in the woods, opt for your hunting gear so you’re almost invisible, but in the city I’d recommend dark clothes, complete with a jacket and a hood so you can pass through any crowds without drawing attention to yourself.
Travel in two’s or three’s
Of course, one person can operate with a lot more stealth than a group, but there will always be safety in numbers. I’d recommend sticking to groups of two or three people, because it’ll give you people who can back you up in any confrontation. Especially if you’re armed, the bad guys will think twice about taking on a group as they would simply overpowering someone who is walking alone through the streets.
Don’t engage potential threats
When I say this, I’m not saying to ignore them completely. But you don’t want to get drawn into a potential confrontation either. Quickly responding to their threats or comments with a “thanks,” or a nod acknowledges their presence, while you quickly get out of there. Stopping to engage with their catcalls, threats or whatever it is they’re doing to get your attention is far too dangerous, and it usually results in a situation quickly escalating.
Travel with a weapon
I’ve got the permits to carry concealed, and my recommendation during any dangerous times you ensure you’ve got a firearm on you, or some other form of self-defense weapon like a knife. Remember, criminals are looking for easy targets, you just don’t want to be one yourself. But one word of warning, against a large crowd even a firearm won’t do you any good against the masses, so be careful before pulling your gun out. It might make things worse.
Keep your gear minimal
This is critical if you’re in a SHTF-type event, because carrying a giant backpack full of survival gear through an unsafe location is like painting a giant target on your back. The people who have nothing, who are starving and hungry will give in to their desperation and won’t hold back taking your gear from you. Keep your packs lean, and preferably out of sight under a jacket or a coat so you’re not singled out as an easy score.
Escape at the right times
Under the cover of darkness is the best time to make your moves, because it’s easier to stick to the shadows and blend in. But it also requires you to be quiet, as everything is so much more still during the night, and you risk coming face-to-face with the criminals who prefer to operate after night falls. Personally, I’d wait to escape at the latest hours of the morning, we’re talking 3 or 4am, when you’ve got the highest chance most people are still asleep.
Be ready to change course
It’s also important to remember that one particular route may be more dangerous than others. If you’re getting a weird feeling down a certain road, or something ahead looks like a road block or some other obstacle, it’s important you’re ready to change course and fund another way to escape. If you’re quick there will be many routes out of a city, it’s just a matter of planning ahead so you know where to go when one is no longer safe.
Don’t give in and run
Walking at a quick pace through unfriendly streets is far better than running, because it allows you to pay more attention to what’s going on around you. It’s also quieter, and you can take measured and deliberate steps instead of letting your shoes slap the pavement with every stride. Panicked running also gets you lost, and you may find yourself trapped in an alley in even worse circumstances than you were initially in. Don’t give in and run.
Lock down your car
Finally, and if you’ve got the luxury of still having a vehicle as all this goes down, I would recommend using a car to quickly get through. I’d just keep your lights off so you’re not a giant beacon weaving through the streets, with your windows cracked so you can hear anyone on approach, but all of your doors locked. It creates a small barrier that’s hard for an attacker to break through quickly, and in a pinch - you can stomp the gas and get away fast.
When you have to navigate through unfriendly streets to escape whatever crisis you’re getting away from, it’s important to keep these rules in mind. Because while people for the most part are “good,” when they’re desperate and in crisis mode, you can never really know what they’ll do when their very survival is up against the wall. Don’t give them any reason to notice you, as you make your escape. The key here is stealth, and getting in and out before they even realize you’ve passed through. That’s how you’ll travel safely.