Personal safety and survival: 11 Skills that will help build your street savvy
By Zoey Sky // Jan 09, 2023

Street smarts are an asset, and they become even more important when SHTF.

If you live in the city, being alert and having street smarts can help you avoid a dangerous situation. Read on to learn more about 11 skills that can help build your street smarts. (h/t to

Street smarts refer to experience and knowledge or wisdom, hence the term streetwise. If you're not confident in your street smarts, it's something you can acquire over time with exposure and practice.

You can also improve your street smarts by being alert and observant.

Most adults have some level of universal savvy that applies to the streets, so this means no one is starting from scratch with this. If you want to improve your street smarts, detailed below are some skills that you might want to brush up on before SHTF.

Don't be "street dumb"

A lot of bad things that happen in the streets involve opportunistic trickery. You can avoid most of these dangerous scenarios by being alert and not walking around staring at your phone all day.

Even if you're not the savviest person, not looking like a potential victim is a step in the right direction. Start by being more confident and always being aware of your surroundings.

If you are traveling, this means not drinking too much, especially if you are with people you don't know that well. At the same time, don't look like a newbie who's lost so people don't take advantage of your "lost tourist" vibe.

Trust your instincts

The mind can be fooled, but in most cases, your gut can help you get out of a dangerous situation.

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Your instincts won't always be right, but many people often have a reasonably decent and accurate "radar." If something looks or feels suspicious, get out before things go south.

Overcome biases and preconceptions

Everyone has different biases and assumptions. People analyze and judge others based on certain clues and accepted social signs "as an evolutionary mechanism to save time [and] mental bandwidth and simplify decision-making."

While it's impossible to get rid of biases completely, you must open your mind so you can observe, learn and evaluate to connect with strangers.

But this doesn't mean opening up and lowering your guard. This skill can be useful for objective observation and social interaction, but you should always be alert and vigilant.

Learn how to recognize evil

Humans can be violent and cruel, especially when SHTF and they become desperate. To protect yourself from those who wish to do you harm, learn how to recognize evil.

Learn how to recognize lesser (but still harmful) evil

Humans are good at lying, and many people who take advantage of others will be very convincing if they think you have something worth stealing.

Not everyone is bad or has bad intentions, but many may try to lie and cheat after SHTF and they become desperate. (Related: 10 Prepper skills that will help improve your street-smarts.)

Having street smarts isn't about violence

While the level of physical danger in the streets is higher than inside a fancy restaurant, that doesn’t mean violence is prevalent.

It’s present and imminent, but in many civilized places, few situations really come down to any form of physical altercation. The street survival mindset dictates that you should be ready to deal with violence by avoiding, escaping, deflecting, or de-escalating.

Remember, street smarts isn't about violence, which you should only resort to for self-defense.

Accept that the world has changed

With various problems across the globe like pandemics and impending war, it's better to accept that the world has changed. To improve your chances of surviving when SHTF, stop fooling yourself into thinking that things will go "back to normal."

Don't waste your time on things like reality TV and instead make the most of your free time by learning useful prepping skills and getting supplies for your survival stockpile.

Beware of "debts" or baggage

Many people who live on the streets or make their living on the streets have "debts" of different natures like drugs, gambling or crimes. This "baggage" follows them all the time and being in the company of a stranger or strangers, you may become liable by association and at risk of sharing this burden.

When things go bad, you may end up having to answer for their actions. This highlights the importance of choosing your friends and allies carefully.

Never underestimate other people or threats

Even if you're an experienced prepper with many skills, there will always be someone who is stronger, smarter and more ruthless than you. Never get complacent even if it seems like you have the upper hand in a direct confrontation because you might get injured or worse.

Never presume to know the outcome of a fight. Keep that in mind and avoid trouble whenever possible. If you want to survive and stay safe in a survival scenario, let go of your ego and pride.

Don’t live in fear and paranoia

As preppers know, you can be prepared without living in fear and paranoia.

You can't prepare for every survival scenario, but if you familiarize yourself with events that are common in your area and take the necessary precautions, you can stop worrying and enjoy your life however you see fit. When SHTF, you can rest assured that you did what you could to protect and provide for your family.

Visit for more tips on how to prepare before SHTF.

Watch the video below for useful self-defense tips against a knife attack.

This video is from the Code Red Defense channel on

More related stories:

6 Essential skills everyone should learn for when SHTF.

SHTF essentials: Don’t forget to learn these 6 commonly overlooked survival skills.

Self-defense 101: Ways to protect yourself when facing a dangerous situation.

Sources include:

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