Practical Advice For Riding The NYC Subway From A Niseido Jujitsu Blackbelt

Here in NYC, as in many cities across the country, there has been a significant increase in crime. The subways in particular have seen a serious uptick in not just muggings but crimes of violence, with no reason. Indiscriminate violence, which is the definition of terrorism by the way. Almost everyday we hear or read about some one being pushed onto the tracks or being punched or doused with unidentified liquids. This past summer, there was even an attempted rape right on the platform. There is no denying it and it will not change as long as the current policing policies, remain in place. Too many criminals are being released on to the streets, and I’m not talking about marijuana possession. I do have hope with the incoming mayor Eric Adams.

While this trend will not reverse itself overnight, there are some things people, who are not Martial Artists, can do to protect themselves. First and foremost, is being aware of your surroundings. In a world of mobile phones, where so many people walk around with their heads down, headphones on and completely oblivious to what’s happening around them, it creates the perfect storm to becoming a victim. Criminals know who make easy targets. Most don’t want to assault or confront someone who sees them and might offer some resistance, even if it’s just to yell for help. Situational awareness will greatly reduce your odds of becoming a victim.

Second, stand in the center of the platform. Either end of the train is where many of the bad guys looking for victims, ride the trains. They know they are far away from the entrances and often help for victims and can make quick exits once they commit a crime. It’s tempting to ride either end of the train because they’re usually the place on the train where you can get a seat. But with ridership still only at just over 50% of where it was pre-pandemic, that’s no longer an issue.

Third, don’t stand by the edge of the platform. So many people do this in an effort to see if a train is approaching. That’s obviously the worst time to look for a train because if there is someone on the platform looking for a victim, there won’t be time for that person to get off the tracks before the train enters the station, especially if that person is injured. Standing with your back to a beam is always a good idea. The MTA has installed at many stations, the time of arriving trains, so there’s no reason to look for trains with that technology in place in so many stations throughout the system.

Fourth, when sitting or standing on a train, look around occasionally. Don’t just read or listen to music. What most untrained people don’t realize is that making believe an aggressive or threatening person isn’t there, by avoiding eye contact, doesn’t make you safer. It’s a plan based on hope and hope is not a plan. Once again it’s about situational awareness. Once on a train, there is no where to go, so you are responsible for your safety. Looking like you’re prepared or ready for whatever might transpire, goes a long way towards not becoming victim.

Finally, keep all valuables out of sight. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or at least put it away, until you exit to the street. Keep money, keys, wallets, credit cards in front pockets or inside jacket pockets, with zippers if available, where it’s difficult for someone to remove them. Don’t be a soft target. The more prepared you are not to become a victim, the less the chances of actually becoming a victim.

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