Personal Protection Gear for Walkers

Crime can happen anywhere, but I always felt safe walking in daylight hours in my city. But when two attempted rape/abductions happened on the greenway trail I walk frequently, I knew it was time to carry a deterrent.

A dog or a human walking companion are the best choices for enhanced safety from attack by a stranger. However, I don't have a dog and I want to be able to walk alone rather than trying to meet up with a walking partner every time.

I am also concerned about dog attack. I have been charged by off-leash dogs on the greenway. I don't want to harm any animal, but I don't want to be bitten, either.

Pepper spray is legal in my area. It was my first choice as I could carry it visibly, unlike a firearm which can only be carried concealed (if you have a permit.) The bad guys could see it in my hand and wait for an easier target. If a dog charges me I could spray him without fear I had injured him.

1
Mace Jogger Pepper Spray

Mace Jogger Model Defense Spray
Mace Jogger Model Defense Spray. Courtesy of Amazon.com

This design was just what I was looking for. The hand strap has the word "Mace" in large letters where would-be perpetrators can see it when I wear it. The canister has grip indentations so you know the stream will be pointing in the right direction. It has a flip top to protect it from any accidental press. I can rest my thumb on the flip top as I walk but the hand strap keeps the canister secure in my hand without having to grip it. It has a 10% oleoresin capiscum formulation, which is usually the maximum allowed for personal protection. It has a stream spray pattern effective at up to 12 feet.

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2
Blingsting Pepper Spray

Blingsting
Blingsting. Courtesy of Amazon.com

Blingsting is an attractive pepper spray canister. It is easy to carry in your hand as you walk. It has a keychain and a clip so you can clip it inside your pack or on a belt loop. The 0.5-ounce canister has a 10% oleoresin capiscum formulation. The trigger button has a safety position so you shouldn't be able to easily discharge it by accident, although it is not as secure as the flip top on the Mace Brand Jogger model.  I like that the expiration date is printed on it.

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3
Walking Stick or Walking Poles

Leave Me Alone!
Leave Me Alone!. Wendy Bumgardner ©

A stout wooden walking stick can be a good defense weapon. Aluminum walking/trekking poles can also make you look like a harder target. If you see a suspicious person you can hold your stick or poles defensively. I think I scared my husband who took this photo of me ready to fight back.

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4
Personal Safety Alarms - Whistles - Scream

Mugger Stopper Plus Personal Alarm
Mugger Stopper Plus Personal Alarm. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

A loud alarm may send a would-be attacker slinking back into the shadows. There are many personal safety alarms available that can be carried as a key fob and kept handy as you walk. Some also have a strobe light.

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5
Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG Whistle

Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG Whistle
Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG Whistle. Courtesy of Amazon.com

A loud whistle is another option - it is one of the hiker's 10 essentials to use for signaling for help. A brightly-colored whistle around your neck might signal a perp to steer clear of you. This model comes in many different colors.

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6
Personal Safety Apps

Using a Mobile Cell Phone at Night While Walking
Distracted Walking vs. Safety Apps. James Whitaker/Digital Vision/Getty

A smartphone may or may not be a deterrent. If you are engrossed in texting or zoning out to tunes you may not appear vigilant to a potential perpetrator. But if you stay aware of your surroundings, you may also want to use one of these apps which can alert others if you feel threatened. That seems unlikely to do much good before an attack, but may enhance your survival after one.

7
Scream

You should practice being your own loud safety alarm. Screaming at a potential threat with your "angry mom voice" is your first line of defense. Screaming "Leave me alone!" can bring assistance and send the perp away to find a quieter target.

Disclosure

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer for one of the listed items. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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