You've heard of defensive driving, this is defensive walking. Self-defence begins with awareness. These are self-defence techniques that will help you stay out of situations in the first place:

- Look ahead in the street and be aware of dark corners and alleys, bushes, people loitering. Cross the road - if you have a 'feeling' there is a problem there is one.

- Walk purposefully, don't look at the ground nervously. Don't look like a victim. Criminals look for weakness, stand strong, keep your head up, stay alert.

- Avoid eye contact with dodgy looking people at any cost

- Walk facing the traffic to avoid cars pulling up behind you.

- Keep your MP3 player volume low so you can hear people coming up behind you

- Personal space: we all have a personal space around us and become uneasy when people enter this personal space. Keep strangers at arm's length.

- If a car pulls up to ask for directions stay out of arms reach

- Carry your bag on the side away from the road to make it harder for bag snatchers to run past and take it

- Judge situations realistically, don't assume everyone might be trying to hurt you, but don't assume they don't - a person slumped against a wall might be a drunk, or they might be pretending. An argument between a man and a sobbing woman might invite you to help, but she could be an accomplice. This places us all in a dilemma, and people usually choose to walk past.

- Most attacks happen: During summer, away from other people, from behind, when bars have recently closed.

- On public transport sit near the driver/conductor/guard, choose a compartment with lots of people in it. If your compartment empties, move to a busy one.

- On buses don't sit upstairs