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Power perceived is power achieved

The last thing in the world you want is to come face to face with a violent criminal who is ready, willing and able to hurt you to get something you have - or because he just feels like it.

Self-defense doesn't start at the time of a confrontation with one of these guys - it ends there. Since you'll never know until it's too late whether a violent criminal is going to hurt, rape or kill you, you have to assume you're dealing with your very survival if you find yourself in a confrontation with or an attack by a stranger. There is nothing any of us can do to guarantee that we'll never be a victim of a violent crime, but we can greatly increase the odds in our favor by incorporating a few safeguards into our lives.

The most important one is realizing that anyone can become a victim, including you, and taking steps to learn how to prevent it. Self-defense measures, whether physical (learning how to fight to defend yourself) or mental and informational (learning how to avoid fighting), are like seat belts and air bags in vehicles - they can keep you safe much of the time in collisions, but they can't prevent them.

Prevention, through detection and avoidance, is the key to self-defense. If you learn what danger and threats really look like, especially by learning the tricks and ploys of violent criminals, you'll greatly increase your chances of detecting and avoiding danger. Be aware of your surroundings. If something does not look right, then it probably isn't right. Trust your inner self.

Attitude is the number one component of successful self-defense. Your attitude is a reflection of your confidence and spirit, and acts like bug repellent for criminals. Most criminals can detect and pick up on your attitude. They would more likely want to deal with a person that has a weak attitude than one that has a strong attitude. They are looking for a victim that is weak. Therefore, display the confidence that you have. Make sure when walking to your vehicle you are walking with the confidence of someone who is not weak.

You need to think of your space as a little barrier around you. You should not allow a stranger into your space. If a person comes into your space you need to make some decisions. One decision could be to run or yell. Another could be to get on your cell phone and contact someone. It is you doing something that will again show your strong attitude and show that you will not be a victim.

A person has troubles assaulting others if they are out of reach. This is a huge reason why you should maintain a comfortable distance to those that you don't know. You may be wondering how much space you may need. A rule of thumb is more than an arm's reach. This will allow you time to react.

These tips are very basic but could be that of survival. The West Fargo Police Department strongly recommends that you contact the Police Department if you think there is any sort of issue that involves a person that may be intending on hurting you or following you. The West Fargo Police Department also would like to invite any woman who is interested in Women's self defense to a women's self defense training course that will be held Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m., at the West Fargo Police Department. For further information, please contact officer Nielsen at 433-5500.