What To Do If You Think Someone Is Following You While Walking

how-to-know-if-someone-is-following-you

If you are walking on the street (or anywhere) and you ‘get that feeling’ that someone is following you, or if you know that there really is someone (or more than one) behind you and your suspicion is that they are following you, here’s what you should do…


 
Your situational awareness has kicked in (knowing what’s going on around you), but you’re not sure about the people behind you as you are walking to your car, walking on the street, or walking ‘anywhere else’. What should you do?

 

If someone is following you, Stop, Turn Around – as though you went the wrong way.

 
Make it seem like you went the wrong way. You have probably already seen it before – someone walking, and then suddenly stopping and turning around the other way, sometimes with a convincing look on their face as though they had make a mistake (they probably did – but you can use this same technique to your advantage).

If the person or people that you thought were actually following, if they actually turn around after you turn around (even if after a short continuance), then you might have a situation on your hands… If they continue on, then you’re very likely clear.

Even if you were intended ‘prey’, the potential attacker may likely continue on after you turn around – so as not to draw attention to what they’re doing (especially if others are around). Additional, change your demeanor to appear confident, and walk the other way with purpose.

This has been a public service announcement ;)

 
Tip: Consider keeping a key-chain whistle, or pepper spray, or a concealed carry firearm.

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34 Comments

  1. I like the idea to turn around because then I get to face my attackers to see look on their faces and their reaction to the look on my face. When I get defensive and really pissed off, although I cannot see myself, I get a look on my face that frightens people to death. It’s a look that portrays ” I am going to kill you right here and right now”! That changes the attackers game plans in an instant as they now have to react to a threat instead of being the threat. I learned this year’s ago as it applies to all animals in this world. When I rode motorcycle back in the day I would see ahead a dog getting ready to come at me and start the chase. This could turn out to be dangerous for the biker as you could have an accident with the dog and crash the bike. What I would do in this situation is point the bike directly at the dog and drop a few gears and nail it! I was now chasing the dog and the dog immediately picked up on this fact, and he would turn, thick tail and run away. You see, I changed his thinking of the dog being the attacker to the attackee, and totally ruined his plans by doing so. It kept put me safe every time. By changing the dogs plan, I was now in control and it is no different with humans. You must be in control of your safety in order to be safe.

    1. Yup, that’s what we did when we were delivering papers on our route. If a dog came out and started running towards us, we would run towards them. One in particular was a shepherd who you could not turn your back on as he would run up and bite you. We learned this from experience. So we got in the habit of running toward him the minute we saw him. The first time he almost looked surprised, unfamiliar with this kind of situation he ran.

      Also when I was much, much younger, I found myself having to walk home late at night from work (as I didn’t have my license yet). I was always aware of my surroundings. Occasionally I would look behind me. I saw a man following me but he was about 200 feet behind me. So I picked up my pace, after a few minutes I would look again, he was even closer even though I was walking pretty fast. So I decided to cross the street. After about 5 minutes he crossed the street, and he was closer. Okay, I told myself maybe he would have crossed the street anyway, so I crossed back over. Wouldn’t you know it, he crossed back over as well. Now I knew I was in trouble. I only had to walk about 200 more feet to get to a bar, which I entered and waited. He never came in, but not knowing if he was still out there, I decided to leave through a different door. Since the bar was on the corner, I decided to walk down the other street to get home. It was a little out of my way, but I didn’t want to take the chance that he was waiting ahead now. I got home with no further incidents.

      I never would have considered facing him as there was no one out at that time of night, and being a light weight, I never would have been able to defend myself. I suppose turning to face the person following you would work well were there are lots of people around, but in the situation I was in, I don’t think I would have handled it any different than I did.

      1. One time I was on the bus and I noticed a rather homeless man was staring at me, I took the same approach as you did, gave him my scariest look. As I was getting off, I noticed he started following me. I started speeding up and he did too. By then, I got really scared and I sprinted into Target the chain store that I knew had security cameras, spent some time there hanging out near the store managers and that repelled the man.
        The approach of looking scary doesn’t always work when dealing with a person who is a) much bigger than you b) has probably been in street fights c) might not have much to lose d) might even be armed and attack back.

  2. I always carry a 1911 with me. Several times I thought ok this guy is following me. So, I stop turn around and stare directly at the person- eye to eye. I do not move, I just stare to tell them “I am watching you”. My hand is always on my pistol. Almost always this scares the hell out of that person and they quickly turn away. Once, however, the person did not turn away for several seconds. I told myself this is going to be bad. I readied myself emotionally to fire as I watched him very closely. But, finally he did turn away and I said to myself ” this jerk was really going to jump me”. I am not sure this jerk ever knew how close he came to meeting his maker!

    I will never pull a gun on someone unless I know I am going to also pull the trigger. There will never be just a warning shot. I will not be a victim. Also, I will never threaten another person.

    1. Before you follow through with your plan, just be sure the attacker was to use deadly force (does he have a deadly weapon?). Otherwise you might end up in jail, which you might anyway if you use deadly force. Depends what state you live in.

  3. I have heard some folks say (women), that in such a case, if turning around did not seem to resolve the situation, and even sometimes if it seemed to…they would do this..

    go up to a group of folks who seem to be together…(two or more), and tell them you are concerned some creep is following you, can they walk you to
    your car
    nearest shop
    etc..

    1. Excellent idea. When leaving a store you can also ask for an escort to your car if you feel it is unsafe.

  4. Mentally ill or even drunk people who stalk don’t always take the confrontation threat. They often attack in broad daylight with witnesses and dogs ready to attack them. They often have used stealth while stalking so you don’t see them hiding as they follow or stake out your home. I had seen these things happen in my own experiences.

  5. @slash
    I know the law very well here in Texas. An attacker does not have to be found in possession of a gun ( or any other deadly weapon). The law requires that the intended victim be found in fear of serious imminent bodily injury or in defense of others in fear of serious injury. I would rather be taken to jail than to the cemetery. I was shot twice in Vietnam, never again.

    The tone of your writing seems to be that of a die hard anti-gun liberal. I hear that liberal crap all too often here in Texas. Yes, I will stand my ground should the occasion arise.

    1. @No joke
      You have jumped to conclusions my friend. Not only am I NOT a anti-gun liberal, but I am a staunch supporter of our right to bear arms and defend ourselves. I am a paying and contributing member of multiple organizations which help to defend our 2nd Amendment. I take GREAT offense to your assumption which is based only on your perception of the intention of my comment. My comment was to raise some awareness as to the circumstances of an attack, especially depending on where you live. In some states (most), if someone comes at you with their fists, and if you shoot them dead, you will go to jail. Period. I did not know what state you live in, and I brought it up for the sake of all to consider. That’s it.

      Thank you for your service to our country in Vietnam.

    2. I totally agree with you. Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6!!! The woman that shot the intruder in GA. Fired 5 RDS of 38 cal until he left. Castle doctrine means if someone is in your house they have the right to be shot and shut the h311 up. That’s my opinion but I believe in survival.?

  6. @Slash,
    I can definitely see where someone that would defend our constitutional rights would take offense at what I wrote. To you I owe an apology since I can see you are not liberal but that you do understand the 2nd amendment. I live here in Texas and I can see where people here are giving up their constitutional rights for the sake of big government rule. I even see liberal stupidity in my own extended family. Here in Texas we say ” t hope this mends our fences”.

  7. No Joke,

    “The law requires that the intended victim be found in fear of serious imminent bodily injury”

    Sorry No Joke, Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code is a little more detailed than what you stated and nowhere is the language you stated.

    This is what it really says!

    Sec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON. (a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:

    (1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31; and

    (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

    (A) to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or

    (B) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

    And here is how Self Defense is covered under chapter 9.

    Sec. 9.31. SELF-DEFENSE. (a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The actor’s belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:

    If you want to read Chapter 9 completely, which I recommend if you live in Texas, there are plenty of online links. Cherry picking phrases only serves to get you into trouble. The statement made “rather go to jail than the cemetery” is a dangerous one. My position is not to go to either by having proper training and knowing when to use said training as it relates to self defense laws of my state. That is the only way to avoid jail and delay the trip to the cemetery until old age gets you!!!

  8. I am an absolute believer in defending myself. But if you think it is as easy as drawing your gun and shooting to kill you are mistaken. Do you own a house or have other assets? Kiss them goodbye. Your lawyer will want $100K to start and win or lose you will likely be sued for whatever you have or might earn. Worst case is you go to jail, best case is you spend a lot of money preventing that from happening.

  9. Most of the population are clueless about situational awareness. So many don’t seem to care what is going on around them much less pay attention.They put them selves in danger. Case in point: Locally a guy in his late 20’s gets mugged in broad daylight downtown.You seen them your self. Head down while strolling, both hands on phone oblivious to anything other than the phone screen. A thug comes up from behind and shoves him. He face plants into the sidewalk phone goes flying. The thug puts his left hand on his head,leg in his back and grabs his wallet. The only thing the guy could tell the cops was it was a male…he made a perfect victim!BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND DON’T BE SOMEPLACE YOU SHOULDN’T BE…

  10. Having appropriate situational awareness, can help YOU defend yourself, by making it a lot harder for anyone stalking you(which is what following you is),you can force them to reveal their “intent”, you need to be prepared to respond immediately to that intent, or, they will/can/MIGHT break off contact and seek other prey.

    Yes, it DOES depend entirely upon which state you are in, at the time of the incident. Your home state’s “rules of engagement” do not follow you when you travel. While it may be to your personal preference in your home state to stand your ground, in other states, you are not allowed to at all.

    I am not defending anyone’s “liberal” view points, just pointing out the sheer reality of being in society at large, and wanting to exercise YOUR Constitutional rights. Know the criteria for the state your are in, backwards and forwards, even IF a visitor, and use that legal criteria to YOUR advantage.

    “Tombstone courage” is a very real deficit some people never can let go of. Just because you can, never means you should. Each and every incident IS different, because those involved are “different”, and that is how local prosecutors see it.

    Hope this helps shed further light in the Legal Land of Smoke and Mirrors.

    Know your rights, and KNOW what you can do where and when you are, when an incident presents itself.

  11. I really appreciate these situational awareness tips, as I work in the South Side of Chicago, and people are always being mugged at gunpoint.

  12. Might I suggest that sometimes you should just RUN LIKE HELL. That has saved me more than once. Pick up your pace, turn a corner, and double time it to some place safe.

  13. With todays anti-gun government mentality you need to consider carrying a throw-away gun. I have several guns that I carry that I bought for cash with no paperwork. I wipe the ammo down so there is no full or even partial finger prints on it. If I had to defend myself I would use the gun and then clean and then toss it in the river.

    I no way have enough money to pay a lawyer ($50,00 or more) to prove I had a right to my life. It’s just easier to defend yourself and give the gun a toss off a bridge. Yea a gun is expensive, but not as expensive as going to jail. How many people have gone to jail because they didn’t wipe down and toss the gun off a bridge?

    Today you can be 100% in the right (morally) to defend yourself, but still get a few years to life in jail for doing so.

    Yea we want to do it the supposed right way and have your day in court.

    But I live in a place called “Realville” and in Realville you have to deal with what is, not with what you would like to happen, so the gun takes a swim and you take the knowledge of your actions to the grave never telling a single person.

    Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead – Ben Franklin.

    Smart guy Ben was…

    1. @Chuck Findlay – That is the stupidest thing I’ve read. You would have broken a tonne of laws doing what you wrote.

      What makes you think that police investigations wouldn’t trace the gun down to you? What makes you think there won’t be witnesses or CCTVs showing you shoot and dispose of the weapon?

      Disposing a weapon like that only gives the presumption of guilt – easier for a jury to convict you. Also, owning unregistered firearms is a crime in many places.

      Whether you had the right to self-defence is academic. A lot of times its an evidential burden. And your acts (before during and after) can easily make or break you.

  14. If you’re a woman and some man is following you in a shopping center, go into a women’s clothing store and ask the cashier to call security. I did this when two men following me walked into the store behind me. It was then that I knew without a doubt they were following me and I wasn’t being paranoid. After all, why would two gruff looking grown men go into a women’s only clothing store and hang out? They didn’t seem to be looking for their wives. Ha!

    1. @Michael
      and this is, why my little girl started Kráv maga since she is four…. With all that syrian and foreign refugees in germany now, I want to tell her, that she has to be aware of people and protect her life— also thats she is so small now !!! She has to exercise and learn it as a drill…. then it will be normal for her…later on. Thats what I can tell her from an infantry soldiers experience (of several missions). Hoooyaaa

      1. @Michael / @JuliettFoxtrott

        & this is how people get themselves killed. Women thinking (or being encouraged to think) that they should confront possible hostiles and get themselves into a fight simply because they attended some silly classes.

        Bone and muscle density issues aside, taking matters into your own (bare!) hands when the attacker could be male, high on drugs (and adrenaline), armed (with even a knife for instance) is sheer stupidity.

        Even expert trained martial artists (10 or 20 years or more in experience) who are male have warned against being involved in a fight. Often times they would at most apply their skills to breaking free and running… no more. Mind you, even experts have died on the streets in muggings and such.

        All the police and public safety messages have always warned against vigilante type acts of taking matters into your own hands. A lot of times, these attackers already figured that they have nothing to lose…. or that they have far less to lose than you. Giving them an excuse to apply violence to you is just stupid.

        Too often, I’ve seen idiots who think they’ve grown balls just because they have attended kick boxing/krav maga/muay thai in their ladies gym class and become all aggressive at the slightest provocation.

  15. Right on. Golden Gate Park in SFO is NOT a wise place to ‘hang out’ after sunset, or other lessor or not ‘well known’ places. An ‘ounce of prevention’ is worth more.

  16. Well I have been trying to see what to do when you feel like your being followed but your be yourself in a neighborhood with to children under the age of 10. And there is nobody around and there are no places to go, and my house is just down the road. What do I do then? Do I just call the cops and hope for the best, or run home as fast as possible and lock the doors and run out the backdoor and get in public fast?

    1. never go home, then who ever is following will know where you live and could stalk you and figure out your routine and attemp to harm you.

  17. my advice is if your walking home and someone is following you, ( what i’ve done before) lol i thinks this works. just pull out your phone and be like “hey dad! how’s it going at the station.. NO way! you arrested 3 guys today! that’s great!. okay, i’ll meet you * insert public place that’s close by* in a couple minutes. or you can perdend to be on the phone with someone who’s a police officer or you can simply call 911 and whisper i think im bieng followed or say something like that. its scarier than you think. if it comes down to it, defend yourself if someone tries to grab you scream and fight back as hard as you can. and if you walk with confidence or seem tougher lol, it will make you appear harder to kidnap or harm.

  18. i think the only down side of seeing your attacker/stalkers face is, they might have a reason to harm you, because you saw there face. so maybe if you turn around look down at your phone or at a sign or buildings

  19. This happens here all the time. What we do is we pretend that we get a phone call.. say hello outloud and then put the video camera.. we pretend to be in a whatsup call and aim the camera at the person and say where we are.. that way the creep knows that someone is already watching and may be recording live.. most do not bother.. others will still take you on and either way you are in trouble..

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