Modern life is incredibly safe when compared to the rest of human history, but there are still some serious risks out there. Even the most cautious individual may have to deal with criminals like muggers, who sometimes attack with weapons including knives. While it isn’t something that most of us would like to think about, knife attacks happen, and it's important to know what to do if you're held at knifepoint.
Having the right advice to draw on in emergency situations is vital to surviving any such encounters without being wounded. Knives and other bladed weapons can cause serious injury. These tips from experts can help keep you safe in case the worst happens.
Unless absolutely necessary - like in an instance where an attacker is about to cause you serious injury - you should always try to avoid fighting. This will only escalate the situation and will likely end with the assailant feeling threatened or becoming more aggressive. In either case, they will likely become more violent.
"Unless you're a good fighter, that's not a good idea, because you've just escalated the situation," explained former mugger David Solano. "It might even make a person angrier."
Even if you have rehearsed a possible attack in your head, it can still be a total surprise if an incident does occur. A hold up or mugging can be over in a matter of seconds, leaving you with almost no time to process what is happening.
In these moments it's important to try to think clearly so that you don’t do anything rash and the shock of the attack doesn't cause you to respond in a way that could put you in danger. It also means that you should try to avoid reacting purely on instinct. This may well cause you to scream, fight back, or try to run away immediately, putting you in harm's way.
It is important to try to remain calm throughout a knife attack. If someone has you at knifepoint, sudden or jerky movements may make them even more apprehensive and could lead to a strike if they feel they need to escalate the situation to assert their authority.
Although it may seem impossible, you should stay as relaxed as possible, taking deep breaths. This will help focus your mind and allow you to follow all of the instructions given to you by the attacker. If you do this you are likely to remain unharmed, as the assailant will probably want to get away as quickly as possible without bloodshed.
In most instances where someone is held at knifepoint, the assailant is attempting to rob the victim. If this is the case, the safest thing to do is to hand over any requested possessions without putting up resistance or struggle.
This is the easiest way to have the incident end in a safe manner, as the mugger will most likely not want to use force and would rather flee the scene quickly than become involved in a fight.