42 Useful ‘Street Smart’ Tips People Have Shared Online

“There is no doubt in my mind street smarts kicks book smarts’ ass,” Scott Berkun claimed once. Despite our best efforts to balance the scales by saying that you need both in order to thrive, being street smart still kicks book smarts’ ass. So we will just leave it at that.

While you can read a couple of books and be well-educated in philosophy, citing Nietzsche probably will do you much good as waving your wallet when you find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks. In order to see what it takes to survive in the ‘concrete jungle’, we have delved into the depths of the internet to bring you the best street smart tips. 

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The difference between a low income and a bad neighborhood, is that in low income ones, people are going places, catching the bus to work, etc. In bad hoods, people are hanging out on street corners appearing to do nothing.

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Knowing there is no shame in running away from a fight.

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Never loan someone money you aren’t willing to lose.

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If you’re a tourist and lost, don’t stand still to get your bearings. Go sit on a bench and look relaxed, like you’re waiting for someone and just passing the time.

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My dad gave me this advice: if you ever think you’re about to be mugged or attacked, and you don’t know that you could win the fight, act crazy. Talk to yourself, chew on your fingers, p**s your pants if need be. Any group of people can feel safe taking on one dude, no matter how big he is. Nobody wants to f**k with crazy. Crazy doesn’t give up when you break his nose, or when you smash his head into the ground. Crazy will keep whaling on you with two broken arms until he physically can’t move. Nobody f***s with crazy.

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If a stranger is being helpful and helping you get somewhere be incredibly mindful of that.

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Don’t ever tell the cab driver you don’t know where you’re going.

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If someone describes themselves as “street smart” it means they are not smart.

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One of the best ive heard for “novice level” street smart levels is always look like you know where you are going and walk with purpose, as youll look like a less easy mark than people nose deep in their phone and looking around confused

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De-escalating and deflecting intense situations.

Knowing how to do that is the ultimate street smart in my book

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When you buy an expensive item, for the love of god…don’t just put the box outside by your trash can. It screams “rob me and my new 50 inch plasma flatscreen!”

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When in a bad area, keep a confident posture and facial expression. But don’t invite too much attention by staring everyone in the face.

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Ladies, never hold your purses casually. I know women who’ve had their bags snatched and there’s no chance you can catch the thieves when they’re already running and you don’t know what just happened. I have an over-the-shoulder purse and I usually feel ok about it, but I still swing it in front of me when I’m in a crowded place.

Also, never believe anyone’s sob story when they’re asking for money. You won’t believe how genuine these people can sound and look – especially those people in train stations saying they only need $X to get to X place, their stuff was stolen, whatever. As a resident of a city, you’ll see dozens of people give them money and they’ll still be there.

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If you think you’re being followed, casually make a left at each intersection you come across. Repeat this 4 times and if he’s still following you, casually call the cops.

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A decoy wallet with some small bills and s**t in it is good to carry.

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Leaving space between you and the car in front of you for an escape

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If you are in a “bad neighborhood” and someone asks you for the time. Do not pull out your phone to check, and do not look away from this person. They are most likely looking to grab your phone or jump you.

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If you take a wrong turn and find yourself lost in a bad neighborhood, don’t slow down to look for street signs if there’s people loitering nearby. They think you want to buy drugs.

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In my teens I’d go to the mall regularly and on sundays they closed early but I had forgotten this and didn’t have a cell phone to call for a pick-up so I asked a stranger to use his. He looked conflicted but then asked for the phone number and dialed it himself, confirmed it was a mom, then handed it to me. It took a while for me to realize he just didn’t want his phone to get snatched and stolen, but wherever you are cell phone mall guy you taught me a valuable Street smart lesson about belongings that day.


Never show any money in public. Or count your money in front of everyone in the sidewalk. If you don’t want to be mugged

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If your “gut” tells you something is off about a situation, trust it and get the f**k out of there. Also in a street fight, all bets are off and everything is fair game to attack, but never hit a man while he is down.

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Don’t stand near the tracks when your train is approaching.

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If you’re in a really shitty neighbourhood, the plain clothes cops have nicer teeth than everyone else.

A family member who’s actually a cop told me this once. It makes sense if you’ve ever been in some really rough neighbourhoods.

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If you’re driving through a sketchy neighborhood or ghetto area, just roll through the stoplights/stop signs. A friend of mine had to drive through Gary, Indiana around 3:00AM for a job, and a cop pulled him over and told him to just run though the lights. You stop, you are at a much higher risk of getting your car stolen and your a*s beat.

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The Police don’t know anything. That’s why they’re asking you.

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Knowing the greeting ‘Hey, Big Man’ is a trap

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If a group of people suddenly get down, so do you.


Don’t be oblivious to your surroundings.

Do NOT walk with headphones in your ears at night or in an unfamiliar area.

Don’t slouch, keep your shoulders back and your head up so you look like you know your s**t.

Stay in well-lit areas.

Don’t keep more than $40 in your wallet at any given time.

Don’t give cash to homeless people. Offer to buy them food instead.

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ANY stranger talking to you is a possible threat of violence or a hustle.

Most strangers that talk to you are just being friendly or needs directions, or what ever.

If you’re not a decent fighter sober, you are not by some miracle an mma fighter because you are drunk.


My policy is: Walk fast and never stop for anyone. I walk fast, so by the time some piece of s**t has finished his evaluation of my muggability, I’m already gone. I don’t stop for anyone I don’t already know, f**k politeness, I don’t have any business with random strangers and they have no business with me. You want to know what time it is? Get a watch. You want to conduct a survey? F**k you, I don’t owe you any data just because you’re smiling at me.
Anyone wants to stop me *physically*, you’re losing a f*****g eye.


Always put cash in you wallet before you exit the store especially when it’s dark, and put valuables GPS/Cash/phone under the seat when you enter a store in a shady neighborhood.

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I got mugged once, and even though they only got $10 and half a pack of smokes from me, I promised it would never happen again.

Fast forward a few years, a buddy and I are walking home from a party and I’m carrying some gear worth at least $1000. We pass a group of 4 folks, and two of them leave the group and start following us. Down the street are another 2 folks that suddenly start walking towards us. I tell my buddy we’re crossing the street. All 6 of them also cross the street with us. Now knowing for sure what was about to happen, I hailed a cab that was passing and we jumped in. My buddy asks ‘why are we cabbing it, you live a block away’. I pointed to the 6 guys that were now just staring at the cab. ‘Those folks were about to mug us’, I say.


Ok, I live in a dangerous country, here are my street smart tips:

* 1) Don’t watch people in their eye (maybe split second, or on throat)

* 2) If responding to an ad in the paper for apartment, dont walk with rental deposit in cash. Verify somehow

* 3) Boarding a taxi, text somebody the license plate

* 4) Always tell someone where you’re going

* 5) If you go out with someone, text/call each other upon arrival at home

* 6) Driving at night and there is an obstacle in the road, don’t stop to remove… drive over or reverse the f**k out of there.

* 7) Buying a used car from someone?. Verify there are no outstanding loans attached to it. Verify the chassis number or something. People have been known to rent cars then sell them

* 8) Study whoever is approaching you and attempt to decipher if they’re acting suspicious

* 9) Consider crossing the street when people are approaching you, to make more space between you

* 10) When walking home at nights, walk on the safe side. I.E The side of incoming traffic. So you can see cars approaching you. In the Caribbean cars drive on the left hand side of the road. Walking on the right hand side, a car will never creep up behind you.

* 11) When parking your vehicle in a parking lot, park it in the center or somewhere lit and visible

* 12) Don’t leave valuables showing in you car …like on the seat or something

* 13) If paying someone large sums of cash, pay via check, bankers draft etc, to leave a paper trail. Cash is harder to trace.

* 14) At a stop light ?… Lock all doors and pull up windows. People can open doors and sneak in

* 15) Do not ask anybody for directions. Find someone in uniform or something.

* 16) If you are being followed, DO NOT GO HOME, head to the nearest Police Station. Don’t let them know where you leave

* 17) Invest in electronically closing gates. Risky to get out of car to open and close gate

* 18) Consider keeping “rob money” on you. If being mugged you don’t want to p**s off the mugger by not having anything to give

* 19) Consider using the same taxi if possible, Or specially designated Licensed taxis. Random taxis may rob you.

* 20) At a party and s**t goes down?. The warring parties may leave to get armed and return afterwards. leave immediately

* 21) Dropping a friend home, let them enter their house/ gate before you drive away.

* 22) Have keys handy upon walking to car/ house

* 23) If an unfamiliar person comes asking questions about the whereabouts of somebody in your area. You do not know.


My wife grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. She knows her shit and has been in many sketchy situations. She says that what really matters is to read the room. Disengage if you can, but if you do have to engage be respectful and talk your way out. Even play the ditzy blonde if you have to and make a joke. Run when necessary.


Anytime you feel like you’re getting away with a steal, or some guy offers a deal that’s too good to be true, it is. Don’t do it. People get hustled all the time by charismatic guys who know how to play to the average person.

No self respecting business or whatever will need you to pay anything in cash with no receipt. No one is going to give you something of extreme value for super cheap unless there is something wrong with it, or you’re hooked into all kinds of odd fees and s**t. Even a free car still has to have the taxes paid on it. Sorry to sound like such a downer, but 999/1000, you are not just “super lucky”. That guy is trying to scam you out of something.


Pay attention esp to someone who is paying YOU attention. Looking around and hand tapping or brushing a pocket is a bad sign. Most people are right handed, so in an altercation step to the side of that arm. They will have to reposition themselves giving you a second or two to defend. If they start repeating a phrase over and over they are going to strike for certain. The brain loses train of thought as they prepare for that.

Best one tip really is to just be aware of your surroundings and know the exits. Our phones have greatly reduced this, and its bad. Your tweet, FB update can wait I promise you this. Your goal if attacked is to ESCAPE. Too many internet badasses and action movie watchers think it will end with them standing over a fallen foe doing a victory pose. Your plan will go to shit 100% once your in a fight. Violence is chaotic and ugly in real life, and death and serious injuries happen all the time from basic assaults.


This might be obvious, but I’ve had to use it a few times because of the areas I’ve lived in.

If somebody drives up to you, do NOT stand right next to the car. If the person is asking you a question or talking to you, step away and stand like you know your s**t. If they’re talking too quietly for you to hear exactly what they’re saying, they’re probably trying to lure you closer (which I learned the hard way). Do not buy into it. If they make any sudden moves, run away in the opposite direction that they’re facing and get to a major street or intersection as soon as you can. Even late at night or early in the morning, there will be people on the major roads.

The best advice, though? Trust your instincts, always. If somebody or a place gives you bad vibes, get the f**k away, and do it with confidence. It’s better to come off as a b***h to a nice person than a victim to somebody who’s looking for one.

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If someone asks to borrow your phone to call the police because they’ve just been mugged or something, say you will dial the police for them.

If they say no, they can do it, refuse. They were probably looking to run away with your phone.

Learnt this from brother’s streetwise gf while in Paris.


The simplest advice of all: don’t put yourself in bad situations.

Read your local crime blotter and a few trends will become obvious: most violent crimes occur after dark, most accidental deaths involve alcohol and cars, and too many people confess to crimes before speaking to an attorney. So get home early, don’t drink and drive, and if you’re ever arrested, STFU until you speak to your attorney.

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I once heard to walk as if “everyone is going to mug you.”

I now know that it is best to walk as if you are going to mug everyone.

Predators recognize each other.

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To get past crazy people downtown (and “Save the Children” fundraisers), don’t make eye contact but don’t avoid it either. Fix your eyes on something a block or so away that’s ~30 degrees away from them (so that it’s clear to them you can see them in your periphery, but are not looking at them) and look annoyed.

No idea why it works. I think even paranoid schizophrenics feel uncomfortable interrupting someone clearly focused on an unpleasant task.


Walk/act like you live there. People can easily tell if you’re not from the area and you become a target. Don’t keep your nose buried in your phone like a tourist. Keep your head up, pay attention, and don’t make eye contact.

Stick to well-lit, populated streets with open businesses. If you are being followed, you’ll have a safe place to duck in. You’re less likely to get jumped where there’s cameras and witnesses.

Don’t walk everywhere with earbuds in. It lets everyone know you have a smartphone/iPod on your person and you aren’t paying attention. Don’t walk around texting constantly either.

Don’t flash cash around. Separate big bills from smaller ones, or keep small bills on the outside of your cash roll. If you go to pay for a coffee, for example, don’t bust out a wad of 20’s and flip through it to get some 1’s. You never know who’s watching.
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