Women in South Korea have been stocking up on Pepper Spray and Personal Alarms recently after an alleged serial killer was arrested. Three of South Korea’s main online shopping sites have reported that the sales of self defense products has risen between 40 and 100%.

Kang Ho-Sun was arrested in late January and has confessed to killing at least seven women since 2006. He would meet the women in karaoke bars or pick them up from isolated bus stops. Criminal Investigators have described Kang as “a typical psychopath who feels no remorse.”

The most popular self defense products being purchased include small hand-held pepper sprays and personal alarms designed to scare off such attackers.

It was also reported that many women now avoid wearing stockings, boots or skirts after they found out Kang was obsessed with such attire.

“After hearing the serial killer targeted women wearing stockings and boots, I only wear trousers,” Kim Ji-Young, a 20-year-old college student.

“I also ditched high-heels and wear sneakers so that I can run fast at times of danger.”

Even after the capture of this serial killer, women are taking extra precautions. Many female employees use late-night taxis and colleagues snap pictures of the license plate before they leave. Some women even keep in contact by cell phone until they get home safely.

Again, much like the Bakersfield, California story from yesterday, it often takes a series of unfortunate local events before the threat is a reality and people start to think about their personal safety.

Every now and then I have people trying to tell me how worthless pepper spray is. Of course these people have never actually been sprayed in the face with pepper spray either, but that doesn’t deter their criticism. Pepper spray is designed to buy you time and distract your attacker so you can run away to safety. Spray as close to the face as possible, in a back-and-forth fanning motion, and as soon as the attacker is more concerned with his melting eyes than you, run! Call the police from a safe distance and location.

Pepper spray is not like a hand gun that will shoot an attacker dead. Pepper spray is a non-lethal self-defense tool, that is both easy to use and highly effective.

Wouldn’t a firearm be more effective? Sure. You could kill someone with a firearm, but most people are not interested in killing someone and carrying a loaded handgun. Spraying them in the face with a key chain Mace and escaping is good enough.

What if you miss? Well, first off practice your aim, over and over. Buy 2 identical models, one to practice with, one to use on the street. Always keep the unit handy. If it is buried on the bottom of your purse, of course it is useless.

I could go on and on. Not all self-defense tools are one size fits all. It is all about what you are comfortable with. Some people like pepper spray, some prefer a stun gun or Taser. Whatever your flavor, pay attention to what is going on around you, and have a plan if something goes wrong.

The odds are in your favor most of the time. More often than not, you make it home safely. But you never know when something bad could happen.

Besides suggesting you carry some sort of personal protection device and practice, practice, practice how and when to use it, we have several Self Defense Tips for you, for various situations.

If you only feel like reading a few, check out the Ten Tips for Avoiding Crime. Of course we’d hope you read more of them, and some tips do overlap, but all in all, it doesn’t hurt to reread even the most common sense scenarios.

Be safe, be alert, have a plan, and be prepared.

Especially next Friday, which happens to be Friday the 13th, speaking of serial killers…

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