Even in nature, the predator looks for the weakest to prey upon. How do human predators (criminals) view you? When you walk down the street does your persona scream victim or touch at your own risk.
One of my favorite teachers in high school told a story that is funny but hit home. He was on a beach and some thugs were walking down the boardwalk bumping into people roughly. When he saw this, as a martial artist, he was ready for action, but as they came by they passed him without bumping him. He stood there for a minute confused. Then he looked down and remembered that he was wearing his karate championship shirt. It is a funny story but has a message, predators look for weak prey. Was it the shirt that saved my teacher? (Actually, probably saved the punks) I am guessing not. It was probably the way he carried himself.
We all make threat assessments. As you walk down the street and you see somebody walking down the street, you assess them even if it is a subconscious act. If you ever saw someone and they made you nervous, you have done a threat assessment. Criminals do the same thing. They look for the path of least resistance. If you look weak and/or vulnerable (drunk, distracted, etc.) you are more of a target. Does that mean if you are confident and prepared that you are immune from attack? No, but you are a less attractive target and the attacker may pass you by rather than attack.We have all seen sparring matches with a competitor that comes into the ring looking already beaten. What happens, he gets beaten. He has conveyed his insecurity to his opponent and his opponent takes advantage of it. The same thing happens on the street.
The next time you are people watching, look at how people carry themselves. Compare them to animals. Is that person a lion or a mouse; a wolf, a sheep or a sheepdog? How does that equate to their vulnerability. Does that person look weak and vulnerable or strong and able to defend themselves? Model yourself after the ones that look strong. You will find that size and gender does not really matter. Some really big guys look weak and some small women look strong. A 115 pound woman can look less vulnerable than a 300 pound man. It can be hard to believe until you watch people and look for vulnerabilities.
This does not only work in physical defense. How you carry yourself at work determines how people treat you. Look at how people act at work and what response they get. Model your behaviors of people that get the responses you want.
Develop a good understanding of what looks strong. Model yourself after it when you walk down the street. It is not a shield that will protect you from all attack but it will make you less attractive as a victim which reduces the probability of attack