I usually get my keys out before I leave the building - either work or school. I work in an area with a high crime rate. Recently a nurse was kidnapped and raped while walking to her car after work. The parking situation is pretty bad where I work, so I usually have to walk a bit (in the dark since I work nights) to get from the parking lot to work. Once, while walking in, a panhandler grabbed me by my arm to get my attention. Thankfully, he only wanted spare change, but if it had been someone will ill intent, I would have been unprepared. I keep my pepper spray on my keychain and carry my keys in my hand, so hopefully the sight of it will deter would-be attackers and so that if someone does approach me, the pepper spray is out and ready to use. Also, my purse is like a bottomless pit
if I had to dig through it in the parking lot for my keys, I could be standing there for 5 minutes! My mom always told me to have my keys out to poke an attacker in the eye, and probably alot of women were told this by their mothers. Although it's not realistic (the attacker would grab your wrist before you got your keys close enough to poke his eyes), motherly advice hangs on tenaciously. I never get my keys out or start putting my books away in class (unless the class is running late, causing me to be late for my next class), because it is rude. Usually I get my keys out before leaving my class building, because I don't like fumbling to find them in the parking lot and it's more efficient to pull them out of my backpack while I'm putting my books in.