Safety

Stay safe with the following safety tips:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings: bushes, buildings, walls, cars, etc.
  • When walking alone, if you’re listening to music, keep one earphone out so you can still be aware of your surroundings
  • Walk with confidence & purpose: keep your head up and shoulders back. Imagine that you have a string connected to the crown of your head that is constantly lifting you up. Many times a perpetrator is looking for helpless or unaware victims. They want to use the element of surprise, so if you know what you’re doing, are aware of your surroundings and where you’re going, you’ll be less of a target.
  • Walk in lit areas and ideally with other people
  • If someone is following you, cross to the other side of the street. If they persist and it’s appropriate, turn around and look at them straight in the eyes and wait for them to pass. Attackers are looking for people who couldn’t identify them in a lineup.
  • If you’re walking home or to your car, hold your keys in your hand so you don’t have to fumble in your bag for them when you reach  your destination. In hand, your key can also be used to as a defense mechanism (i.e. eye or other vulnerable area)
  • In parking lots, avoid large trucks/cars and watch for shadows under or around the vehicles. Also, when you get in the car, look in your rearview mirror to check that no one is in the back seat.
  • If a van is parked on the driver’s side of your car, get in on the passenger’s side. The safest option would be to never walk to your car alone.
  • If someone tries to rob you, throw your valuables away from you and run. Your life is worth more than any material good
  • If someone does attack you, be vocal, be loud, be heard: Shout “NO, NO, NO” or “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
  • If you take an Uber/taxi/Lyft/car, have the driver drop you off a little bit ahead of your house/apt/airbnb. Usually when the driver is driving away, I walk towards my actual house and he has no idea where I live (from my friend).
  • Always pretend when you’re in transit that you know where you are going or that you are meeting someone. Never admit that you’re lost.
  • If you are wearing heels and you are going out for the night, carry some foldable flats with you just in case. They fold and can be scrunched up in any bag.

Inside:

  • Look for exits
  • Face the door when you’re sitting in a restaurant so you know who’s coming in and out
  • Be aware of other tables watching you
  • Don’t drink by yourself
  • In a bar, notice who sits next to you
  • Limit your alcohol consumption- never take a drink from a stranger. If you leave your drink for the restroom, get a new one when you come back. When I’m traveling alone, I NEVER get drunk.
  • Have personal space – arms distance at least
  • Listen to your “gut” or instincts. If something doesn’t “feel” right, avoid the person or situation. Better safe than sorry.
  • Keep all your valuables in front of you. In crowded spaces, always have your hand over the front flap of your purse or wallet, so no one can touch it without your noticing.

This article by Darren & Beth Laur is also very useful: http://powertochange.com/life/personalsafetytips/

If you have other tips for ways to stay safe, please let me know and I’ll add it to this list!