The fear of crime can often supersede the reality of the threat, but it always pays to be cautious. Follow some simple advice to stay safer when out and about.
Walking alone, particularly at night, can make many people feel threatened. It is commonly believed that women are more at risk of attack than men, but this is not always the case. While it’s true that a woman is more at risk of being attacked by a man when she’s alone, lone men can also be victims, often by groups of men.
As with most crimes, the fear of how personal safety could be compromised can often overtake how real the threat really is. Nevertheless, being aware of some widely circulated personal safety tips can only help individuals to protect themselves.
General Personal Safety Advice
It is often better to allow someone to rob personal belongings than put up a fight. Bear in mind that they may be carrying weapons.
The law surrounding self-defense can also be hazy. Victims are generally allowed to defend themselves with something they were already carrying, e.g. Keys or deodorant, but are not allowed to be carrying a weapon.
Always walk confidently and with purpose. In foreign countries, this can help tourists to blend-in.
It is prudent to spread valuables out in pockets and bags – e.g. do not keep all valuables in a handbag. When in new situations, such as travelling in a foreign country, it can be sensible to carry some spare cash in a sock or bra.
Be careful about showing-off valuable items on the street. Talking or texting on a mobile phone, listening to an iPod or wearing a lot of expensive jewelry acts as an invitation to would-be thieves. This can be particularly good advice when travelling in unfamiliar countries, but should be considered at all times.
Listening to an iPod or another music device is generally not recommended, as it makes people less aware of their surroundings.
Don’t walk and text and keep mobile phones on vibrate so no unnecessary attention is attracted.
If taking a taxi, keep a few phone numbers of trusted taxi firms on stand-by. Text the taxi’s license plate number to someone trustworthy.
Some suggest that shouting “fire!” rather than “help!” while under attack can yield a better response from the general public.
Personal mobile phones should always have ICE (In Case of Emergency) phone numbers in them. This makes it easier for emergency services or anyone else to contact a victim’s family in the event of a problem.
Personal Safety at Night
Plan ahead and take cash out from a cash point during daylight hours.
Stay with friends and avoid walking home alone if possible.
Do not take short-cuts that go along poorly lit, narrow and less-frequented walkways. Stay on well-lit, main routes instead.