It’s easy to get lulled into a sense of safety. A few months ago, I was out taking a walk at dusk around my neighborhood when I saw this guy lying on the corner. (I live in the city, it’s not all that out of the realm of possibilities.) This girl, head down engrossed in her phone, walked past him. Once she was maybe 30 feet away, he jumped up and started chasing her! Thankfully, our neighborhood is pretty active and there were enough of us around to stop the guy and keep him until the police got there.
That little scene really got me thinking about how we often take for granted that we will be safe no matter what. Here are 5 tips for keeping yourself safe when out and about:
1. Be aware of your surroundings
When I go out walking, no matter what time of the day it is, I am always scanning my surroundings. Look around, use the shop windows to see behind you, use your hearing for footsteps, just know who is around you at all times.
2. Have your keys in hand when approaching your car
People can be divided about this. On the one hand it would be good to have your hands free if you need to use them; but on the other hand, you don’t want to get to your car and then start digging through your handbag for your keys. I have my keys out and at the ready when I get to my car, especially at night. Many of us were taught to hold keys between your fingers as a weapon if needed, however, this may not be the best tactic in practice as the key may not be as stable in your hand upon impact.
3. Keep valuables out of sight… even your phone
It’s common sense: if you don’t want it stolen, don’t have it out. When you are in a public place, it is tempting to lose yourself in your latest e-book or FB drama. But having your electronics out can be an invitation for a simple snatch and grab and can keep you from being aware of your surroundings. (See #1)
4. Park in well light areas
When I have to be out at night, I am sure to park until the brightest lights that I can find. I want the spotlight on the van when I am approaching my van. And I won’t lie, I peek under the van at the same time. It’s stuff straight out of urban legends, but you never know.
5. Trust your Instincts
When in doubt, go with your gut. In my intro story, I talked about seeing the guy on the ground. It was 5p, and it just didn’t seem right. I crossed the street and kept an eye on the weird scene before me because my gut was very unsettled. And I’m glad that I did.
I know that we want to be trusting of all other humans but we have to be realistic that