It’s that time of year when the nights grow colder, the streets are darker and the weather is wetter… and yet we put up with at all because the parties are unmissable! I thought today I’d talk about crime and how to stay safe; if any of this advice helps any of you even a little bit then it was worth writing (and enjoy the random assortment of my photos that matched the tags “walking” and “night)!
If you’ve lived in a city for a while then you’ve probably encountered crime yourself. I’ve been mugged, threatened with a knife and the subject of an attempted gang attack – all whilst walking home at night. I got out of all of those situations unscathed, and with my belongings and sanity intact. I’ve stuck to a few simple rules and today I’m going to share them.
You often hear people saying “You never think these things will happen”, to which I say, well why not? If you’re going to live in a busy city and walk around at night, you should be expecting crime. I don’t mean drop-kick everybody who crosses your path but be aware that crime can and does happen – ignore and you’re putting yourself into the least prepared position possible.
Also, girls – we are more at risk. Criminals don’t have a diversity form to adhere to and in my opinion the most feminist thing you can do is take every step possible to look after yourself. I probably come across as a deranged vigilante in my friend group sometimes, but I’m quite proud of coming out on top in all experiences of crime!
I’m specifically addressing the kinds of crime that happen when you walk around on your own, as that’s where I’ve run into crime. It’s common sense to keep to a well-lit area but the prime areas to REALLY stick to are residential. If somebody jumps you and you start screaming, a light won’t be of much use. Stick to main routes (preferably with open newsagents and kebab shops) and avoid super-crowded, noisy areas where pick-pocketing can go unnoticed. Try and plan a route home that means you’re always in clear view of a house; the people in that house might be the people whose door you run up to for safety. Even if it’s slightly longer than your regular route it’s worth it.
During university, the previously mentioned gang attack occurred during a walk between a field and a cemetery; I knew there were no nearby houses but I was tired and couldn’t be bothered to walk the long way. What an idiot.
My first mugging I lost my bag which thankfully only had a jumper and a load of leaflets from Freshers Fayre inside. Both my housemate and I had our bags ripped from our shoulders. I actually got all that stuff back – having realised there was nothing of value the muggers threw my bag into a bush about 200 metres down the road. My housemate lost her camera, passport, phone, wallet and make-up from her bag on the same night.
Before you all scream at your computers “I can wear what I want you victim-blaming prick”, yes, you have every right to wear whatever the hell you want. But crime happens for a lot of reasons and if you’re wearing something tight and restrictive that looks difficult to run or fight in, you’re a much more obvious target than somebody wearing trainers and a tracksuit.
If you know you’re going to wear something restrictive or heavy (I’m a big fan of beads and sequins) than try and plan your quickest way to a more “athletic” outfit which is lighter, less restrictive and easier to run/fight in; i.e. dumping your jacket, kicking your heels off so you can run, ripping up the back of your skirt. These are all things I take into consideration when dressing; I save my tightest and most ridiculous outfits for nights when I know I’m coming back in a cab or a big group.
Jewellery; anything that can be forcibly yanked off or used against you (chains that can strangle, hoops that can rip through earlobes) is a bad idea, but everything else is a good ideas. Heels can arguably be the best weapon you’ve got but you can’t run in heels (or at least, I can’t) so I prefer carrying a different sort of “weapon” and wearing trainers or boots.
The best piece of advice anybody gave me as a teenager was always know where your nearest “weapon” is. A good idea is to attach as many heavy key rings as possible to your keys and then whack somebody with it, or as a last resort grab your house key and aim for the eyes if somebody grabs you – sounds gory but it’s self-defence. Chunky bracelets, rings, spiky things and sturdy cat ears are all good weapons, as are hard instrument cases, bags with spikes, or any kind of satchel/luggage/pile of books with a hard edge.
That’s more than enough to start with… stay tuned for pt II. I hope some of you find this useful and if there is anything special you’d like me to address in pt II let me know!
14 thoughts on “How To Stay Safe At Night I”
Some great tips, thanks for this post
Well done! Rhetorical but innovative at times, and pretty comprehensive. As you say part 2, there is more in story for badasses.
It’s excellent! Very good tips and very important as well. I know a friend that is not scared at anything, although I always tell her “be careful”. She never listens to me. We sometimes walked back home in Southwark, at 1 am, or 3 am. Thankfully nothing has ever happened to me, because like you, I am always alert. To the point that people laugh at me, because I am “uber” alert. But that always saves me. She, on the contrary, was mugged 3 times. But as I said, she will never listen to me. I have one tip as well, but I am waiting for your 2nd part!
Thanks Laila for the tips on how to stay safe at night :-) They couldn’t have come at a better time because today was the first time i got a bit nervy when walking home from work (since it started getting dark early) :-)
I hope they are of some use!
Brill tips. It’s all about being aware.
Years ago, I was on a self defence course – one thing I remember from then that I still do now is to have my keys in my pocket, with my hand in my pocket, holding them. So you’re not fumbling to get into your front door at night, in the dark.
Yep! Keep your weapon close! x
These are all some really great tips! I wish I had this article when I first moved to NYC as an impressionable and naive 17 year old, haha.
sounds like you are speaking from experience, sorry to hear this, what the hell?my mum tells me over and over again ‘don’t go wondering off on your own’, so it has been drilled into me. it’s scary to think you have to be so careful, at night especially. I’m not a fan of getting taxi’s on my own, my friend’s friend had a horrible experience before. Looking forward to part 2 and more content from you. MUST SHARE!
Thanks for these tips! I always try to travel in groups and tell at least one other person where I’m heading :) -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s
some things i hadn’t really considered like the whole know where your weapon is
thanks for sharing these tips from your experience, I’m glad you’re ok :)