My Car’s Been Stolen

white ford fiesta lailas car

A quick post today… my car was stolen from right outside my house this weekend. It’s gutting. I’ve reported it to the police and the insurance company, but this blog has around 8000 followers and maybe if everybody keeps a concerted eye out, it might get found? That’s what I’m dearly hoping anyway. Continue reading

How To Stay Safe At Night I

elf queen red clock vintage headdressIt’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.


ACCEPT CRIME AND PREPARE

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!

friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london
PLAN YOUR ROUTES

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.

BE ALERT

It’s 1am, you’re a bit drunk, it’s freezing, you just want to get home. I get it, but stay alert. Don’t listen to music, and try to put all your thoughts out of your mind for a few minutes so you can concentrate on being safe. The first time I got mugged I was meandering home with my friend, lost in conversation under our umbrella and oblivious of what was around me. It’s the only time I wasn’t aware of the mugger before the crime.

If you see a person near you, work out where the next nearest person is – if one of them tries to attack you then you need to know where your nearest shout for help is. Where is your nearest escape route to run? Could you jump over any of the surrounding walls? Pay attention to weird behaviour; if you think somebody is following you then go into a shop and wait for them to go away or walk up to a random house and pretend to get yours keys out to go again. (If somebody in the house asks what the hell you’re doing, explain!).

Frankfurt germany myzeil christmas market shopping winter wonderland

STORE YOUR GOODS

Don’t keep your important stuff in your bag! Bags are super-easy to grab off unsuspecting laps or rip off of shoulders. Don’t take it out unless you absolutely need it, and try to store items on your person if at all possible; inside compartments of coats, skirt/trouser pockets; I’ve even stored my house key in my shoe and in the lining of a dress once. This sounds ridiculous but since I was 18 I’ve always followed the same ritual when clubbing: keep my house key on a bracelet, £20 in my bra, and my phone in my pocket. Sounds stupid but it’s safer! I basically only wear skirts and dresses with pockets for the same reason.

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.

friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london

DRESS SENSIBLY

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.

IMG_7302
PREPARE YOUR WEAPONS

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.

True story; one of my retired pairs of ears were studded metal cat ears that I once jabbed somebody in the face with, then scratched down their cheek (actually drawing blood) and then poked in their ear whilst this guy had grabbed me. He let go in surprise and I ran the hell out of there to the nearest shop and called a cab.

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!