The number of times we walk alone is way more compared to the times we have company. That’s just how it is. We’re all busy with life and have different places to be.
The thing is, you’re a lot more vulnerable on your own than with somebody in tow. The risk to your safety is high at night, but sometimes during the day too, depending on where you are.
People get robbed, assaulted, and abducted in broad daylight. And considering more than half of reported crimes are never solved, you want to do all you can to stay safe, especially when walking alone.
If you often find yourself walking alone at night or during the day in less than ideal environments, remember these safety tips:
- Don’t Get Distracted
Awareness of your surroundings is one of the most important safety strategies. Anything can happen at any time, and when you’re aware of what’s going on around you, you have the best chance of responding correctly.
If someone’s about to mug you, but you’ve been alert the whole time, the chances are that you’ll react quickly and foil the mugging attempt.
Remember, when you’re walking alone, no one has your back. You’re exposed to different dangers besides human violence. A car veering off the road can ram into you at any time.
But when you’re not distracted by your thoughts or earphones, you’re more likely to avoid these dangers.
- Hide Your Valuables
Valuables tend to attract attention and not the safe kind of attention. You don’t want to take shortcuts in the park, walk on empty streets, and alleys while openly carrying valuables.
Things like gold accessories and high-end smartphones can make you a target, an easy one at that because you’re all alone.
You probably love seeing your gorgeous, one-carat engagement ring on your finger at all times. But it can be a safety hazard when you’re walking alone in deserted areas or at night.
- Share Your Location
One of the standard safety advice you’ll hear is to tell people close to you your whereabouts. And it can be lifesaving.
Long before cell phones, people made it a habit of mentioning where they’re going and how long they’ll be gone.
Things have become a lot easier now. All you have to do is call a friend or family member and tell them where you are. Better yet, share your location with them.
Most, if not all, smartphones allow location sharing with a few clicks. All you need is Google Maps.
Sharing your location can help people find you quickly in case of an emergency.
- Move Quickly
Try to move quickly when walking alone, unless you’re in a busy street. Lingering attracts attention and makes you a noticeable target for criminals.
Also, try not to stop and talk to strangers, especially if you’re getting weird vibes. Check your surroundings to see if a person or car is tailing you. Most of all, don’t accept lifts or go near anyone in a car asking for assistance.
If your gut feeling is telling you something isn’t right, get to a public place fast.
- Carry a Defense Weapon
Not that you’ll get into a situation, but it happens to people every day. The best you can do is to be prepared to protect yourself in case something happens.
You may take all precautions, but the fact that you’re walking alone is still a safety risk in certain circumstances.
Carry a pocketknife, pepper spray, or Taser if it can help buy you some time to get out of danger.
- Stay in Busy Areas
There’s safety in numbers, and as much as you’re alone, staying in populated areas almost guarantees personal safety.
If your way home or to work isn’t busy enough to discourage assailants, find a better, well-lit, populated route that doesn’t have a history of crime.
- Hire Security
While this isn’t necessary for most people, it is for specific individuals. You have to consider your position or environment and how that may affect your safety.
Are you in a position of power or have access to money?
People who have a level of influence have an increased security risk and may need personal security.
Certain locations are also high risk. A person living in an affluent area in LA, California, can be an easy target for criminals. Hiring security services, in this case, would be a smart idea.
Walking alone is an everyday thing, and sometimes we get so comfortable in our routine that we forget there are some risks.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to make a habit of paying attention to your surroundings. Try not to zone off unless you’re in a populated, public place.
*Photos by Felicity Tai