Keeping safe at night

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Gizmogle

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It's starting to get dark early at night now, and I'm usually out late travelling at weekends. Being only 15, I'm getting kind of scared about the people around me. One woman at the station was talking about how many times she's been approached to be mugged in Derby, and I saw some kids dealing drugs near Morledge. So as you can imagine, I'm feeling a little vulnerable around on my own at night. I've been doing some research on the internet, and I can't find anything useful on how to protect yourself. My friend said I should get a replica gun to scare away anyone that were to approach me. But I'm not so sure...
I thought you guys might be able to help me out... :)
 
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Craig

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My friend said I should get a replica gun to scare away anyone that were to approach me. But I'm not so sure...
Probably a good way to get yourself arrested too :lol:

The best way is probably to avoid situations by being careful not to go to dodgy areas late at night, sticking to busy areas, etc.
 

Bill EWS

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Hi Gizmogle,
You are not alone in feeling vulnerable, as older people like myself also feel more unsecure as we get older and find an ever changing world, which we can’t quite understand or find any reason for. Guns, real or imitation certainly are not the answer. The main thing is to to keep aware of your surroundings and have a set line to get you to your destination. If you know the area, work out alternative routes. Try to keep to reasonably lit areas and if other adults are going about their business keep reasonably close to them. Mentally check out the street you have to use, as far as you can see and if you see anything/one acting a little suspicious, if it’s possible, turn back and try an alternative route. Muggers are usually very sad, scared people and more insecure than most of us and they think acting like that makes them feel 'big' but, alone they are just as scared as anyone. In most cases you are going to be perfectly safe. Much of the fear is in your own mind, aided by the continual scare publicity in the media. In most cases you really do have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to get serioiusly involved in an incident.

I find it very sad that young people today have such fear, which never existed when I was your age. There were strange characters about, and I was approached by one or two, but you just had to keep walking on, they never followed, but they were few and far between and seldom if ever reverted to vilolence or attacked children or women, but then, drugs were hardly known and wouldn't be part of the equation. I was only be aware of drugs from American films. Noeone I knew ever mentioned them. However, even in the 70's, when I worked at Marylebone Depot, I had to start at odd times of day and night and would have to walk too and from Paddington station, yet I don't recall ever feeling unsafe walking the streets. In my 40 odd years of this type of work, I or the majortity of my colleagues never got caught in anything serious, though you would hear the odd cabin talk about seeing odd characters along the way or of seeing police chasing someone.

From the 80's something certainly changed and I have no doubt that drugs are the main reason. But likewise, we never had 24 hours a day TV spewing out the same 'horrible' news day and night, and talking heads disecting every event, which makes it sound as if the World is really falling apart. I have virtually given up watching TV news for that reason alone.

At the moment you are just feeling insecure but as you get more 'street wise' you will feel more comfortable about going about on your own at odd hours. Afterall, everyone has to, eventually, and as proven, in most cases everthing is well. Try not to worry about the news media and use your own intellegence and on-going experience to keep yourself safe. The more you worry about it, the harder it will be to break out of that insecurity.

I trust that this may be of some help. But the only one that can really help is youself, in facing up to any uneccesary fear. Thankfully, in most cases, they prove unfounded. You have already started on that road by writing to this Forum and sharing your fears with others.

Regards.

BillEWS.
 
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My friend said I should get a replica gun to scare away anyone that were to approach me.
Definately no, as Craig said, you can be arrested for that!

Try and avoid quiet, dimly lit or unlit alleyways

Walk on the direction facing oncoming traffic.

If someone is following you and you start to feel insecure, cross the road and walk on the other side.

By all mean, stay alert all the time.
 

ChrisCooper

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Replica guns sound a very bad idea, since you might find an armed response team showing up. The best thing is to keep any valubles hidden (phones in particular, and also cameras), try to keep away from anyone who bothers you, crossing the road if necesarry, and keep alert. Mobile phones are really a big problem, since they are are a target for thieves, they draw attention to themselves by ringing and flashing, and they distract you from what's going on around you. I often turn mine to silent when out at night, especially in less safe areas, and only answer it when I'm somewhere more comfortable. If you must have anything valuble out, keep them securly attached to yourself to make them difficult to take. I had someone try and grab my video camera whilst on a train, but since the strap was around my neck they couldn't take it, so gave up. One really useful thing is to carry a touch with you, something compact but bright, since you can shine it at people, and that moments blindness and disorientation can be valuble for either escape or to get the first hit, and can be effective on groups aswell as individuals. Another thing involving light is that you're safer in a dark area surrounded by lit areas than a lit area surrounded by darkness, since in the former, you are hard to see wheras others approaching are easy to see, but in the latter, you are lit up and easy to see, wheras those around you are hard to see. Dark clothing can be good aswell, since again you are less ovious.
 

Gizmogle

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Yeah, I know all that stuff. But, if I am approached, none of this stuff is gonna me get away from them. I travel alot and often have to go out of the station into the towns of places that I don't know. I don't live in Derby and don't know the area very well, but I always stay on lit streets and am very aware when people are around me. I know ways that can help me get away, but alot of it is very risky. I always carry a knife with me for protection. (just to make me feel safer) But if someone comes to mug you and you take out a knife, it's just going to escalate the situation and possible end in one of us getting stabbed. There must be something that can keep people like me safe.

The torch thing is a great idea though. Thankyou :)
 

Gizmogle

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Yeah, definately!
I'm gonna go find one now :smile:

Thing that annoys me though, is that, my bus driver was saying about how many times she had nearly been mugged and she kept reporting it and as soon as the clocks changed and it got lighter, they didn't care anymore. She was still getting approached in the daylight!
 

theblackwatch

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Another thing, dont keep anything expensive in view or around your neck, ie camera, or carry a camera bag with you - if you do have to have a camera bag, get one that looks like a simple rucksack (see my posting of a few months back here). Also, if you really do have to go away from busy areas (and it is worth taking a longer route sometimes to avoid anywhere that could be a bit dodgy), try too look like you know where you're going, if you look unsure, it makes you an easy target.
 

compsci

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I ended up in some seriously dodgy areas in my time in New York, but never had any problems at all.

One thing that I tend to do that may help is looking at a map of the area I'm going to / end up in etc before leaving the train. If you look like you (and hopefully do) know where you are going then you're less likely to be a target compared to someone who looks around all the time and generally looks lost.

I'm sure that walking extremely fast also helps. I've been known to overtake joggers when walking at full speed.

Another technique which I saw used by some ladies in Brooklyn late at night was to stop and pretend to look at your watch / tie your shoelace etc if someone approaches you. If the person keeps walking (as I did) they're rather less likely to be a threat.
 

960012

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i had a dodgy guy come and sit in a first class compartment, i sifftly moved away, and now sit in the open bit of first class where i can gaurntee there is someone else sat. i saw him again, luckly i had a 444 home this time and the first class is open, he came and sat opersite me on the table the other side of the coach, the guard came along (i knew the gaurd) this bloke swifftly moved away and he then persisted on walking up and down the train, he then dissappered at southampton central.
 

Bighat

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Glad to see that, for once, most of the replies have taken this matter seriously. Most of the advice offered has been sensible, DON'T carry a gun (OR KNIFE) yourself, as you could well end up having it used on you; quite apart from the fact it's illegal and no defence if the attacker gets hurt.

No one has mentioned sprays. These too are illegal, even a can of hair spray squirted in someone's face can be classed as offensive, although the police WOULD have to prove that it was being carried FOR THAT PURPOSE (nudge nudge etc).

Haven't seen anyone suggest one of the new 'screech' alarms, or even an old fashioned whistle! Noise and commotion is the enemy of the rapist and mugger.

Finally, much good advice about well lit streets etc. One which may not have occured to you as a young person is, dare I say it, TELL YOUR PARENTS where you are going, and with whom. Old fashioned I know, but like you, they know the local area, and may be best able to offer sensible local advice.

Sorry to be a party pooper, but what price your safety?
 

37372

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I too feel nervous when walking back when its dark, its not so bad Mon-Thursday but friday and saturday's when most people go out is quite intimidating, most of the time I try to get a lift home. After all, Mexborough isn't exactly the most pleasant town in the north...

My advice is to keep yourself to yourself and keep a low profile.
 

Tom B

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I too feel nervous when walking back when its dark, its not so bad Mon-Thursday but friday and saturday's when most people go out is quite intimidating, most of the time I try to get a lift home. After all, Mexborough isn't exactly the most pleasant town in the north...

My advice is to keep yourself to yourself and keep a low profile.
Heh!

I'd agree with the advice - keep yourself to yourself and don't draw attention to yourself. If I'm going to be in "dodgy" areas, I'm sure to check out a map first - possibly print it out to take it with me. Certainly plan the route, and know how I can take a "route B" if nescesarry. Also know how to get quickly back to the main road if you feel uncomfortable.
 
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