Concerning reports have been emerging from around Vancouver recently about women facing unwelcome approaches from men in vehicles. These approaches usually follow a pattern, with a male concocting some excuse to coerce his target into his car. Luckily, these approaches haven’t amounted to anything serious but it provides a stark reminder about personal safety.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has provided the right atmosphere for these potential crimes of opportunity to flourish. Foot traffic is down across our cities as people stay home and play their role in helping to stop the spread. With winter on the horizon, and the days growing shorter, we wanted to provide a reminder on some personal safety tips to be aware of.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Far too often, we’ll have our heads buried in our phones as we walk down the street. This puts us at risk in so many different ways, ranging from vehicle traffic, to those looking to do us harm. If you’re out and about, especially at night, always be aware of the area around you and anyone acting in an unusual manner. If you feel unsafe, call a friend and keep them on the line. Alternatively, call the police and tell them what you’re currently experiencing.
It’s OK to Be Rude
Many unwanted approaches will first begin with a person, usually a female alone, being approached by a person in a vehicle. If a person calls to you from a car, ignore the need to respond. It won’t feel natural in the moment, but it will help to keep you safe and away from the person’s vehicle. Under no obligation should you get into a stranger’s car.
Make Others Aware of Your Plans
From WhatsApp to phone calls and emails, we’ve never enjoyed more ways to easily communicate with each other. If you’re out alone at night, always make someone aware of your plans. This could involve letting them know your route, what time you expect to arrive at, or even a message to request a call if you haven’t arrived by a certain time. If something does go wrong, having a quick response can make all the difference.
Make Some Noise
Would-be attackers want to act as quietly and quickly as possible. Make this impossible for them. Invest a few dollars in something noisy. This can be as simple as a whistle, or as elaborate as a personal alarm keychain. This will draw eyeballs to the situation and bring others to your aid.
Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
If you have any concerns whatsoever about a journey, or a particular route you usually take, don’t risk it. Instead, try and catch a ride with someone you trust, catch a cab or an Uber. You’ll arrive home quicker, safer and likely warmer!
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