While most of us try to avoid unsafe areas (which is definitely what you should do, if at all possible), that’s not always an option. And, while crime can occur anywhere, even in safe areas, the likelihood is increased if you’re entering a notoriously unsafe or crime-ridden area. In these cases, you need to be even more vigilant and aware of ways that you can protect yourself if you do happen to end up in an unsafe situation. We’ll be guiding you through various ways that you can protect yourself while traveling through an unsafe area.
Have a way of alerting people
If you find yourself in a precarious position, the first thing you need to think about is alerting someone to the fact that you are in danger. There are various ways to do this. The first option is a panic button – either on your phone or a physical one that you wear – which can be used to send your location to your security company. The second is a panic whistle, which will alert people close by to the fact that someone needs help. While these are both valid options, we would recommend getting a personal alarm, since there are so many types that you’ll surely find one that works for you. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to have a way of alerting people. Many attackers or robbers will flee as soon as more people arrive on the scene. This option is also one that can help ensure your safety all the time, not just in unsafe areas.
Go during the day
It may be the case that you can’t avoid going into an unsafe area. If this is true, you should at least do your best to go during the day. More crimes occur during night-time, because it’s easier to sneak up on someone in the dark, and it’s less likely that a passer-by will see a confrontation and stop to help. While going into a dangerous area during daytime won’t eradicate the possibility of an attack or robbery, it is slightly safer than going at night.
Travel in a group
Whether you need to go somewhere for work, or you’re exploring one of the finest travel destinations, your chances of being attacked or confronted are always less if you’re in a group. Most attackers will aim for victims that are traveling alone, since they make easier targets. Going in a group also improves your chances of getting away if someone does try to rob or attack you. In general, group travel is much safer than solo travel, but this is even more true when it comes to dangerous or unsafe areas.
Carry pepper spray
Keep in mind that pepper spray isn’t legal everywhere, so this might not be an option for you. That being said, if it is legal, it’s a great idea to carry pepper spray with you, preferably in an easy to access place, so that you don’t need to unzip your backpack to get to it. While pepper spray can cause severe damage to your attacker, that’s not the point of using it. The point of using pepper spray is simply to distract your attacker and stop them from going after you, giving you enough time to escape and get somewhere safe.
Be on alert
We often allow our minds to wander when we’re traveling. Whether we’re driving or walking, we’re constantly thinking about to-do lists, or planning our futures. However, if you’re traveling in an unsafe location, this is a luxury you can’t afford. You need to be on alert all the time, especially when it comes to the way people behave. Paying attention may help you spot a potential attack before it happens, and it may also help you identify any criminals later, if necessary. Not everyone is naturally observant, but observation is definitely a skill you can learn that will come in handy when you find yourself in an unsafe area or situation.
Know some basic self-defense
Of course, if you have the opportunity to go a self-defense class, you should take it. Knowing how to defend yourself is a valuable skill to have, even for times where you’re not traveling in an unsafe location. However, if you can’t go to a self-defense class, at least brush up on your skills by learning a few basic moves. If in doubt, always go for the groin, throat or eyes. These are the places most likely to force your attacker to let you go. Don’t stay around to try and fight them any further – if you get an opportunity to run, you should take it.
Let people know where you are
It’s always a good idea to have someone know where you’re going, but it’s an absolute must if you think you’re headed somewhere potentially dangerous. You should also tell them what time you expect to arrive at your destination, and let them know once you do. That way, if you haven’t let them know you’ve arrived safely, they can call to check in, or call the police if you’re not picking up. For this reason, it’s a good idea to always have a fully charged phone. We’d recommend getting a power bank, just in case.
Pretend you’re on a call
If someone is acting suspicious or making you uncomfortable, a smart tip is to pretend you’re on a phone call. Attackers are less likely to attack if they know someone may hear it happening and call the police. You can also casually mention the location where you are, so that the attacker thinks someone may come looking for you if anything should happen. Naturally, this isn’t a fool-proof plan, but it’s worth a shpt.
Trust your instincts
Many people will write this off, but it’s worth a mention. If something inside you tells you something wrong, don’t brush it off. We often pick up on things without realizing them, and your body may be telling you that there’s danger ahead before your brain has figured it out.