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Personal Safety on the Street: How Much Should I Worry?

By: Kate Simpson BA, MA - Updated: 27 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Personal Safety Rape Mugging

When out and about on the street, particularly at night or in quiet areas, many people worry about their personal safety. Fear of rape, muggings, attacks and harassment are common. Whilst it is important to keep an eye out for your personal safety, how much do individuals need to worry about staying safe on the street?

Seek out your local crime statistics

Rapes, muggings and violent attacks are all risks on the street but all these events are relatively rare, even in the most dangerous areas. If you are concerned for your personal safety on the street, you might find it useful to look up the crime statistics for your local area. These figures are likely to ease your anxieties. In most areas, crimes such as vandalism are far more common than crimes committed against individuals.

Know how to tackle harassment

Harassment in the street is, sadly, relatively common. From sexual harassment to bullying comments, most people will encounter some form of harassment in the street now and then. Whilst harassment is hurtful and often leaves victims feeling distressed or uncomfortable on the street, most harassers will not seek to inflict physical violence and choose their targets at random. Bear this in mind when considering your personal safety. Whilst it is perfectly natural to feel angry and upset if you have been harassed, take steps to keep your confidence levels up. Many perpetrators of harassment see intimidation as their sole goal. In keeping things in perspective, you will deny them their victory. Remember that it is never wise to behave abusively or violently towards someone who harasses you in the street. Tell them firmly to leave you alone and walk away.

Wise up on muggings

Muggings are rare but can prove traumatic for victims. Public worries surrounding the issue of mugging is relatively high, but this need not be the case if individuals are aware of the danger signs to look out for. For example, many muggers initially approach their victims in a seemingly friendly manner, in order to cause them to stop. Some ask potential victims for the time and then seize the opportunity to take the victim’s phone and valuables, for instance. When walking in risky areas, especially at night, know not to stop for anyone. Simply say a firm, “Sorry” and walk on. Take care to stick to well lit, busy areas wherever possible and know your route. Many muggers prey upon those who seem distracted or lost, seeing these people as easy targets. If you walk confidently, with a sense of purpose, you are unlikely to have any cause for worry. If you are particularly concerned about muggings and need to move through a dangerous area at night, consider riding a bike rather than walking. Take care to stay focused: never listen to music or talk on your phone in dangerous areas or at night. Remember, too, that most of these tips will also help to minimise the already low risk of rape when out and about on the streets.

If you have anxieties over your personal safety on the street, it is vital to remember that it is those who present themselves as confident and able who are usually least likely to experience attacks. Try to keep your safety fears in perspective and combat your worries by ensuring that you are prepared for a variety of possible scenarios.

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