Late one night this past week a young woman was mugged while walking a well-lit city street in a wealthy Boston neighborhood. It was a route she had walked hundreds of time before. She was walking home from work when the girls approached her and tried to engage her. She ignored them, quickened her pace and kept moving. The girls responded by shoving her a few times. She kept walking. And then the girls tased her, bit her, roughed her up and ran off with her iphone, Tpass and her sense of security.
She ran back to work, a few blocks away, and called the police. She is physically fine. But she is far from OK.
Perhaps the thing that amazes me most about this young woman is that she kept her wits. She was on her phone when these girls came at her. She was doing what I do and what so many others do – she called someone to walk with her because it was late and dark.
Sadly, her visible iPhone made her a target. Her last words before the phone went dead were “call the police.”
No one plans to be a victim of a crime. But it happens. So while I am certainly not trying to make you paranoid, I encourage you to be safe and smart. To that end, here are a few simple things you can do as a pedestrian to be safe and reduce your risk of being targeted.
Perhaps this is obvious, but plan ahead and think about your rough. Don’t take unnecessary risks. If you have to walk ask someone to walk with you. If you walk alone make sure someone knows your route and when to expect you at your destination. If you aren’t meeting others make sure someone expects you to check in when you arrive safely.
Be aware of your surroundings both visually and audibly. If possible walk a well-lit route that is populated and not isolated. If you must walk alone but see other people walking the same route keep them in view and earshot. Know the open businesses along the route and note porches or windows with lights on as you walk in case you need to duck in for help.
Don’t walk with your phone in view. Opt for a discrete hands free set or the apple ear buds that double as a hands-free set. Don’t listen to music that blocks ambient sounds. Carry pepper spray or walk with your keys in your hand.
If someone does come at you and demands your wallet or your phone, give it to them. Whatever material thing they want give it to them – it isn’t worth it. Make note of which direction they flee and what they are wearing but don’t chase them. Most importantly, find a safe place and call the police. They will gladly give you a ride home after taking your report.
As always, nothing here should be construed as legal advice or to create an attorney/client relationship between you and Melone Law.