March 18, 2021 | HFerris | Blog

Staying Safe Whilst Walking Alone

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Figure walking on a zebra crossing

We here at Keytek® are in firm support of ensuring that everyone has the right to walk home safely. We want to express that the below tips and products are not the solution to the difficult situation we find ourselves in now, but rather suggestions on how you can try to keep yourself save in these uncertain times.

 

The realities of walking alone, especially at night, can be daunting. This leaves many feelings unsafe and anxious whilst exercising, commuting, or travelling. In our society, the idea of “text me when you get home” is a constant reminder that we need to be vigilant when travelling alone and need to be cautious to keep safe, no matter our age or gender. We have done a bit of research and have compiled a few things you can do to try and keep yourself safe and the most important apps to have on hand.

 

Tips to Stay Safe When Walking Home Alone

We would never recommend that anyone walks home alone, we would always suggest trying to walk home with a friend or in a group, however if you do end up walking home alone there are a few tips you could consider. These tips not only are suggested to make your journey safer but also help to reduce the anxiety you might be feeling.

 

1.      Think About Your Footwear

The first tip you might hear is that you should always wear appropriate footwear when walking, and unfortunately it is true. Although a nice pair of shoes might match your outfit perfectly, if there is a chance that you might have to walk home, we would always suggest wearing comfortable shoes.

This doesn’t mean that you need to carry around a pair of running trainers, but rather consider a pair of comfortable flat shoes or a pair of worn in comfortable shoes.

2.      Plan Your Way Home

If you find yourself walking home on your own, no matter what time of day it is, make sure you know where you are going and that you stick to as many main roads as possible. Walking through an alley might save you a few minutes but it’s not worth the extra risk that comes with it. Not only will knowing your way home make you feel safer, but it will also help you to feel more confident whilst walking.

3.      Phone a Friend

If you feel nervous or anxious, phone a friend. This can be a partner, friend or relative, but give them a call and stay on the phone with them until you reach your destination. This will allow you to feel more relaxed as you focus on getting to your destination and will help to make you less of a target for crime. Be cautious however to remain aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t distracted from traffic or others.

4.      Keep Your Keys in Your Hands

This might seem overzealous, but it means that when you reach your destination you can enter quickly, without having to fumble around in your bag or become distracted at the door.

5.      Try to Remain Calm and Confident

Easier said than done but being sure of yourself makes you a lesser target for crime. Walk calmly and steady to show that you aren’t panicked and are aware of your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to look people in the eyes or even greet them as you go past.

6.      Carry a Whistle or an Alarm

If you are nervous, or regularly walk home alone, consider carrying an alert whistle that is easily accessible to you when walking. This can help to alert others in the vicinity that you feel unsafe or threatened and need assistance.

7.      Walk in the Direction of Oncoming Traffic

Walking into traffic ensures that you are more aware of the cars passing you by and can prevent a car from coming up behind you.

8.      Avoid Carrying Multiple Bags

Try to carry as little bags as possible as carrying multiple can give the impression that you may have valuables on your person, and it can also restrict your ability to react quickly if need be.

9.      Don’t Distract Yourself with Your Phone

It can be easy to resort to looking at your phone for comfort, but we strongly advise against this as it can distract you from your surroundings. Refrain from texting or playing a game as it takes your attention away from your destination and can make you a target for crime. Listening to music through headphones may seem like a good idea but it makes it harder to be aware of your surroundings leaving you vulnerable to people approaching or road traffic.

10.  Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you feel unsafe, or are feeling threatened by another person, don’t be afraid to walk into a supermarket or hospitality establishment and ask for help. Surrounding yourself with people if you feel you have become a target will reduce the risk to yourself and help you to find a solution. For example, if you feel unsafe, walking into a supermarket and asking for help will always start to deescalate the situation and someone can hopefully help to find you a way home safely.

 

If you ever feel that you are not safe or are being threatened, don’t just ignore it or carrying on walking home, always look to find help and place yourself into a situation where it is harder to get to you.

 

What Should I Do If I am Being Followed?

The feeling of being followed is unnerving and unsettling and although thankfully is usually just a result of feeling uncomfortable or an overactive imagination, it is important to ensure that you take your instincts seriously and remain calm as you get to a safe location.

 

1.      Stay Calm, Steady and Confident

Controlling the fear is important as it allows you to think rationally. Your gut might tell you to run for it, but in fact this could put you in more danger. The best thing for you to do is to subtlety pick up the pace ever so slightly and see how the person following reacts. Have they sped up? Have they remained at the same pace?

Most of the time, the person we think is following isn’t, so taking the few seconds to calm down and assess the situation can make the world of difference.

2.      Change Direction

If you know the area well, an option to see if you are being followed is to slightly change direction. This could be taking the longer way around or crossing the road when safe. If the individual copies your movements, then you should seek help immediately.

3.      Go Somewhere Public

If there is no-one at home or you feel threatened, we recommend that you go to a crowded public place where you can tell someone about your fear. At night, it can be harder to find a safe place, but places such as bars and supermarkets might be a good option. Express your suspicions to a member of the security team or member of staff who may be able to help or remain at your side until the police arrive.

4.      Don’t make it Obvious

If you feel a serious threat that someone is following you, don’t make them aware of this. Panicking, running or even looking over your shoulder can give the game away which might prompt a confrontation. Whilst they believe you unaware, you have the advantage to get to a safe place without raising suspicion.

5.      Call the Police

If the situation calls for it, discreetly call the police and inform them of the threat. The trained phone operatives will help guide you through the situation whilst they get help on the way.

 

Best Personal Alarm Devices for 2021

 

TooDoo 130db SafeSound

Stylish and practical, this device can attach onto your keys, purse or bag and once activated sets off an alarm. At 1030 dB and with a range of 600 feet, the high-pitched beeping is both an effective alert and deterrent. As an added feature a built in LED is situated on top which boasts a light of 80 lumens.

To activate the alarm, the top strap needs to be pulled from the device, this will then sound the alarm, which will last for 1.5 hours uninterrupted on full batteries. To deactivate the device, the pin at the end of the wrist strap simply needs to be replaced into the slot.

 

Safesound Personal Alarm

Small, compact, and effective, this alarm is connected to a keychain that allows you to attach it easily to your bag, purse, keys or even belt loops for easy access. In an emergency you simply need to pull the pin out of the top of the device or press the SOS button twice, which will activate 130-140dB alarm to alert others around you. As an added feature there is a LED light at the end of the device to illuminate dark surroundings.

As an added benefit, you can get this device in different colours which makes it easier to match with your bag or keys so that it can be more discreet.

 

Heart Shape Personal Security Alarm

A more discreet alarm that looks more like a keychain, this device is a reflective heart shape but is also a deceiving alarm. Simply pull the pin from the top and a 130dB alarm will sound that can be heard from up to 600 feet, alerting others that you feel threatened or are in danger. The battery included has a yearlong 365-day standby time, ensuring that should you need it the alarm will sound.

 

Phone Apps to Keep you Safe

One Scream

This app is the perfect companion for those travelling alone, especially at night, to feel more confident that even if you can’t reach your phone or personal security alarm in an emergency you are still offered some protection.

How does the app work?

When running on the background of your phone, One Scream can detect a panicked scream, identify your location, and send an alert to help to your dedicated emergency contacts even if buried at the bottom of your bag.

When you are in danger and cannot reach your phone

  1. Your panicked scream triggers the app.
  2. A loud siren is activated, the phone starts vibrating, and a notification pops up.
  3. There is a 20 second period to allow you to cancel the alarm.
  4. If not aborted, an automated message is sent to your emergency contacts alongside your location.
  5. If you and your emergency contact have an android phone, a phone line is opened so that they can hear the real events.

How to set up the app

To set up the app, simply add up to 3 different contacts to be notified when you need help and activate the app to run in the background of your phone whist you are on the move. Your emergency contacts will also need to download the app from the app store to get the notifications should there be an emergency.

 

One Scream FAQs

What if I don’t have signal or a connection?

If you don’t have signal, the app will still work in terms of creating a loud siren but will not be able to notify your contacts. Not to worry however as this is still a very effective alert system for people in the surrounding area and acts as a deterrent.

Is my location monitored?

Your location is only detected when the app has activated due to detecting a scream, otherwise your location is not shared.

 

Parachute

When an emergency occurs, the Parachute app starts a visual and audio live recording whilst also sending a live location to your designated emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts can then access the live recording to understand the situation and see in real time what is going on, whilst also allowing you to see the status of the alerts and whether the alerts have been successfully received.

How to set up the app

Once downloaded from the app store, the app requires a monthly subscription, however with the vast amount of features the cost is high value for money. You then need to allocate emergency contacts with information for how to contact them.

 

Emergency SOS (ISO, Apple)

A built-in feature for Apple phones, this allows for an emergency SOS to be sent out to both your emergency contacts and the local authorities to alert that you are in need for help.

How does it work?

Once set up in the phone’s settings, you simply press the lock button on the phone 5 times to activate the emergency SOS, from there a loud siren activates from the phone and you have 5 seconds to deactivate the distress call before your emergency contacts are notified of your situation and your location and a call to emergency services are connected.

How do I set up the Emergency SOS?

The emergency SOS is already active on all iPhones but should you wish to add emergency contacts, you need to go into the settings searching for ‘emergency SOS’.

How to add emergency contacts

  1. Open the Health App and tap your profile picture.
  2. Open the Medical ID.
  3. Select Edit in the upper right-hand corner.
  4. Scroll to the emergency contact section and tap the green plus button.
  5. Create a new contact with their details and their relationship to you.
  6. Tap done to complete.