How To Stay Safe Walking Alone

2 January 2018

Now that it's darker outside, it's incredibly important to stay safe while on-foot. Unfortunately, general crime in England has increased dramatically according to the ONS seeing an increase in July onwards of 2017. There has been a sharp increase in knife crime and theft (both physical and online fraud).

Last year, after a lovely dinner with friends in my quiet hometown, I was grabbed from behind by a man while on my way to the train station. I am unsure whether he intended to harm me or was merely a perverted drunk but either way, I was absolutely terrified. He kept harassing me for a good while until I turned a corner and bumped into a group of young lads who I assume startled him off and he swiftly made way towards a different direction. From then, I ran to the train (in heels might I add) and called my friend straight away. 

When I got to my destination, I was so scared - I called an Uber to take me to my front door which is typically a 3 minute walk away. It was after this, I decided to look into ways to safeguard myself and I found an app called 'Companion' and have used this on all my walks home. 

The concept of the app is very simple yet invaluable. Before you set off home, you ask a friend if they'll be your 'companion'. This means that you assign them to track your journey home, they don't even need the app themselves. You set your route home and it works out how long you should take. If anything happens to you during your journey, an alert pops up on your phone and you have to select whether you're safe or not. It gives you a time limit to respond and when that time limit runs out, it assumes you are unsafe and calls the police. 

For example, if the headphone jack is suddenly pulled out or the phone is dropped, the alert will appear. It will also track your speed and notice when you may be running (as I discovered accidentally and gave my bestie a heart attack). If you do not return home in time, it also alerts you and your companion.

The thing I was most in-shock about was the fact that this happened in my quiet home town and during a very short distance to the station. I live in Manchester and I always thought that if anything happened to me, it'd be in a city. It just goes to show that you can never be too safe. 

And if you ever need extra backup, you can also buy a spiky ring like I did or steal a staple remover from work.

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