We can’t believe it has come to this, but it’s time we talk about how to stay safe while walking on the street.
The recent kidnappings in cities like Pasay, Manila, and Makati have shaken several citizens. The most recent in Makati involving two men allegedly dragging a Chinese woman in a white van is the most jarring so far. The video circulating online shows the van speeding away while the woman was screaming for help. Who wouldn’t be scared?
Sure, the police are already investigating these cases but we can’t be complacent. We have to do our part in keeping ourselves safe as well. Many of you may already have your own tips and tricks to ensure street safety, but there’s nothing wrong with giving you additional reminders. Feel free to share these with your friends and family.
Tell someone where you are
Before leaving the house, let your family or your roommates know where you’re going. You can also update your significant other and your friends about your whereabouts, especially if you’re out late.
One trick I do is turn on my Google Maps’ live location sharing so that my boyfriend can keep track of me when I’m alone (since he lives far away from me). He does this when I go to malls in, let’s say, Pasig, or when I’m traveling overseas.
If you want to use live location, just download the Google Maps app on your phone and click “Location sharing” from the menu. You can set how many people you can share your location with and also keep track of a certain number of people.
Be with a group
If you’re planning to go out at night, it’s best to surround yourself with a trustworthy group of friends or your colleagues. But if you’re alone, make sure you’re in an area with a lot of people—be it while walking or while waiting for your Grab to pick you up.
Take note that you should still stay vigilant even when you’re surrounded by several people you don’t know. Just keep walking and don’t talk to anyone who tries to approach you.
Stay in well-lit areas
Aside from being with a group, you should stay in well-lit areas where you can see other people come and go. Google Maps is also reportedly adding a “Lighting” layer to its app which will show where well-lit streets are. This can be useful for people working late once it’s officially rolled out.
Again, you still have to keep your guard up since the kidnapping incident in Makati happened at a brightly lit road in a commercial area. But it’s definitely safer since you can survey your surroundings better. If the streets are dark though, just stay inside a cafe or your office building while waiting for your ride.
Keep an eye on each other while traveling home
If you’re commuting, it’s best to travel with a friend or colleague who’s going the same route as you are. You can also make use of Grab’s multi-stop feature so you can share a ride with someone you know. It’s a great way to keep track if they’ve arrived home safely as well.
Another thing that my friends and I do is book our cars at the same time and/or waiting for others to get in their rides before going our separate ways. It’s just so we know that everyone in our group already has transportation taken care of.
Text when you’re home
We already talked about how important this small gesture is, but it’s worth repeating. Tell your friends to text or PM you when they get home, and vice versa. It’s important to let each other know you’re safe, especially if you’re coming home from a late-night event.
Bring a can of pepper spray, taser, or a whistle in case of emergencies. You can also take note of this chart to know where you should hit someone during dire situations:
For more tips on self-defense, our friends at Scout Magazine listed down other tips like holding your keys while walking and keeping an actual rock in your bag.
Have emergency numbers ready
The Philippines has a national hotline (911) so it’s important to bookmark that number in case something bad happens to you or other people. It might also help to save local police hotlines.
Another emergency trick you can do is download Life360. Similar to Google Maps’ location sharing, you can track people using this app. It also has a feature where you can make emergency calls to people you’ve shared your location with when you feel like you’re in danger.
Guys ff the kidnapping news, you can download the Life360 app and share your location to your loved ones. The location is accurate as long as your phone’s location is always on. It can also create emergency calls to people you’ve shared your location to. Stay alert and safe! pic.twitter.com/fFtce1lFcJ
If, for example, you feel like someone is following you or is about to do something bad to you, we suggest you run fast and find help. Go to places where there’s a security guard or a police outpost so they can help you out.