Let's Talk About Safety
I have jumped back into a True Crime addiction… I am reading mysteries, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries about all things Historical True Crime. I have been really into the history of the Mob and the gangsters of the early 1900’s —- these guys have some crazy stories, but for the most part, it seems like gangsters only took issue with other gangsters. But then I came across a podcast about the Black Dahlia killer —- information and a theory as to who killed Elizabeth Short and how. It is a fascinating crime in so far as it is an old crime that is still unsolved; no leads, no conclusion; a Jack the Ripper type of historical black hole. There are a few theories out there, but there is no Sherlock Holmes full explanation of what happened to that young Hollywood hopeful….
I was walking to work this morning (I was actually walking to Starbucks to get coffee and write before work, but that’s neither here nor there…) and for some reason I felt that I needed to write about something that I don’t think a lot of people think about. Why do we let our guard down when we feel like we are in a “safe” neighborhood?
I recently went back to work at a restaurant that I used to work at —- it is actually the very first restaurant that I worked at when I moved here, this is life coming around full circle —- the restaurant is in Denver, in a neighborhood called Cherry Creek. If you don’t know Denver, look it up: Cherry Creek is a nice neighborhood, the homes are pricey, the schools are great, the mall has a H+M but also a Tiffany’s and a Louis Vuitton store (something for everyone) there are upscale hotels and restaurants and everyone walking around is very put together —- ALWAYS. People have their headphones in when walking alone and stare at their phone screen, Instagramming, careless and free.
While that might be fine while you are in the mall or walking out of the hotel (although I recommend paying attention at all times, even just a little bit, to make sure that you know who is around you…. But that’s just me) maybe even in the thick of the restaurants and shopping area, it is not a safe way to be when you are not in a crowd. People are not always what they seem and you are not always safe just because the homes you are walking in front of cost millions of dollars. Just as you can walk around without living in the area, so can anyone else that can physically get there. Cops and robbers isn’t just a game now —- although, now that we are adults, awake to the world, the game has expanded to include more friends and even more enemies.
I have an acquaintance that used to be a coworker —- we worked at the exact same restaurant I started back at in the exact same location. She used to walk to work because her fiancé lived nearby (actually about the same place I parked my car today…) She walked the 2 blocks past the shopping and food, crossed the street, and was now walking in front of the houses —- it was here that she was robbed. THANKFULLY, nothing more happened, she handed them the cash that she made that night and they let her go. Her fiancé lived on the next block; if this is a better frame of reference for you —- she was located on the street between 4th + 5th —- her fiancé lived between 5th + 6th.
***** If you watched my story on Instagram yesterday I took you on the exact walk that I am talking about —- I walked you right past the spot that she was mugged *****
I walk with my eyes wide awake when I am in an area where I know something could happen (which in reality is anywhere and everywhere) but this is an example, a great reminder especially for me, that just because you are in an area that seems safe —- just because the residence are wealthy and do not need your money —- they are not the only people in the area. They may be the inhabitants, they may be the demographic, but you are not the sole outsider there.
This is just a reminder to keep your eyes open, listen to and know your surroundings, and make sure that you have as much protection as possible. I have pepper spray, usually on my keys —- I lost mine flying a while ago, but also in my car in a little cubby by the steering wheel. I keep a pocket knife in my purse and try to put it in my pocket when walking alone —- sometimes I forget, we are all human. I have one more tip / trick for you to consider while out and about: A wine key (wine bottle opener) is a great tool —- when I leave work, I always open my wine key, it is easy to hold in my palm with the handle and silver hooked end near my fingers and the screw wedged between my middle and ring fingers creating a 6th finger just like Captain Hook. If you punch someone in the face with a corkscrew affixed to your fist, you will probably gain a few extra seconds in your escape.
I am not a safety instructor, and I have never taken a safety class. I am not an expert, and the experts might say something different. But I feel, that for me, fighting back is in my nature. I have jumped into the backseat of my car with my kids, not bucked into their carseats yet, locked the doors, and finished strapping them in while sitting on the center console. I would not want to put them in any danger —- maybe I overreacted in that situation, but maybe I didn’t. What I do know is this: I felt threatened and wanted to protect my children, I got into the car and locked the doors (first step of protection was putting a barrier between me and my threat) and as I said before, I have pepper spray within reach, have a knife and a corkscrew in my car, and I would have hit anything if I needed to drive away in a hurry.
To circle back and finish up… please keep your ears open, your eyes open, and pay attention to your surroundings at all times, even if you feel like you are in a “safe” neighborhood. You don’t need to walk around life strapped with pepper spray and a corkscrew, but please be aware that dangerous and scary things can happen —- even when you don’t think it’s possible. That might be the worst time, the time that you let your guard down, for something to happen.