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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
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    Default Experience living in a dangerous place?

    I'm living in a new place that has more crime than everywhere I've lived before, and I'm have difficulty processing it.

    The crimes are all theft related, and we've been warned to take precautions. However, last night before 6pm my roommate was robbed at gunpoint 200-300 meters from our home. She's fine, just very very inconvenienced by what they stole.

    What I have difficulty with is that it's not news to anyone. There's an attitude of "If you live here long enough, it will happen sooner or later." I take comfort in the fact that I know they just want money/things and don't have any desire to hurt you (murder and rapes are much less common here), but it still SUCKS being on edge all the time.

    I know I'm just venting but any words of wisdom or commiseration would be wonderful.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica



  2. #2
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    Aug. 9, 2007
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    9,365

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    Many years ago, I lived in downtown St Louis for over a year. Outside of the private streets. I got mugged a lot. And we all got burglarized until we all got dogs. No one was on the streets at night. It was weird. There were so many good people who lived in St Louis, but a large part of the town looked like the pictures on tv of bombed out german cities after WW2. Being an "urban pioneer" was no fun. All the people who knew better lived in some of the over 100 incorporated towns that surround St Louis.

    Those of us who lived in a big house converted to apts looked out for each other. Cops told us to yell "fire" instead of "help" if we were mugged, so that people would come to help (or look). We had 10 cars in our little parking lot. All were stolen except the 2 british sports cars belong to me and my boyfriend. Pretty insulting that our cars weren't good enough to steal!

    Whereever you live, get to know your neighbors. That nosy neighbor who lives next to you is the best defense to crime. Even if she/he keeps tabs on you and your friends as you come and go from your place. And get to know your cops on your beat. Being robbed at gunpoint is very serious. So be careful and be aware of who is around you at all times, day or night. And live with guys. The more guys the better. My North Dakota farm boy in St Louis was great at preventing crime.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Feb. 14, 2012
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    Fern Creek, KY
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    Default

    If you DO get mugged, or your house gets broken into... just let them have whatever they want. Don't fight, don't threaten, just go with it.

    Take a few self defense classes so you know how to react if somebody grabs you... not just assume you know what to do, but actually follow through with them in the situation where somebody is holding you so you know what the movements feel like.

    Carry mace, a car window smasher outer thing, and be away with how many different ways you can get from point A to point B. Making friends with neighbors is a GREAT suggestion. There is always one nosey neighbor.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Default

    find yourself a program that specializes in realistic self defense.
    It might take some time.

    If you want to look into gun ownership, I suppose you could, I do not believe in a greater merit of them.

    make sure your locks are good, and I suppose don't carry all your valuables in one spot....

    And I do agree, when confronted with the business end of a gun, don't argue.

    http://martialtalk.com/forum/

    A lot of LEOs on there, so most don't blow hot air when talking self defense.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2001
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    Make sure you have the emergency police number for your town plugged into your phone. In California, dialing 911 in many counties connects you to CHP, then they have to figure out where you are and transfer the call.

    I know this from hearing a scream outside my window and seeing a girl get knocked down and mugged right in front of my apt building door. Called 911, it rang for literally minutes, then was connected to CHP, who then connected me to the local PD. The entire process probably took more than 5 minutes, which is just crazy.

    I lived in a neighborhood that saw it's fair share of muggings- I always wore a cross-body purse if I was out walking by myself, stayed very aware of my suroundings, and never carried anything but a little cash and a low-limit credit card in my wallet if I was going out alone.

    Agree on yelling "FIRE!!!" instead of "help." If someone mugs you for your wallet, toss it away from you and run. Don't run in a straight line, zig and zag a little. Most people can't hit the broad side of a barn with a handgun, nevermind a moving zigging target. If someone pulls a gun and tells you to get in a car or go somewhere with them, refuse to do so.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Apr. 9, 2012
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    NYC=center of the universe
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    Default

    Belfast, awhile ago. But that was a different kind of dangerous that left folks on edge. Sorry, not too much help. But I do agree with the advice above... Don't try to be a hero. Stuff can be replaced, not you.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  7. #7
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    Wanderlust is right about everything. I saw an Oprah show a long time ago, and the policeman on there said that you might get shot for not getting in the car, but if you get in a car with a criminal, then you will almost definitely die.

    And don't park next to a big van, especially a work type on without side windows, robbers and other criminals love to drive them, because once someone's inside you can't see them.

    Cloudy has great tips too. My nosy next door neighbor saved my life and my house. There was a bad thunderstorm, and when there was a lightning strike she and her husband investigated, found my attic was on fire, and called it in and alerted me. I hate to think what would have happened without them.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Get a police whistle. My daughter used to run with one. A self defense course wouldn't hurt either. Alarm system for your apartment.
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  9. #9
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    Feb. 14, 2012
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    Fern Creek, KY
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    Default

    Also: I think TheJenners on here is a LEO. Perhaps PM her?



  10. #10
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    Mar. 30, 2009
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    CA to Costa Rica to WI
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    Thanks for all the great advice! Some of you have lived in some crazy places!

    It's very hard because we're fairly limited here in what we can do to stay safe. We're out of the main town (so no cops patrol here), white females (in a latino country), with one road in and out (no way to vary the route), and we have to walk to our bus stop about 500 meters.

    Usually we always walk back and forth from the bus stop together at night, but since it was only 6pm, she chose to walk alone. I decided last night that anytime I leave with a large bag/backpack at night, I'll ALWAYS call a taxi to drive me into town. I think part of the reason they chose her is because she was leaving for vacation so she had a lot to take. We've made friends with all the neighbors we can. They're all wonderful! But honestly, I don't know that anyone would react if they saw something. There was a guy who was out for a run who ran right next to her while she was being robbed and didn't say or do anything. It's just normal here.

    I took a self-defense class several years ago, but it might be time for a refresher. My sort-of-kind-of-boyfriend is working towards becoming a cop and his first reaction was to either arm myself or teach me how to disarm someone. I told him that even if I felt completely confident in either, I would never use it unless they actually tried to grab me personally. It's not worth the risk of escalating the situation. That being said, someone once told me "if you're being kidnapped, the place they take you is only going to be 10x worse than the place they took you from." That really sunk in and I would definitely be willing to die trying to get away from that... die to keep my purse? Not so much. (We try to carry pepper spray but it's not sold readily here and our work keeps dragging their feet on buying enough for each of us. But if there was a gun involved, I honestly don't even know if I would use it.)
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2002
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    Lots of M states...
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    Default

    I live/work in a very unsafe city. Carry a whistle, pepper spray, and honestly, try to look confident (whatever that means). Look like you know what you're doing, and look like you've been there forever. Walk with your friend whenever you can.

    And YES -- get to know the people who live near you! Neighbors, business owners, whatever. Even if you don't think they'd be helpful... better than nothing?

    That is really scary, and I'm sorry you're having to deal with that.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2005
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    between the mountains and the sea, North Carolina
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    Default

    Never walk alone after dark.- no matter what time it is.

    Always carry a cell phone with you - I plugged in the various emergency numbers as 1, 2, and 3 on my contacts. South Africa is weird and has private ambulances which people have to pay even more for (I know, WTF), then the regular ones which take 40mins minimum even if the hospital is literally around the corner (unfortunately we discovered this the hard way). IIRC the other two were local police and my orgs 24hr emergency #. I made sure they were always at the top of my contacts by listing them as "a1, a2, a3, a4." Another good # to have in your phone is a local, trustworthy taxi. We knew all our drivers very well and they were awesome.

    We were always told to keep 20 rand (thats like $5) in a pocket and the rest of our cash either in our bra, sock, hidden "tummy" bag, or cross body bag. The reason for keeping the 20 in our pocket was that we were told thats usually all beggars want, and its better just to give it to them obviously.

    We were also told that whatever they want its not worth your life so hand it over and run like he**. South Africa has a ridiculously high rate of gun crime (far worse in Joburg than Cape Town, but still bad), so they were very clear about that.

    Also never ever carry your passport around. Hopefully you have a safe either in your house or office so keep all your emergency documents/info in there. Our org. had a main safe which only the head supervisor and programme manager knew the code too. Everyone handed their passport over on day 1 and got it back before their flight home. I saw mine like twice in 6 months.


    Hang in there - as I said on the other topic feel free to PM me if you need commiseration/venting. I absolutely loved my time in South Africa and miss the country and its people dearly but living in a developing country is not without its challenges.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  13. #13
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    Jul. 13, 2008
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    Default

    I've never lived in a very dangerous place, but went to college in one, commuting by bus through the neighborhoods to a safer suburb. I overheard a lot that made me extremely grateful to live in a safe place. One thing I found so sad, but which may be helpful to OP, is a girl saying she never got off the bus at the same stop every day - she broke up her routine constantly, randomly, getting off at any of several stops near her home, taking different buses, etc., to make it harder for local criminals to predict and prey on her.



  14. #14
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    Jan. 1, 2002
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    Canada
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    I've never been so thankful to live where I do.


    7 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Jan. 31, 2010
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    I live in Baltimore - the county, not the city, but I am often in the city…and each day I go into the city, I am grateful to return home alive.

    Ok, seriously, I have lived in some interesting places and worked in places most people do their best to avoid, but I've yet to be shot, stabbed, mugged or raped. I have taken a SD course, but it was years ago. I honestly think I am in more danger driving in this area due to the angry nuts on the road, than I am of being murdered.
    Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
    W. C. Fields



  16. #16
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    May. 5, 2008
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    Scranton, PA
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    After reading all these replies, I have never been so thankful to live in the middle o a corn field with a corn field on each side.
    Some days I swear I want to sell this place and move to town but this reminds me why I live where I live. Be safe everyone!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Default

    Most important thing, especially if it's hard to get self-defence materials (if you can't get mace, get wasp or roach kill-on-contact spray or oven cleaner where you're giving them a face full of something either poisonous, caustic, or both) is LOOK CONFIDENT. I've walked all over DC by myself or with one other person (except Anacostia, I'm not suicidal, even then I've been on the border in Suitland on the grass verge of a busy road) and walked just about EVERYWHERE in Boston alone, or at least driven around alone in the worst parts. At the point now where Detroit would not in general bother me, either. Look like you know where you are going, perfect an assertive walk, and work on the facial expression of being someone not to be bothered.



  18. #18
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eye in the Sky View Post
    I live in Baltimore - the county, not the city, but I am often in the city…and each day I go into the city, I am grateful to return home alive.

    Ok, seriously, I have lived in some interesting places and worked in places most people do their best to avoid, but I've yet to be shot, stabbed, mugged or raped. I have taken a SD course, but it was years ago. I honestly think I am in more danger driving in this area due to the angry nuts on the road, than I am of being murdered.
    Really? What part of Baltimore? Back in the late 70's, early 80's yes, but now? Unless you're hanging around on North Ave.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wonders12 View Post
    (We try to carry pepper spray but it's not sold readily here and our work keeps dragging their feet on buying enough for each of us. But if there was a gun involved, I honestly don't even know if I would use it.)
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  20. #20
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bentley View Post
    I've never been so thankful to live where I do.
    I grew up where the danger came from the police.

    The dreaded knock on the door in the middle of the night was no joke.
    The occasional friend/neighbor would disappear then and were never again heard from.
    No one rushed to see what the commotion was.

    Any criminal that wanted to harm you, you were on your own.

    I too am glad that my closest neighbor here is our sheriff.


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