I live near Washington Park in Albany.  In the morning when I'm walking to my car to come to the station, I'll see the occasional beggar or drifter but I typically never feel unsafe even in the the middle of the night.  However, that doesn't mean that I'm not on full alert, watching for anyone around me that could be a possible threat. After reading a jarring story from a girl in my neighborhood on Albany Redditt yesterday, I felt like I needed to reassess the little safety precautions I take each morning.  I'm not a paranoid person, but at 430 in the morning I'd always rather be safe than sorry.  I'll share with you the 5 simple tips  I've learned to do over the years, while spending little or no money at all, to stay safe when walking alone.  

  • I always walk with my cell phone in hand and (most importantly) make sure the phone is not locked. I don't want to have to fumble through my pass code if I'm in a crisis situation and need to make an emergency call.  Also, refrain if you can from texting and walking, especially areas that seems a little bit shady.  Looking down on your phone makes you extremely vulnerable.
  • I always walk with my ignition car key poked in between 2 of my knuckles just in case I need to fight off a would be attacker. I make a 'wolverine' type fist with my dominant hand as I'm walking.
  • Take up some boxing, martial arts or kickboxing classes. I've been doing boxing fitness for years and I think my reaction time is pretty quick to either defend from a punch or throw a punch.
  • I always walk where it is most lit.  Seems like a no-brainer but in reality, we don't always do it.  It takes 4 seconds to cross a street where there may be better lighting and yet most people don't.
  • If you own pepper spray or mace, BRING IT WITH YOU! I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to people who own a rape whistle or something like that, and it's tucked away in a sock or underwear drawer.  These items are to you what smoke alarms are to your house or apartment and they're useless if they're not with you at a time you need them the most.

Have Fun. Live Life. Be Safe!