How To Stay Safe in a Questionable Crowd
Love them or hate them, large crowds cannot always be avoided and they have inherent dangers ranging from pickpockets to riots. It’s good to be prepared for those dangers and keep in mind crowd safety. You just need to use your head in order to stay ahead of the game, so to speak.
Do you need it with you?
Whenever you attend large crowd gatherings, the fewer belongings you have with you, the less there is to keep track of and potentially lose. And the less weight you are carrying around for no good reason. It doesn’t normally matter that I have three tubes of lipstick, four pens, etc. in my purse – but if I know I’ll be walking around and carrying it for hours, I cut that down a lot.
You do need to keep your keys, but they don’t have to be in your purse. Where can you carry them with the least possible risk of losing them? Even if you lose everything else, if you still have your keys, you should be able to get home. Remember that many cars have lockable glove compartments. You can leave some items locked in there while you are at the event. Unless the day is going to be really hot, I regularly leave my GPS and Kindle locked in the glove box. Sometimes I even leave my house keys there, too, but I make certain there is nothing with my home address on the key chain or anything else I leave in the car.
As you get ready to leave your home, sort through what you normally carry and reduce it to the minimum you need. Most of us have extra credit cards, reward cards, and all sorts of small things we carry every day that we can leave behind when we go to a special event. The less you carry, the less you risk losing.
Many years ago, a tour guide recommended carrying a purse with the strap running across and in front of your body, rather than just off one shoulder, and the actual bag in front of you, possibly even with your hand on it. Keeping the strap running across your body, not over one shoulder, makes it harder for a thief to grab your bag and run with it. In addition to grabbing, his experience was that some thieves cut the strap in crowded areas and stole purses that way. Keeping your bag in front of your body, with your hand on it, makes that more difficult.
Another option is a thin pouch on a neck strap that you can keep underneath your shirt. This keeps your hands free and your belongings out of sight, yet easily accessible.
TIP: There are purses designed to deter thieves, and one, in particular, has slash-proof straps and an RFID-proof compartment that will protect your credit card information from being scanned and stolen. Check out the Travelon bag here.
Finally, take steps to deter thieves from literally picking your pockets. Put your phone, camera, cash, and other valuables in front or inside pockets where you’re more likely to notice someone grabbing for them. If you have pockets that zip, use and zip them. (This is more common in menswear, which is a great reason for women to own at least one mans jacket.)
Many women keep their cell phones in a back pants pocket, and many men keep their wallets there. In a large, close crowd, that phone or wallet could be snatched or fall out in an eye blink and you might not even notice. Someone could be gone with your things before you even had time to turn and look for them, and you would have no idea who it was.