Be aware of your surroundings Are you in your own neighborhood, someplace new, are you visiting a "new online friend" for the very first time? Make sure that you pay attention to your surroundings: are people hanging out on the corners? are the street lights out? Have there been a lot of crimes reported lately in the neighborhood? Lights, People and Noise are your allies.
If it's dark, put it away! If you're out late at night, put the iPod/MP3 player AWAY. Think about it, while you've got tunes blaring in your ears, you're easy prey for someone to walk up behind. A man was just shot in Rogers Park because he was jogging, wearing headphones and listening to loud music when he was attacked.
Don't Text While you're focusing on the keypad trying to compose your message in 140 characters or less, you're not paying attention to what's going on around you.
Travel in packs Not that you need an excuse to hang out with your best pals, but don't walk dark streets by yourself. The newest pickup line in Boystown may just become "I'm afraid, will you walk me home"
Take a cab - Before you go out, take $20 from your party money and put it in a secret place, like maybe your shoe or folded up nicely and put in that cute little front pocket on your jeans that you never use. That way when you're done partying for the night you can just reach in there, grab the $20 and hail a cab!
Don't look like a victim If do have to walk alone after dark, don't appear to be a victim. Extend your body, stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and walk like you have a purpose, look people in the eye. If someone is following you they'll be less likely to do anything because you won't appear to be an easy target.
Cross the street if you're walking after dark and someone is either following you or walking towards you and you don't feel comfortable - Cross the Street. What are you going to do offend them? So What! If it's safe, walk in the middle of the street.
Carry Pepper Spray I called several police stations and spoke with Commander Boehmer of the 23rd District and they all told me that IT IS LEGAL to own and possess Pepper Spray in the city of Chicago. There are lots of rumors going around the web that it's illegal. It's NOT, you CAN carry Pepper Spray to protect yourself. Make sure to buy a "Starter Kit" that contains one "live" can and one "test" can that contains water so that you can practice. You don't want to learn how to use that stuff at the last minute. I hope that Pepper Spray doesn't become the "must have accessory" to carry in Boystown!
Carry a whistle Noise is your friend, if you feel threatened don't be afraid to blow your whistle, make noise. Remember that lights, people and noise are your allies!
Although this is not a comprenhesive list by any means, the main thing that you need to remember is to protect yourself by whatever means possible. If you are in a situation where someone is following you, or you feel threatened make sure to take evasive actions - protect yourself!
What's your Safety Tip? What do you do to protect yourself?