Do you have what it takes to be 'Street Smart'?

boystown neighborhood walk

Participants in the Boystown Neighborhood Walk on Saturday evening

With the increase of crime in the Boystown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, many community members are walking around on their tippytoes trying to be careful, while at the same time trying to enjoy their neighborhood.  Regardless of where you live you need to take some basic personal safety measures to make sure that you're always safe.

With the rash of assaults, muggings and attacke  and muggings in our LGBT Community, t's no wonder that people are concerned about their own well being.  Regardless of what neighborhood you live in, party in or visit, you need to make sure that you're safe.

I've compiled a list of safety tips that you can use to make sure that where ever you are, remember try to be as safe as you can.


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?


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  • Most everyone these days walks around on "their tippytoes"... why?...because there will never be enough cops on the beat to replace the beat in the hearts of responsible-minded fellow citizens... sorry, kids, but in those "olden days" you may chuckle at, most of us packed not guns and hate, but morals and mutual respect...those old-fashioned habits got us through the great depression and the great war...just maybe some of today's cooler generation might ask themselves what WE had that YOU could use more of

  • In reply to jackspatafora:

    @jackspatafora - I think you nailed it right on the head there. The one thing that seems to be missing from so much of our daily lives is 'morals and mutual respect' today it seems to be all about "me, myself and I"

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