Being followed isn’t nice no matter who you are – and can be the beginning of a crime in which you are the victim. You have to trust your instincts in deciding if this is the case, and it’s much better to err on the side of caution – and assume the worst. The earlier you do this, the more options you will have.
Whether on foot, in a car or on public transport, you need to get to somewhere with lighting and other people. These situations are far more common at night, and a well-light area may make your stalker uneasy enough to go away.
If you know of the location of police monitored security cameras – in city centres – then go to them and jump up and down and wave to attract the operator’s attention. If caught out in a deserted central city business district, corporate buildings will usually have guards and cameras, so banging on the doors and waving at the cameras should attract somebody useful to help you.
If Followed on Foot: a friend of mine VIcki, told me of being followed in Portugal. Not knowing what to do she decided to walk faster. Then as there were people around she turned suddenly back towards the stalker who could not continue without making it obvious to the others. (Her story is in the comments section below). This was a good thinking.
If already in the backstreets, you should immediately walk towards lighted areas where there are other people – ideally to a police station. Flag down a taxi, police car or bus, or go into any sort of official facility where there are security guards or supervisors.
Road Rage or being following by another a car: I was followed for 15 minutes in London by a battered-looking Mercedes, whose East European driver kept coming alongside and shouting at me, and trying to force me over. He thought I’d cut in front while driving along the Embankment. After driving round all the back streets he was still there, so I went down a one-way street at the back of New Scotland Yard, stopping by the security barrier. I told the police firearms officers. This guy didn’t see the security barrier until it was too late and they were pointing MP5’s at him. I reckoned he probably didn’t have tax or insurance, plus would be a good candidate for a car search…. We drove away and that was that.
This next section is based on a list allegedly written by a female US police officer. Despite being unattributed, it makes so much sense that I’ve reproduced it here with a few notes. (I you do know the name of the police officer, please leave it as a comment below so I can attribute this properly.)
Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or a loved one’s life. In daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation… This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, & everyone you know. After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.
1. Use Your Elbows: Tip from Tae Kwon Do :The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do! (Hugh’s Note: fists and fingers break very easily.)
2. Throw your wallet away: Learned this from a tourist guide. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse,
DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you… Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse.
RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
(Hugh’s Note: throw in the opposite direction to where you need to run. And maybe carry a second wallet/purse containing a small amount of money, to use as a decoy.)
3. If locked in a car trunk/boot: If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
(Hugh’s Note: if you wait until the car starts moving, the driver may not hear you plus the chances of others – and the police – seeing increase greatly.)
4. Don’t sit in your car: Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.. DON’T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.
AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE..
If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF.
Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes, bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. Be Observant: A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware:look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. Take Elevators not stairs: ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. Always run from a gun: If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!
The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!
(Hugh’s Note: accuracy decreases with distance – in the case of a hand gun, after a few seconds of flat-our running. You’ll get those few seconds as the gunman decides whether to fire; he’s in fact deciding whether to escalate his intended action to murder, and his chances of getting away with it…)
8. Don’t be Sympathetic: As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
9. Don’t Investigate Crying Babies, running water or anything untoward outside at night: If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear babies crying, all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe – or anything else untoward, think before going outside to investigate.
(Hugh’s note: The use of “Crying Babies’ records to lure people especially women outside, is much-touted as an urban myth, which nobody’s ever proved to have been the reason for victims having opened their doors to attackers. Remember this whenever anything prompts you to leave the house at night to investigate. The police prefer to investigate non-events than respond to murders or crimes of violence).
A final word from the unknown police officer: “Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbors! And please pass this on.”
3 thoughts on “How to deal with Stalkers, Muggers & Road Ragers”
Vicki wrote: “when i was being followed in Portugal once, i didn’t know what to do, then it occurred to me to start walking faster then turn round really quickly and walk in the opposite direction towards him, he couldn’t continue following me without making it totally obvious, there were a few people around, so it worked, not sure what would have happened if i’d been on my own, it was freaky.”
Another couple of good tips for personal safety, especially for women are,
1. Carry a small container (like the old 35mm film containers) full of ground pepper. Have this handy in your handbag and if someone threatens or attacks you, flip the lid and throw the pepper into their face. This will interfere with their breathing and sight giving you a few extra second to RUN.
2. Good points to strike on an attacker are the throat (use elbow, fingers, fist, pen etc.) and the knees. With the knee come in from the side hitting the knee cap as hard as you can. Most people will go down. If the attacker can’t breath or walk he can’t carry on his attack.
3. Finish him off. So many people get the first blow in and put the attacker down and then run only to be caught again. If you can, finish the attacker off (or at the very least prevent him from carrying on his attack for a little while), do so but only if safe to do so. One again go for the knee if possible, the groin, the side of the head, eyes. What gets most people through is PURE AGGRESSION which the attacker just isn’t expecting especially form a female.
4. Shout fire. Screaming will make people think it might be a domestic, rape might make people not want to get involved. Screaming FIRE, FIRE, FIRE will spark people natural interest and they’ll want to go and have a look at the fire. Your attacker will not want witnesses.
5. For women meeting someone for the first time, blind date, dating site etc. follow modified Agent Contact Drills.
a. Meet in a busy location.
b. Turn up early and and observe the meeting place.
c. Watch your date come into the meeting place. You can now decide to remain or do a runner without him knowing.
d. Wear clothing completely different to what you said you’d be wearing so that he can’t ping you observing him, or at least make it harder.
e. Once in contact, not too much personal information, keep the first date brief.
f. Have a friend call your mobile while on the date and use this, if required to leave early.
g. Leave in a different direction and not towards your car. Do a bit of shopping to make sure he’s not following you.
This is great advice Steve. Many thanks for contributing – from your own extensive professional experience.