TomorrowMakers

Women are moving to new cities in search of career opportunities or other reasons. In this article, we learn about 15 tips that women can use to stay safe in a new city.

15 Safety tips for women moving to a new city

As of 2011, the number of single women in India has risen to over 70 million. About 38% of them live in urban areas. Around 8.2 lakh elderly women live alone in urban areas. Around 4.5 million women in urban areas work in positions that offer regular wages and in salaried roles.

As more and more women enter the Indian labour force, they also move to different cities to fulfill career aspirations. But ensuring their safety is easier said than done. Women have to face tremendous odds when they move to a new place, especially regarding their safety.

Here is an exhaustive guide of 15 tips that women staying in a new city shouldn’t ignore:

1. Understand the city’s culture

Every Indian city has a different culture. Certain metros may encourage you to enjoy a thriving nightlife whereas others shut down by sunset. Some cities might have a comparatively liberal attitude towards women whereas it would be virtually impossible to avoid unwanted attention in others.

However, it is always advisable to be prudent. Just because a city like Mumbai may be safe for a woman to travel in the local train late at night, it may still be a better decision to commute using the pool option of an online taxi aggregator platform.

2. Familiarise yourself with the locality before completing the deal

If you like a house, explore the surrounding area before you buy or rent. Visit in the evening to check whether the roads have adequate lighting. Check whether there are grocery or pharmacy stores nearby so you don’t have to travel far to purchase essentials. If you have friends staying in that area, speak to them about the pros and cons. 

Have an informal chat with the watchman of the building where you wish to stay, or roadside vendors, without letting them know you’re planning to buy or rent a flat in the area. You can receive useful insights that the broker or other members of the society may never disclose. 

You could also search for your locality online to see whether there are any disturbing news reports.

3. Share your whereabouts when commuting

A survey conducted by an organisation called Human Development Society in Delhi reported that 44% of women feel unsafe while commuting. If you are travelling in a cab provided by a ride-hailing service, share your trip status with a dependable colleague or friend. If you feel worried, speak loudly over the phone with someone and mention your location etc.

4. Secure your valuables

If you have jewellery, it is advisable to store it in a bank locker. Or you could purchase an electronic safe for the home and keep your stuff there.

5. Invest in safety accessories/features

Keep a pepper spray in your purse. The landlord or society may not provide CCTV cameras on your floor. Your door may or may not have a peephole. Even if it does, it may not be clear. You will find digital peepholes for less than Rs 3000 in the marketplace. The presence of a digital peephole itself may deter people.

6. Keep important numbers handy 

Memorise important numbers, such as those of close friends, work colleagues, or friendly neighbours. If there is an emergency and your phone isn’t working, you can call them using a spare phone. You must also save phone numbers of your local grocery, fruit vendor etc. and call them to deliver your order rather than step out to pick it up late at night.

7. Keep your neighbours and office colleagues informed

If you have sensible neighbours and credible office colleagues, you could ask them to check on you as per their convenience. If you aren’t contactable for a certain period, they could file a missing complaint with the local police station.

8. Keep your family in the loop

As far as possible, keep family members in the loop about your whereabouts, especially if you are going for a party or travelling to the outskirts of the city for work or leisure.

9. Avoid dangerous neighbourhoods 

Once you move to a new city, make a list of dangerous areas that you should avoid. Unless there is a pressing reason to go there, stay away.

10. Keep your door locked

Don’t forget to install a robust lock that has a feature to prevent it from being picked. Also be little cautious around strangers. Take time before trusting people. It may be a fellow gym rat or an office colleague or neighbour or even the delivery boy who delivers your groceries. Trust their actions more than their words.

11. Drink in moderation

If you are planning to have more than a few drinks, it is better to stay over at a trusted friend’s place. However, if you can mask that you are drunk, you can go back home. But ensure that you don’t travel alone; have company with you at least till you reach your doorstep. A better option is to get drunk only in your own home.

12. Blend in

This may seem conformist, but it’s better to not tempt fate by wearing something that could attract undesirable attention. For instance, if you are wearing party wear to a pub, cover yourself up when leaving home with a shawl or stole and change once you are at the venue.

13. Learn basic self-defence

Sign up for a Krav Maga or any other suitable martial arts training program to pick up self-defence techniques. This will boost your self-confidence no end.

14. Monitor your social media usage

Scrutinise your social media accounts to check whether privacy settings are adequate. Don’t accept friendship requests from unknown people or those who have barely interacted with you. Limit the urge to broadcast the places you have checked into. Serial predators always look for patterns in their victims.

15. Police assistance for senior citizens

If you are a senior citizen or are living with someone who is a senior citizen, keep the police informed. Police personnel, especially in a city like Mumbai, proactively keep track of seniors and their well-being.

Over time, you may fall into a routine and miss out on doing a few items in this list. However, you need to be careful and never let your guard down.

To sum up, here are the tips to follow if you are a woman staying in a new city:

  1. Understand your city’s culture
  2. Familiarise yourself with the locality before completing the deal
  3. Share your whereabouts when commuting
  4. Secure your valuables
  5. Invest in safety accessories/features
  6. Keep important numbers handy
  7. Keep your neighbours and office colleagues informed
  8. Keep your family in the loop
  9. Stay away from dangerous neighbourhoods
  10. Keep your door locked
  11. Drink in moderation, or only at home
  12. Try to blend in; do not attract attention
  13. Learn basic self-defence techniques
  14. Monitor your social media usage
  15. If senior citizens are involved, keep the local police informed

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