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Tips on Being Safe Around Oakland

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

These past couple of weeks, Oakland has seemed a little sketchy and unsafe. My friends are constantly texting me asking if I’ve heard of this armed robbery or that shooting beside someone’s house. Students that are getting robbed at gun or knife point are our friends, our peers, and part of the Pitt community. It makes me not want to walk around Oakland out of fear of what could happen to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. However, luckily I started taking a self-defense class this semester with campus superstar, Curtis Smith. Here are some tips I’ve heard from him and a few of my friends on how to be safe in Oakland.

Travel in large groups.

I am not talking about a group of two or three. I mean four or more people traveling together. There is safety in numbers, and this especially rings true at night.

Utilize the Pitt shuttles.

The cool thing about Pitt is the numerous ways to get around campus. Use the Pitt shuttles, SafeRider, Port Authority buses, and if you’re far away: Lyft. It doesn’t make you weak if you use the resources available to you no matter how close you are to your destination. It makes you smart.

Never wear your headphones while traveling alone after dark.

This is common sense. I stopped doing this last year in order to be more aware of my surroundings. It makes it easier to hear someone coming behind you or a car approaching. Trust me, Kanye’s new album can wait.

Carry pepper spray.

It’s scary to admit that someone could potentially assault you or attack you while you’re walking somewhere. However, you can never be too safe. If something happens, spraying your attacker in the face can you help you to escape quickly and get help.

Enroll in a self-defense class.

Last year, I took a two-hour course on self-defense tips for free! The Pitt Police were the ones that taught it, and I learned so much. Now I’m enrolled in this one-credit course at Pitt, and it’s hard but worth it. I feel stronger, I’m not as scared, and I’m learning how to defend myself in all kinds of bad situations.

Invest in a WearSafe.

My girls at Her Campus gave me mine as a gift, and I love it. It’s a small button you can clip on to your jacket or on your purse. You push it a set number of times and it notifies the police and a network of friends and family at your choosing if you’re in trouble.

Carry your phone on you at all times.

A majority of us do this all the time, but I know a few people who prefer to leave it at home or walk around with it, even if it’s out of charge. It’s imperative that you have a way to call 911 or a friend if you’re feeling uncomfortable walking somewhere that seems off or unsafe.

I know this is scary to address. However, it was when I admitted to myself that the world is not as safe as I thought it was that I started taking action. Everyone, not just girls, should learn what steps to take to keep themselves safe. Stay safe, Oakland!


Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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