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Personal safety: What to do if you’re being followed

There is always a chance you might be followed by people who want to harm you. If you find yourself in this situation, it is always good to have a plan of action.


Image via Pixabay

Nowadays, no one is safe. Danger can be waiting around every corner.

People who want to do you harm, count on you having a set routine that they can easily follow. Departing from your regular routine makes you less of an easy target by making your schedule less predictable. Do not broadcast yourself on social media. Turn off location services that indicate where you are. Someone who wants to follow you will check this information so they can determine your movements.

How do you know you are being followed?

You’d be surprised how easy it is to follow or track someone without them knowing it, since most people don’t pay attention to their surroundings. The first step to finding out if you are being followed is to start noticing what’s going on around you.

  • Note unusual signs.
  • Does anyone look at you more than is normal and make unusual eye contact with you?
  • Has a car you don’t know driven by your home a few times?
  • Did someone you don’t know show up at your favourite coffee shop?
  • Do you ever see the same person show up somewhere else?
  • Trust your sixth sense. You will often know intuitively when something is wrong.

What to do

Once you establish you are being followed, then what? If possible, you want to avoid a confrontation that, according to all self-defense experts, is better than unnecessarily ending up in a violent encounter.

Don’t go home

Whether you walk or drive, don’t go home. It is natural to want to go home and close the doors, but if the person following you does not know where you live, you do not want to divulge the information by taking him there.

Stay in a public place

Stay in well-lit and densely populated areas. Don’t go anywhere that will put you in an unsafe situation. If you are in your car, stay on well-lit main roads and do not drive on gravel roads or in isolated streets. When you walk, stay in public spaces where many people are. If it looks like someone is following you in a store, don’t go to your car either; the person may overtake you in the parking lot or follow you to your home.

Involve the police

If you feel threatened, call the police. Or simply drive to your local police station and tell them you believe you are being followed. Give an officer the information about the car that is following you, and have them follow up on it. If you believe you are being followed by someone with a bad intent as you walk, call the police and give them a description of the person who is following you. Keep the police on the line for as long as possible. If the person is within hearing distance, speak loudly so that he or she can hear what you are saying. If there is a police station in the area, go there immediately.

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