We are in the South and we have the reputation for being friendly and kind. Well, a word of advice, not everyone is nice. Stay aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, there are some sketchy folks around town.

A few weeks ago, when I got home I noticed some sketchy behavior going on in front of my building. A dude that I have never seen before in my life was pacing back and forth. He kept looking at me and it was like he was waiting on me to get out of the car.

Not sure his intent, but I wasn’t having it.

Growing up in South Florida, we were always taught to be aware of our surroundings. The crime was prevalent and you were always taught to pay attention. So, I guess living that way, I’m just very observant wherever I go.

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I sat there for a few minutes and decided it would be best to not get out of the car. The only protection I had at the time was my mace and some other protective items (I can’t tell all my secrets).  Honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to use any of it or have anything go down. If I can prevent it, that’s what’s happening.

What did I do? I rode around the city, grabbed some to-go dinner, played Pokémon, and came back home. The sketchy dude was gone.

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Fast forward a few weeks later. A friend hit me up to talk about the sketchy dude that was in a parking lot where she lived. She remembered our conversation and started “paying attention” more. She left and came back. No sign of sketchy dude.

Dear Sketchy Dude, a word of advice. Stop. We are on to you.

Here are some tips from the UAPD’s Safer Living Guide that they offer students and community members. Click here for more from the UAPD.

Be careful and mindful of any valuables you may carry on your person
Be mindful of your surroundings
If confronted, give the perpetrator what they ask for. Your safety is more important.

I’ll add in that my Dad would always preach the following. He even would remind me of his safety tips as a grown woman.

Pay Attention, always scan your area, no matter the time of the day.

Never go anywhere alone and travel in a pair or a group.

When at the club, never go to the bathroom alone. Always watch who fixes your drink.

Carry extra money with you for an emergency that’s not in your purse, so you can use it if your purse is stolen.

Never go off with a stranger, and you shouldn’t let a friend do it as well. No matter how much they think they are a “safe” person. You never know.

Always lock your car door as soon as you get in and when you get out.

Be sure to look in the back seat of your car before getting in.

If it’s dark, don’t park there, find another spot.

If you think you are being followed, drive to the police station. (I’ve done that before)

Double-check all doors at home before you go to bed. Even if you think you locked them.

I beg you, please pay attention to your surroundings. Not just during the holiday time but all the time. Be safe out there. If you have any safety tips, email them to me at maryk@townsquaremedia.com

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