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27 Jul, 2012

Tips on Staying Safe at Olympics (And Other Big Events in Big Cities)


LONDON (PRWEB) July 27, 2012  — With the London Olympic Games kicking off at the end of the week, and officials insisting that Olympic security will not be compromised despite the shambles surrounding a private contractor’s failure to provide sufficient guards, visitors are left wondering how safe the London Olympics will be. Victoria Ugarte, travel author and founder of Explore My World Travel, a website dedicated to passionate travelers, reveals the secret to staying safe at the London Olympics is about taking personal responsibility.

Having recently launched the book ‘A Foodie & Fashionista’s Guide To London’, Victoria says,”Like most big cities of the world, London has its fair share of social problems, including pickpocketing, theft, begging and drug abuse. Social problems are bound to escalate with the population blowout and increased congestion around central London due to the Olympics. The secret to staying safe, therefore, is to be aware of what’s going on around you, be informed on where the crime hotspots are, and to take responsibility for your own personal safety.”

Victoria provides some valuable safety travel tips below:

  • Keep your distance from any rowdy behavior and fights around London’s bars and pubs – Normally occurring on Friday and Saturday nights, particularly after football matches, these sorts of skirmishes will increase exponentially during the Olympics, when pubs and bars get overcrowded with increasingly inebriated drinkers from opposing national loyalties. When harassed, it’s best to avoid confrontation, ignore those concerned, and walk away.
  • Keep an eye out for your friends and have them do the same for you – Don’t let a friend accept a drink from a stranger, or leave a bar, club or party alone or with a stranger. Keep in touch via phone or text to make sure that they get back to their accommodation safely. Have them do the same for you.
  • Be extra careful around ATM machines – Many people have their cash stolen immediately after making withdrawals. Use ATMs that are in well lit areas like shopping centers, and make sure when using an ATM that no-one is looking over your shoulder. Cover the keypad so no one else can see you entering your PIN number.
  • Keep your mobile phone in your bag or pocket when out in public – Duck into a shop when you need to use it. Phones are usually stolen when people are walking along a busy street, pulling them out of their bags or pockets as they get down from public transport, or leave them behind in restaurants. If your phone has been stolen, it’s important that you react quickly and contact the police straight away, so that they can check local CCTV footage to try and find the criminals.
  • Avoid walking the streets on your own at night – Avoid befriending anyone that randomly approaches you and recommends a local bar or club.
  • Keep away from problem areas of London – Areas outside central London, such as the South and East suburban areas, are considered problems areas due to a higher concentration of housing estates and crime that stems from a street gang culture. Stick to the more commercial areas, where there are likely to be more people.
  • Beware of strangers asking for assistance – This can be the older gentleman asking you for directions, a man in a suit asking for emergency money for the phone, or a man with a very convincing fake gash on his arm asking for money to get to the hospital. More often than not they are scam artists wanting your money.
  • Only use black cabs or registered mini-cabs – Sexual assaults and robberies have been reported by passengers using unlicensed taxis. If you need to take a night bus, always travel on the lower deck where it is generally safer; you will be visible to the bus driver on the lower deck and there will more than likely be other passengers around.
  • Avoid large public gatherings and demonstrations – This is not the time to be curious or to grab some quick holiday photos. The mood of a crowd can turn in a matter of seconds and an initially peaceful demonstration can turn violent, particularly when offensive weapons are brandished and used by authorities. A typical example of this is the student demonstration in London against tuition hikes in November 2011, which turned out of control as soon as they tried storming the building of the Conservative Party.

Victoria adds, “Although it’s unnecessary for us to approach our travels with a spirit of paranoia, it’s important to be prepared and to take responsibility for our own safety. Remember to be aware, be informed, be safe.”

For more information on Victoria Ugarte and ‘A Foodie & Fashionista’s Guide To London’, visit http://www.ExploreMyWorldTravel.com/