THUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – One of our readers shares, “I urge you to exercise extreme caution when at the Bluffs. Today at around 12:45PM, I decided to take a walk around the paths to get some fresh air. There was an old man with dark sunglasses who came out of the bush paths. He went into the parking lot and was just staring at me. I glanced back at him, thinking he’d lift his gaze. He didn’t. He just kept staring at me. I was a little creeped out so I decided to get out of the car and head down the paths to get away from him. I got out of the car and he’s still staring at me.
I start heading down the main path and he’s still staring at me. Well, I figured I’d head down one of those dead end paths that go to the edge of the cliff, just to let him pass me on the trail. I didn’t want him to be behind me. He followed me down the dead end path. I was trapped. He was about 5 feet away from me. He didn’t say anything, he just kept staring at me. So I pushed past him, and made my way back to the main path. Well, a little ways down, I heard some rustling in the bushes.
I figured it might be a small animal or a piece of garbage floating in the wind, but the rustling seemed to follow me. I was uneasy about being so far away and hidden from help, so I decided it’d be best to turn back and get into my vehicle and leave ASAP. The rustling was following me all the way back to the parking lot. As soon as I enter the parking lot again, the old man soon comes out too. It was the old man making the rustling in the bushes. He had been following me the whole time. As I got into my vehicle, locked the doors, and floored it out of there, he was just standing there staring at me.
This has to be one of the creepiest things I’ve ever experienced. If you see this pervert, he’s an old white male (70-ish?), probably around six feet tall with a bit of a gut. He had a bushy white beard and was wearing dark sunglasses at the time.
The Edmonton Police Service offer safety tips for walking:
- There is safety in numbers;
- Role play what you would do if you are confronted by someone intending to harm you;
- Have a ‘worst-case scenario’ plan. The best defense against an attack is awareness and action. If you are faced with an uncomfortable or dangerous situation and you can escape, do so immediately. Only you can determine what you can or will do when faced with an attacker;
- Stick to well-populated, busy areas. Avoid hidden trails, short cuts through secluded areas or lanes that are not well travelled. Stay where there is traffic and other people on foot;
- Walk in the light and stay in well-lit areas. Do not walk in dark parking lots, dark alleys, dark lanes, dark trails, or any other dark areas. A well-lit path in a well-populated area is your safest route to any destination, even if it takes longer;
- Do not shut yourself off from the world. Headphones isolate you from your surroundings and make it very easy for an attacker to surprise you;
- Take a cell phone. Carry a cell phone to have handy for 911 and other minor emergencies. Do not make and take calls while walking – you will appear distracted. Calling someone before you leave and talking with them to give them the play-by-play until you are safe is OK. This ensures someone knows where you are if something happens;
- Let others know. Always leave notice of where you are going and when you are expected to return. If you live alone, leave a note;
- Keep your head up and look confident. Posture can make all the difference in how a potential attacker perceives you. If you are looking down, seem distracted or appear afraid you are more likely target;
- Have keys ready in your hands and inside your pocket. When you reach your door, have your keys ready in the proper position. This will avoid a scrambling situation. When this happens, you are distracted;
- Avoid struggling with many bags. Struggling with five different bags at night may seem necessary, but you should avoid it whenever possible. Multiple bags can prevent a quick reaction should a dangerous situation arise;
- If you think you are being followed, head into an open store, restaurant or lighted home. Follow your gut feelings. If someone gives you a bad feeling, tell him/her clearly to leave you alone – walk away;
- If someone asks you for the time, keep your eyes up as you check your watch;
- Give directions from a distance. Do not approach a car stops to ask you directions;
- Yell if you are under attack. Keep yelling. Yell as loud as you can. Scream. Be noisy. This may spook off the attacker;
- Your best weapon is your brain. Use common sense, imagination, and good judgment.