Security Expert’s Top 5 Paris Safety Tips for Women
By Christophe Gadenne -
1. Travel light
2.. Learn about local travel scams
3. Adapt your behavior at night
4. Don’t be afraid to make a scene
5. Learn self-defense and situational awareness
The Government of Canada advises travelling with the least amount of luggage possible to reduce the risk of assault and theft. This is wise advice, because the less you have and the less you show-off, the less likely criminals are to choose you as their victim. So please leave your expensive watch/camera/phone at home. The only things you really need on you are a means of payment and a photocopy of your passport. The rest should remain concealed or be in a safe place.
Learn about local travel scams
Paris has as many scammers as other big cities. Before working in the police and then on a video series on travel scams, I myself fell victim to many scams throughout my travels to Egypt, Thailand, and even on my honeymoon in the Caribbean Islands! Now that I am better informed, I can enjoy travel without being constantly on guard or paranoid. I am able to recognize a suspicious situation, and more importantly, I know how to say “no” to a scammer.
Adapt your behavior at night
The main safety tip given by the British Police is to be careful when walking alone at night, as the majority of victims are assaulted after nightfall. Criminals will choose the easiest target. For example, a single person who is drunk and attempting to use an ATM at night. It may sound obvious, but refraining from walking home alone, or while intoxicated, will significantly reduce your chance of assault.
Don’t be afraid to make a scene
If you are assaulted or threatened, a loud scream can both alert and deter an attack, allowing you to escape. The best example of this is a victim who once filed a report at my police station. She was coming home after dinner and, as she entered her building, a strongly-built stranger shoved her hard from behind and pushed her on the floor, face down. He immediately put a hand over her mouth and tore her dress with his other hand. The young lady had a personal alarm in her purse, but could not reach it. She had the good sense however to scream as loud as she could — and it worked! The assaulter got scared, fled the scene, and neighbors came to her rescue.
Learn self-defense and situational awareness
According to the National Self-defense Institute, “you are your best defense.” I personally encourage self-defense lessons for women, and here’s why:
Self-defense classes improve safety, confidence, physical health, and they are fun!
Women can easily learn a few simple techniques, such as a knee to the groin or poking a finger in the eyes, in order to free oneself from an assaulter.
The classes also give you better situational awareness, to help you detect and avoid danger before it happens.
Check online, or with your police department, to find recommendations for a local female self-defense program.
About Christophe Gadenne:
Christophe Gadenne is a former French police officer, and the author of the Safety Scouts animated YouTube series. He left the Force in Protected content a career as a security consultant in the private sector, but still dedicates his spare time to fighting crime in new and innovative ways. His free, informative Safety Scouts videos help travelers avoid travel scams by turning safety advice from local experts into easily accessible information. His initiative has received support from the European Union, and many other organizations around the world are also using his videos. Chris’s motto is to always remain positive and respectful of others.