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How to Stay Safe in a Big Crowd


By Catherine Alford

I understand the allure of big crowd. You’re walking down the street and people start gathering and cheering, and a natural curiosity takes over you. Maybe it’s a street performer, musician playing awesome music, or a celebrity sighting. Either way, if you want to actually go and see what all the fuss is about, it’s important to keep your wits about you.

Here are some tips for staying safe in a big crowd, whether it’s a party, conference, or just a random gathering on the street.

1.    Keep Your Purse/Wallet in Front of You

Pickpockets absolutely love big crowds because people are distracted and not paying attention. Don’t let that be you! If you think your attention is going to be diverted, make sure that you put your purse or wallet in the front of you. If you are wearing a backpack, wear it on your front instead of on your back. Be sure to stand next to someone you know and look around you occasionally to make sure the crowd hasn’t gotten too big or rowdy. If it seems like lots of people in the crowd are intoxicated, make sure that you are clear headed and sober.

2.    Stay on the Perimeter

When there is a crowd, someone can always cause a problem by yelling, “Fire!” or “Duck!” and so you need to be prepared [2] for the crowd to move on a whim. The best thing you can do is stay on the perimeter. I know you will probably be able to see better if you are closer to the interior of the crowd, but being on the perimeter means that you can quickly move or be the first to leave if there is a problem.

3.    Make Sure You Have an Exit

In any situation where there are lots of people around, it’s always a good idea to look around and make sure you have an exit. If you are in a building at a concert, for example, you should make sure you have an exit close by. If you are in a stadium, make sure you know the location of the nearest set of stairs. If you are in a movie theater, try to sit on the aisle so that you can exit quickly if something happens. It might sound like I am encouraging you to live in a state of fear, but I’m not. Instead, just make it a point to be aware of your surroundings so that you can be sure to stay safe in an emergency [3].

Ultimately, there’s nothing inherently wrong with big crowds. Plus, it’s hard to avoid them if you like going to parades, cheering your friends on at marathons, or watching your favorite band play at a festival. What’s important isn’t to avoid them but to acknowledge that sometimes big crowds can get rowdy and unsafe. Thus, it’s always important to follow the safety tips above to ensure the best possible outcome of any situation.