Author Topic: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)  (Read 3912 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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So, I have recently made a great financial decision by moving to a very walkable neighborhood (walk score of 95 out of 100 - one of the absolute best for my city!) from a lovely but horrifyingly non-walkable neighborhood (walk score of.... shudder... 3). In general, this is very exciting. Between walking, biking, and public transit, I expect that I can cut down hugely on my car time! I am nicely communicated with grocery stores, banks, and even some fun night clubs with no cover charge :)

The problem:

The trade-off with my neighborhood being so walkable is that it is dangerous at night. It's fine during the day (assuming you avoid the area 4 blocks away where the violent gang war has broken out), but every night there are assaults, thefts, and even occasionally rape. I am a young, petite woman, and I love spending time with friends late into the evening. I am not at all comfortable taking public transit (or walking, yikes) after dark in this neighborhood.

So what do I do if I know I am going to be out late? Drive there and back? Or take public transit one way, and then call an Uber (or other service) for the ride back? Interested to hear some Mustachian options.


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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 03:37:29 AM »
If it is that dangerous, you would be better with something that will pick you up from the door - walking to your car could be as dangerous as walking all the way home.

I lived for 14 years in a somewhat dangerous neighbourhood - a recent highly publicised Australian rape/murder occurred in the shopping strip within a block of where I lived. Things happened in that part of the shopping strip when I lived there and it was known as somewhere not to go by yourself late at night. I didn't worry, and used mass transit (which stopped in that part of the shopping strip) late at night, and got takeaway from the local Indian at close to midnight (if I was feeling hungry), and never had anything happen to me. But if I had been worried, I would have been worried in the shopping strip, rather than further away - because that was where everything that was reported in the news actually happened. It would have been no good parking a car at one end of the strip and walking back and forth.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 03:59:47 AM by deborah »


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 10:43:03 AM »
Hi - I'm currently working on a book about personal protection based on my former career in the field, so I'll hope you'll give some thought to my reply.

You are very wise to be concerned about your safety, even if the odds end up being relatively small that you'd end up a crime victim, so kudos to you for paying attention. I mention odds, because I don't want to come off as one of those people who suggest that you are in constant danger and must hide under a rock or carry a shotgun at all times to be safe. But even if the odds were, say, 1 to 2% that you'd be attacked at some point (and I completely made that up), that's far too high to gamble with in my opinion. Because the outcome if you are attacked can be so devastating, it's not worth any unnecessary risk.

So yes, I think you should take all precautions to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Some ways you can avoid being the target of choice:

- Avoiding areas (and times) where you are vulnerable. In general, those areas are places like your neighborhood with a significant criminal element, and places that are good hunting grounds for criminal activity. That means places with some people around to serve as victims, but not too many to deter an attack (think parking garages, jogging trails, sparsely populated sidewalks and alleys, stairwells, etc.). If that means using a car service, then do it -- that's a small price to pay for your life.

- Maintaining heightened awareness whenever you are in a potentially dangerous place. Needless to say, this means no talking on the phone, listening to music with headphones, texting, fumbling in a purse, etc.

- Keeping anyone who is potentially threatening more than arms' length away from you at all times. Pay attention to your intuition, and don't be suckered into getting close. If someone persists in wanting to get close to you, tell them to stay away and maintain your distance (run if you must, and fight if you can't outrun them).

- Don't be alone, keep others with you in any potentially dangerous place.

- Maintain a confident attitude, and let others know you are aware of their presence around you. So, you don't avoid eye contact with potential bad guys, you give them a quick, confident but non-threatening glance with just a moment of eye contact that says "I see you there," and then confidently go about your business.

- Always try to have a safe exit or safe place available. Avoid being anywhere that you can't get to safety before an attacker can overwhelm you. As a really simplified example, if a bad guy is 50 yards from you and coming after you, you're in good shape if the police station is 25 yards away the other direction.

- Avoid things that invite unwanted attention: wearing expensive jewelry, expensive or provocative clothing, purses, carrying expensive iThings, being overtly drunk and laughing loudly with girlfriends on the streets, etc.

- Consider taking some self-defense courses and carrying a small and easy-to-use weapon like a kubotan  ( or a collapsible baton. Keep the weapon discreetly in your hand when you are in dangerous areas.

By the way, I think the decision about driving vs. taking Uber is mostly (but not completely) irrelevant. Both are undoubtedly safer than walking, so they are both good choices. But you still face danger getting to and from the car, into the car, and from your car to your home, and 1000 other places. Bad guys target women heading to and from their cars, or getting into their cars. I'd like it if you make a habit of doing the things I listed above, then decisions about cars and everything else will become more apparent and second-nature.


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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 11:14:40 AM »
Do your friends just abandon you at the end of the evening? I'd talk to them and work out some sort of plan where none of you are at risk at the end of the night. If you drive, go get your cars together. Or carpool there and back together. If you have a service pick you up, maybe you could ride together so you both split the cost and keep each other safe.

I recently added a personal alarm to the messenger bag I use for bike commuting. I made a little pouch for it so I can reach it with either hand at all times (even while biking). When  activated it makes an incredibly loud sound of a woman screaming. It's seriously unpleasant and I can't imagine anyone would hang around and listen to it. Get one. I also have a Kuboton on my key chain.


  • Bristles
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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 11:30:23 AM »
I'd recommend you not try to make a home somewhere where you feel that unsafe.  I mean, really?  Is it worth it?


  • Bristles
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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 07:42:43 PM »
Do you enjoy the drive, or would walking/public transit be your preferred method of travel.  Do you care more about your cost or the environmental cost?  What are your estimates of cost for each option?  Would you feel safer with a self defense class, some mace and/or a firearm?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 01:50:42 AM »
Thank you so much for all the responses!

The points about walking to/from any car being dangerous are very good ones. Usually I have friends who walk me to my car at the end of the night, and my building does have gated parking... but I have seen people go in and out through the gate without cautiously closing it, so that does seem like it might not be the most secure. Alas, I can't expect all of my friends to come home with me at the end of the night, since they live in different places - often I will be visiting at their houses! But after reading all these responses, I am starting to think that if the alternative is going home by myself, the most Mustachian (and safe) option of all might be crashing on couches/staying the night, and then taking public transit/biking back in the daylight. Will just have to plan my schedule accordingly so that I don't have to head back alone unless totally necessary!

Other notes:
@deborah - Good point. That seems to be a vote for Uber when it is necessary, since it could drop me right in front of my building, versus having to park in my building's parking garage.
@Double Dan - Thank you SO much for all these detailed pieces of advice!! I will absolutely be implementing them.
@TrMama - Great resources! Will look into them :)
@PloddingInsight - Don't worry, it's not a permanent home - this is a rented apartment, not a house, and was chosen due to a plethora of budgetary/commuting restraints both for me and my roommate. I hope to move to an equally walkable but much safer neighborhood in a few years when I can afford it!
@Emg03063 - Depends on the time of day! At night, my biggest concern is safety instead of cost, either to me or the environment, but I would say both play a role during the day. I probably would feel a little safer with mace or equivalent, but having to fight someone would be very stressful for me and I hope it never happens!

Hope everyone has a great evening!


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2014, 03:26:50 AM »

So what do I do if I know I am going to be out late? Drive there and back? Or take public transit one way, and then call an Uber (or other service) for the ride back? Interested to hear some Mustachian options.

How about a bike?

Several years ago, I lived on crackhead alley. Pimps would use the corner beneath our living room window to trade crack for blowjobs, but it was cheap and walkable with great public transportation.

I biked everywhere.

My theory was that, by the time a crackhead could registers my existence, I would already be gone. Criminals want to sneak up on you in a way that gives them control; if you're doing 12 mph, you're well on your way out of their range before they even get a thought off. I was rather liberal with handling of stop signs and red lights.

Side note: I had a chance to buy a condo on crackhead alley for 80% less than the average for my city. I should have taken it as the area is rapidly gentrifying.


  • Bristles
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Re: Car both ways, or Uber 1-way? (Dangerous neighborhood at night)
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2014, 11:19:52 AM »
I prefer the shotgun route.

I went from a 900/month condo where we left the doors unlocked to a house where there are frequent bar fights nearby, transient housing, late night shenanigans, etc. I have a Glock 26 with 11 reasons not to threaten my life.  For me, it is part of my lifestyle. I know the police response times in our overall metro area aren't great, and I think it is every persons right responsibility to be able to handle themselves.  Its not going to be popular, but if you are not moving you have to make the choice to:

1) risk the walk from your car/bike
2) pay the cost of car service to your door
3) mitigate risk from 1) by properly preparing yourself.

There are all kinds of reasons to go this way or another, but it is an option. You just have to make sure you are committed. Half-assing is not an option.