With the recent reports of shady things happening, here are some ways to protect yourself.

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There have been reports across the area of women being followed in stores. With that said, many of you might be wondering how to protect yourself. Here are some tips, courtesy of Safewise, on how to protect yourself if you suspect you're being followed.

1. Keep Calm

This seems counter-intuitive to do, but you need to remain calm. If you begin to panic, you are likely going to make a mistake that could end up costing you. Just take a moment to become aware of your surroundings and then consider your next move.

2. Pay Attention

This is a really hard one to do because we are always looking down at our phones or thinking about something else. Paying attention can often times save your life. In the link above, the women paid enough attention to realize something was wrong and were able to escape situations unscathed because of that. Always be on alert and aware of what's happening around you.

3. Mix Things Up

If you suspect someone is following you, test that theory. Walk down a different aisle of the store and see if they follow you there. If they do, try going to another aisle and see if it happens again. One time is a coincidence, twice or more is a pattern. If you are being followed, alert a member of staff or management.

4. Go Where People Are

If you are walking alone and you suspect someone is following you, don't lead them to your home. Go into a public place or somewhere with people. Abducting someone in a group of people is dangerous and risky. Most criminals don't like that risk. If you are in a store, go to a busy section.

5. Call the Police

This seems like a no-brainer, but seriously, call the police. If you feel you are in danger, call the police and wait for them in a public space. Your would be captors aren't going to stick around or try to abduct you if the police are their or own their way.

Hopefully you won't ever have to use these tips and the recent reports are just an anomaly, but if not, at least you'll be prepared. Also, consider carrying pepper-spray or something similar in case of a worst case scenario.