We Want You Here for the New Year
Here at The Reach TV, we aren’t just a team; we are a family. And we want to bring you guys in as a part of our family by encouraging everyone to be safe for the approaching New Year’s festivities. A few months back, during the time of the initial call for the search for former Clark Atlanta University student Alexis Crawford, there was a growing epidemic of alleged abductions and kidnappings of young individuals near urban areas, especially in the city of Atlanta. As an Atlanta native myself, this hit very close to home for me and I felt very compelled to reach out to give a briefing on how you can turn up in the safest way possible.
According to the National Crime Information Center*, as of 2018, the amount of missing persons in the U.S. were:
By gender and age: (under 21) 211,906 males and 239,847 females | (over 21) 98,611 males and 62,371 females
By race: 362,988 white, 207,394 black, 19,556 other/unknown/mixed race, 12,994 Indian, 9,914 Asian
*numbers are approximate estimates
Every day, there are countless others who are on Instagram and Twitter asking for patrons to help find missing loved ones and as recent as yesterday, we saw an attempted abduction on an NYC subway train right in front of other riders. So, it’s important for people to be aware of their surroundings when going out and on your way back home.
Here are a few ways to ensure your safety for New Year:
1. Safety is better in numbers! If you can avoid it, try to avoid going out alone, especially at night. Even while traveling in pairs or groups, try to keep an item of defense on your person. These items can include a mini taser, pocket knife, mase (pepper spray), or a gun (but ONLY if it’s registered). Also, remember to keep these as items of DEFENSE, not to actually go hurt someone.
2. If you must go out alone, try to do the following: try to be indoors before it gets dark if you are not attending church, family/friend gathering, or a party, send out your location to one or two trusted family members or friends, don’t go somewhere where there is little or no outside lighting or lamps, keep a gas can in your car when traveling long distances, and if traveling to an area you are unfamiliar with or have never been to, try to get there before night.
3. If you are attending a party or function, try to stay around someone you know and trust. Try to avoid drinking open-top drinks or at least, take your drink with you everywhere you go and keep an eye on it.
4. If you have an iPhone, make sure to set up your emergency contacts. To do this, first go to Settings and scroll until you see the “Emergency SOS” tab. On that tab, you will first see a diagram of an iPhone and an arrow pointing to the off/on button. There is a message that instructs “Rapidly click the sleep/wake button five times to quickly call emergency services.” If you press the button five times, a slider will appear, asking if you want emergency services called. Below that is the “Auto-Call” slider. You have the option of turning that on so if you press the home button five times, it will automatically call emergency services for you without needing extra permission. After that, it gives you the option of being able to select up to three top trusted contacts in your phone as your emergency contacts. When you have them selected, you can go to your Contacts app and you will see a red asterisk by the three contacts that you have selected. Also, you can always edit who you want your emergency contacts to be through the Health app. Lastly, if you selected to turn the “Auto-Call” on, there is an option to turn on the “Countdown Sound”, which would play an audible “warning sound while Emergency SOS is counting down to call emergency services.”
5. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! If you know you will be intoxicated, either get a sober designated driver or take a Lyft or Uber to get back home. With taking a Lyft or Uber, make sure to screenshot who they say the driver is, the type of car that they say the driver will have, and their license plate (also try to send that screenshot to your emergency contacts). When the driver pulls up, verify that everything from what the app says about the driver matches. Even then, open the door and wait until the driver says your name and the intended location that input on the app to verify that they are in accordance with your information. Make sure the doors are not automatically locked (or to protect you even more, try to sit in the front seat). While they are driving, either try to have your route home memorized or at least try to pay attention to the route that the app is telling them to go so they aren’t making any suspicious turns or taking any weird roads.
6. BONUS: We know New Year’s can be a hard time for some, especially those who don’t have any family or friends around. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of depression and/or suicide thoughts, don’t be afraid to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or you can contact the National Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Make sure to check on your loved ones and remember, we want you here for the New Year!