An acquaintance is planning a trip to Austin. She has never been to Austin before, but remembered I lived in Austin, so she asked me for input as to places to stay, things to do, restaurants to check out.
She’s just starting to make her plans, so I gave her some general suggestions. However there are so many options it was tough to provide her with specifics; she’s just starting to plan so she’s not quite sure yet what she wants to do. As we continued to speak, the conversation started to gravitate to what NOT to do, where NOT to go.
For example, the (in)famous 6th Street is OK, but after 10 PM I’d avoid it because drunk young people isn’t a recipe for quiet and well-reasoned behavior. Same for the University of Texas area. Then a couple other places, like I-35 and East Riverside, the I-35/US-183/Rundberg area as worth avoiding.
This is where tools like SpotCrime and specifically in Austin, krimelabb, are useful. You can find the hotspots worth avoiding.
No where is 100% safe, but small steps to manage your safety and security add up. Following Farnam’s Law – avoiding stupid people, avoiding stupid places, avoiding doing stupid things (with stupid people, in stupid places), and generally being in bed by 10 PM – does a lot of good, and is truly a first step towards effective self-defense.