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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:44 AM   #1
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Well, obviously safety is a concern for some... so how do you stay safe? Obvioulsy, being smart is key... but what do you guys think about personal defence?

I know of a few different items (retractable batons, knives, mace, pepper spray, other misc. weaponry) that would prove useful if you found yourself in a bad spot. It may seem extreme, but sometimes, like in Barcelona, I would think you'd rather be safe than sorry. Im not the type to have a confrontation, but as Cypress Hill has said in the past, "When the shit goes down, you better be ready."... (humm, I think that's gonna go in my sig.)

So, anyone carry any of this stuff readily? Any problem travelling with it? Legality of having anything from a Leatherman or Swiss Army knife on you to having a mini-blade on you? Pepper Spray? Mace? Guns? Cannons? Rocket Launchers? Anyone?

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Old 06-21-2006, 09:22 AM   #2
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I think the security risks of Europe are somewhat exaggerated.

In my limited experience, I have felt a lot more at risk walking in certain areas of DC than just about anywhere in Europe (a sleezy guy following me around in Amsterdam being the only exception).

Common sense seems to be a very useful self-defense mechanism - getting smashed and wandering dark streets alone does make you much more of a target! Instead of a RPG , consider going out in groups and retaining a smidgeon of sobriety. If you're on your own, drink less, keep to well lit, busy streets and avoid confrontations if someone should start something. If things start getting testy, head to the nearest police stand, manned train station, hotel lobby, restaurant - anywhere where there will be a person with some authority and a phone.

In 15 years of traveling on four continents, both solo and with my husband and/or kids, I have never been robbed, and can think of only two unsettling experiences both of which were resolved by taking the common sense measures I mentioned - in the one case, a busy street, in the other a train station.

Pulling a knife on a tough guy is only going to inflame the situation...

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Old 06-21-2006, 09:40 AM   #3
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Unless you are trained in CQB tactics, I wouldn't advise holding a knife in defense. On top of that, the folks in the UK just made pointy things illegal (Hello Nanny State!) so you could get in some serious trouble with the law.
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:13 AM   #4
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One of the interesting aspects of travel psychology is that those who are expecting to be attacked (i.e. those who carry mace, knives, etc.) are more likely to be attacked, as they let their guard down, figuring "I've got my _____ with me."

Better to not carry anything with you. It's just inviting trouble. Should anything happen, you have fists and, more importantly, vocal chords. In some countries, "self defense" doesn't count as an excuse, and you could find yourself on the wrong side of some metal bars, or worse, deported.
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:23 AM   #5
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hmmm. I think I'd rather be deported than behind bars. Just me.

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Old 06-21-2006, 11:24 AM   #6
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Joker i welcome your comments that my country in your eyes is classed as a nanny state if this promotes safety for both tourists and UK residents. Knife crime here in the UK is not to be laughed at...its a serious issue with 3 fatal stabbings of teenagers in the last week alone.

An interesting article on a web page i found looking for statistics:

Quote:
Statistics - some specifics / the numbers
(based on the latest annual statistics for crime in England & Wales)
back to top of page

*
note: where BCS & RCS figures vary we have tried to show comparison
* * source of information;
Incidents of Violent Crime
* 2,715,000
* British Crime Survey
(RCS figures 1,000,000+)
- Violent Crime - involving use of weapons
* almost 75%
* Recorded Crime Statistics
- Violent Crime - Wounding
* 38%
* Recorded Crime Statistics
* (BCS indicate 25%)
- Violent Crime - Serious Wounding
* 2%
* Recorded Crime Statistics
* (BCS - no info)
- Violent Crime - fatalities
* 0.1%
* Recorded Crime Statistics
* (BCS - no info)
Homicides
(incl. murder / manslaughter / infanticides)
* 1,045
* Recorded Crime Statistics
- Homicides with sharp implement
27%
* Recorded Crime Statistics
- Homicides with guns
* 8%
* Recorded Crime Statistics
- Homicides increase since 1965
* more than tripled
* Recorded Crime Statistics
Incidents involving edged weapon attacks (London Only)
* 54,000+
* British National Martial Arts Association
Firearm incidents involving violence
* 7,133
* Recorded Crime Statistics
Statistics re. Youths Carrying Knives:-
(note: the figures below do not necessarily reflect youths carrying knives every day)
.
* *
- 11-12 year olds carrying knives last year
10%
* Youth at risk?
- 15-17 year olds admitting to carrying knives for self defence
46%
* Ian Johnston - Chief Constable British Transport Police
- Pupils in London Schools carrying knives
29%
* Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003
- Excluded Pupils carrying knives
62%
* Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003
- 16 year old boys admitting attacking someone with a knife* - intent on causing serious injury
1 in 5
* Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003
- percentage of people who carry knives who have their weapons used against them
65%
* Be Safe Project
-* teenage deaths from knife attack (2004)
more than 20
* Be Safe Project

++++ Newsflash ++++

In London alone - over the May Bank Holiday weekend (27-29th May 06) - Police recorded over 50 knife attacks



more than 50 knife
attacks in London
during the weekend
*
* BBC National News

Many criminologists now believe that people carrying a knife is a bigger threat than people carrying guns - this is based on a 60% increase in recorded incidents of knife carrying during the 6 years between 1999 - 2004

60% increase in recorded knife
carrying incidents in* just 6 years
* BBC National News
* *



Who is at risk / the impact of violence on the victim
back to top of page


As evidenced by recent fatalities, literally anyone could find themselves a victim of knife crime, however the most at risk single group are young males between the age of 14 and 24

Recent high profile cases of knife attack include;

Stabbings During May 2006 alone

- A 19 year old man was stabbed to death on a train in Cumbria's Lake District, by the 21 year old boyfriend of the girl he was trying to help

- 14 year old boy stabbed (serious but not fatal) outside of school - Birmingham - attackers believed to be from another school

- 15 year old boy stabbed (serious but not fatal) at Bexley - a 16 year old male arrested

- 15 year old Kiyan Prince stabbed to death outside of school in North London - a 16 year old male arrested

- Nisha Patel-Nasri - Special Constable fatally stabbed outside her home


Impact on the victims - Fatal stabbings obviously have a dramatic impact on the victims, their family and friends, and often, also the local community. Even where violent crime does not result in death or serious injury, victims and family often suffer long term trauma.

It is estimated that over 83% of victims of violent crime experience trauma
(with over 24% experiencing serious trauma). Normal reactions to such attacks include:
* * * * * * * * * * - Anger
* * * * * * * * * * - Shock
* * * * * * * * * * - Annoyance
* * * * * * * * * * - Fear
* * * * * * * * * * - Loss of confidence
* * * * * * * * * * - Feeling of vulnerability

and victims are often left wondering 'Why'


Impact on the emergency services - Police are routinely issued with stab-proof vests, however in a worrying sign of the times, Essex has now become the second authority in the country (joining London) in issuing stab-proof vests to its paramedics
*



Public perception
back to top of page


Recent high profile media coverage of such events has certainly raised public consciousness regarding knife crime / culture in Britain. Whatever the published statistics show, most people now appear to feel that knife crime is rapidly getting out of control, and that urgent tough action is required to curb it before it gets totally out of hand.

Police initiatives such as "Operation Blunt" or "Operation Shield" seem to be genuinely welcomed by the public, whilst initiatives such as knife amnesty's are viewed with more than a little cynicism, and at best viewed as a means of publicising the dangers of knife carrying.

It is obviously unrealistic to expect to withdraw all knives from circulation, especially when kitchen knives, gardening knives, etc, all feature in violent attacks.*
*



Tackling the problem - current initiatives / and some suggestions
back to top of page


Current initiatives include:

Legislation - a government bill currently in the House of Lords features legislation to prohibit the sale of knives to anyone under the age of 18

Knife amnesty - these are designed to take knives off the street - although in reality, it is the law abiding citizens rather than the target groups which are more likely to surrender weapons.

Police Operations - such as operations Blunt and Shield involve the rapid and random deployment of metal detectors in public places such as stations, schools, etc. with strong police backup. The purpose being to identify and arrest anyone carrying illegal weapons.

Many schools are already using or considering the use of metal detectors to detect pupils carrying knives to school, or to deter them from doing so.

Whilst the above activities are moves in the right direction, much more needs to be done;

- At present whilst the law* provides for the imprisonment for up to 2 years for anyone illegally carrying a knife (up to 4 years if it's considered an offensive weapon), yet the implementation of any prison sentence at all appears almost non existent.*

Many people support the action group run by the parents of Luke Walmsley (the schoolboy who was stabbed to death in 2003), in calling for a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years for carrying a knife. This would put it on a par with the penalty for carrying a gun, and could therefore be an effective deterrent. There are however there are obvious practical implications for the implementation of such measures, not least of which is that our prisons are already at bursting point, - with judges calling for fewer people to be imprisoned rather than more!

Without doubt, education has to be a key ingredient, if we are to effectively* tackle the current knife culture.

The most at risk group are young males, up to the age of 24 years.

Whilst some youths carry knives to make them 'feel big' or to 'earn respect' most young people confess to carrying a knife for protection.

Carrying a knife is certainly not cool or manly, in fact anyone carrying a knife to make them important in the eyes of their peers, is clearly demonstrating just how inadequate they really feel.

Carrying a knife for self defence is equally misguided and significantly increases the risk of violence against the carrier. Statistics show that over 65% of people who carry knives, have their weapons turned against them.

Schools, government information films, etc., can all assist in educating and spreading the message - but one thing is for sure, whatever their age, our children must be made aware of the dangers of carrying weapons.

And at the end of the day, as parents we must also accept responsibility and play a key role in educating our children, after all, whether they are 4 or 24 they are precious and among the most important things in our life.

Whilst all of the above could help to improve the situation, all attempts to tackle the issue can only achieve real success in a government lead environment of ZERO TOLERANCE and MEANINGFUL PENALTIES

* * -* Zero Tolerance of sales of knives to the under 16 year olds
* * * (the last time anyone was jailed for selling a knife to an
* * * * under 16 year old was 9 years ago - in 1997)

* * -* Zero Tolerance of knives in schools

* * -* Zero Tolerance of carrying knives on the street

* * -* Zero Tolerance of the culture of violence


*



Information sources / interpretation
back to top of page


In compiling the above information, we have drawn on a range of sources of* information, including official government sponsored information web-sites, BBC newscasts, the national press, etc. and have also drawn input from bodies such as responsible martial arts organisations.

Thanks to the out of date nature of the statistics available (most published statistics are at least 18 months out of date at time of publication) and the often conflicting nature of their content,* we have of necessity been forced to apply some level of interpretation. Overall however, we believe that the information as presented, and when taken in context with the various added notes, is a reasonable indication of the current state of affairs.
*

* Metal Detectors / Body Scanners
back to top of page


Metal detectors come in various types and are a familiar site at airports, major sporting events, football matches, concerts, nightclubs and a host of* other venues. Over recent years, they have also been introduced to scan visitors entering public buildings, art galleries and museums, etc.

They are capable of quickly and easily identifying persons carrying concealed knives or other weapons.

Serious consideration is being given to the widespread use of metal detectors in schools. Whilst their use has already been adopted by some schools and colleges, their widespread use is proving controversial. There are certainly those championing their use in schools as an effective way of tackling knife culture, yet many teachers, MPs, civil rights groups, etc, see them as some form of threat.

The debate looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, however it is worth noting that use of metal detectors in schools has been commonplace in the United States for many years, albeit normally with security guards in attendance and not just relying on teachers.*
link to
metal detector
product page



Whilst Metal detectors can undoubtedly play a key role in deterring the carrying of knives, other technology that can help includes CCTV systems.

Many schools for instance have found that the introduction of CCTV has lead to many improvements including some or all of the following;

* * -* reduction in pupil (and parent / visitor) violence*
*
* * -* reduction in vandalism & graffiti

* * -* reduction in pupils carrying drugs and weapons to school

* * -* reduction in theft

* * -* general improvement in pupil behaviour



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Old 06-21-2006, 12:35 PM   #7
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Well if you'd give them some bloody guns, the kids woldn't be stabbing anyone, would they? Duuuuh!
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:01 PM   #8
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LOL
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:07 PM   #9
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We had a leatherman with us, but it was more for convenience (ie opening things, cutting things [not people]). Never ever felt my safety was threatened in Europe. I wouldn't bother with something that for the sake of protection personally - by the time I got the stupid thing opened, I'd have already been robbed.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:16 PM   #10
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Well, Im glad this sparked some conversation...

I mean, I was only thinking of carrying some kind of easily acessible knife if need be... from what it sounds like... If you have good common sense, you'll be okay. Luckily, I do.

Ill have my Leatherman or Swiss Army on me. I'll make sure to showcase my American Rage when someone tries to mess; brutally, vocally, or any other way...

Bring it, musky no-good dooers.





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Old 06-21-2006, 01:22 PM   #11
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Ypu will get your arse kicked if you show a knife here in Europe...for what its worth i would rather lose a couple of hundred £'s and claim it back on my insurance than have someone's death or injuries on my conscence
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Old 06-21-2006, 02:01 PM   #12
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I agree that I dont bother carrying anythign with me, cause itd take me ages to get it out and opened and ready to use, and dude would probably have taken off with my shoes ages ago. I use the same common sense stuff, but if anyone tries t attack me, I twist my index and middle finger together and then go for the eyes and throat, or grab fingers and try to break em. Thats gonna hurt a hell of a lot, not cause enough damage to get you into trouble, you dont get your fingers taken from you in the airport, and they're right there in the open adn ready to use. You also dont have to be very strong for it to work. Good times.
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