A Better Big Apple: Things to keep in mind while exploring Kansas City (and the world)

Elizabeth Fleming, assistant Mill Valley News editor

Welcome back to A Better Big Apple. I have a quick announcement before I get to the thick of this week’s blog. Originally, when I thought of the idea to write A Better Big Apple in July, I planned on doing a list of local businesses every single week. I soon realized, though, that it’s sadly not possible for me to cut out a couple of afternoons each week to do that. Plus, buying that much food in two days is kind of expensive. So, in order to save my wallet and my stress levels, I will be venturing into Kansas City every other week,s and, when I’m not doing those, I’ll write about something else Kansas City related.! I’m very excited to write and share more posts with you all as the school year progresses.

Alright, so, since this is a blog where I encourage exploration and trying new things, I have also taken up responsibility to remind you all to be safe. While Kansas City is an incredible city, it can also be dangerous, just like any other big city is. So, I decided to come up with a list of the top things you can do to keep yourself safe while venturing throughout KC — and any other part of the world.

Don’t make your personal belongings easily seen or accessible

Robberies and muggings aren’t exactly sparse in Kansas City, both the Kansas and Missouri sides. Keep your keys, wallet, phone and any other essentials you carry on a regular basis in a purse, fanny pack or your pockets if they’re big enough.

Invest in self-defense tools

A while back, I invested in pink cat eye self-defense keychain from She’s A Pistol, and I love it. Even though it is little, it’s made of a very resilient plastic material sharpened into two points, which resemble cat ears. Thankfully, I have never had to use mine when wandering around Kansas City, but it makes me feel a lot better to have — especially when I’m exploring in the evening. If you decide cat eye’s wouldn’t be a tool you’d like to invest in, pepper spray from Cabelas will always do the trick. Just remember to learn how to use it first. There have been many cases of the wind blowing it into the eyes of the person spraying the can at someone, and I can’t think of many situations that would be worse than that.

Stay prepared

It is so important to keep at least $20 cash in your wallet, even if you have a debit card. Sometimes debit and credit cards are declined, and it would obviously be terrible to run out of gas in a place you’ve never been without any money. Which reminds me, allways fill up to at least half a tank before going somewhere you aren’t completely comfortable with. Even though I go to downtown Kansas City, West  Bottoms and Westport almost every week, I can only think of about two gas stations without asking Siri. It would also really suck to not have Siri or text messaging while out exploring. So, bring a phone charger and car outlet charger with you wherever you go.

Stay aware

This is perhaps the most important tip on the list. Kansas City in a hub to just over 30,000 violent crimes per year, which is a pretty massive amount. While everything on this list will help you and your friends stay safe, staying aware of the places and people around you will enable you to be proactive and protective. Do not text or scroll through your Instagram or Twitter feed will walking around. It obviously distracts you, and it makes you unaware of the people who may pose a threat to you and your well-being.

I know this week’s blog isn’t happy and fun. But, as an adventure-based blogger, it’s so important for me to talk about. I just figured might as well get it over with now, so we can get back to our explorations for the rest of the year. Please be careful while wandering around town, and see you next week.

Senior Elizabeth Fleming loves and supports all things Kansas City — from the barbecue to the sports teams to the small businesses that make it the best city in the world. She spends her weekends exploring and discovering the best of Kansas City.

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