So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

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Happy Chappies
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So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Happy Chappies » 20 March 15 3:01 pm

As Melbourne cachers will no doubt be aware, there was a rather awful stabbing attack on a young lady this week which resulted in her death. Truly awful stuff (but they've at least caught him). We've been quite heavily impacted emotionally and mentally by it as it took place awfully close to home, in an area we are very familiar with, use alot, and always considered 'safe'. So it's been a tricky thing as we talk to the kids about what happened and try to sensibly talk to them about 'being safe and taking precautions' without making them unduly scared, and without blowing the risks totally out of proportion. Hard to balance the true life statistics (that you're far, far more likely to be killed at home by someone you know) with the gut reaction of being a parent.

It also made me turn my mind to the risks we take in caching. Bizarrely enough, there is a cache almost at the exact spot that this took place (or at least was - I have no doubt the police would have found it). I reflect on my caching activity in the past and that of cacher-friends and without doubt it does sometimes put you in situations that are higher risk. Dodgy suburbs/areas. Quiet secluded corners. Odd hours of the night for that nightcache. Alone in unknown areas, back turned, busy looking at your device and not your surroundings. Perhaps drawing the attention of those around you.

I'm not sure if or how this is going to change my caching behaviours. It probably won't. But was curious whether others have their own precautions. What do you do (if anything) to be or feel safe? Do you have a 'line' that you won't cross when it comes to your personal safety? Have you ever gone for a cache and decided "nup, I'm not taking the risk with that one".

I know personally that some of the urban, laneway caches often have me on edge, and I've often cut my hunt short after just feeling 'not right' about where I'm loitering. Likewise there's been a park or two that I've pulled up to and just said 'Um, no...'.

It's certainly a hard issue. The fear of personal attack in that last few hundred metres as we hunt for a cache in a quiet park may feel immense, even when the risk of getting hit by a car on way to the park is probably far greater, statistically.

Curious about your thoughts.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by ziggiau » 21 March 15 3:38 pm

You raise an interesting point and it certainly can't be overlooked. But I think, as you've noted, you get that gut feeling when you know a location is just not quite right.

I do equal amounts of caching on my own and with the geofamily and there's a very different feel to each. I've had to ask myself the question "what am I doing here on my own" with the decision being that it's not worth it a few times - with a group it might be a different kind of experience. A smiley isn't worth going against your gut feelings.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Goldenwattle » 22 March 15 4:17 pm

I cache both alone and with another cacher. Especially when I'm alone, I will not climb trees or other physical dangerous things, and particularity in remote places. Even with company there are few caches up a tree I am willing to risk my life for. I am willing to swim to islands and the like for caches though, as I swim better than I climb. But I won't do this if there are boats about, as a boat could run me over. This almost happened to me once, when I was swimming some distance from shore.
I do walk in the bush at times alone though, and I have cached in city alleyways alone. So far I have had nothing bad happen to me, short of being sprung by a graffiti artist in a Melbourne alleyway. "What are you doing here?" I was asked. "Admiring the lovely artwork of course." Then we discussed the graffiti artwork. I do think about where I will go.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by noikmeister » 22 March 15 4:48 pm

I have turned back after a significant investment in time and effort to get 2/3 of the way to a cache when I decided that the chance of hypothermia for me or one of my group was high. The whole situation made me feel much better about making the right judgement call in the future.

I've climbed a long way up trees and searched around and then given it up for a bad joke when the next branch just didn't feel safe.

I think you need to make sure that you have a plan in mind for when things go wrong, rather than assuming "everything will be okay" and then having to improvise when it is not.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Taz » 24 September 15 1:28 pm

This is the number one reason I have trouble getting out caching. Female on my own digging around in the bushes just doesn't feel safe so if I can't find someone who will go with me I often just don't go out.
Endlessly frustrating. ](*,)

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Just a cacher » 24 September 15 6:38 pm

Actually, I worry about cliff edges, and nasty climbs and such, but never thought about danger from other people. I suppose I should.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Goldenwattle » 24 September 15 7:23 pm

Taz wrote:This is the number one reason I have trouble getting out caching. Female on my own digging around in the bushes just doesn't feel safe so if I can't find someone who will go with me I often just don't go out.
Endlessly frustrating. ](*,)
I am female and I often cache alone. It can be fun and relaxing (almost maybe like mediation I decided as I 'dreamingly' walked through the bushland of Mt Ainslie the other day), wandering alone along a track or through bushland, with only kangaroos and birds for company, stopping to admire wildflowers. As long as you don't do anything beyond your physical means, in my case an example is climbing trees, you should stay safe. I do think about where I am going and some places I won't go, but there aren't many. When alone I am more aware of being careful where I step, as I don't want to sprain an ankle or something, and then have to get myself back without help, so I don't rush if it's rough ground. Normal safety things are taking waypoints, so you don't get lost, and carrying a phone, although in some more remote places the phone is useless. If it is very remote and more physically challenging, I think company is safer, but this isn't because I'm female. Those situations are safer whether male or female. It's a shame to miss out on getting out.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Taz » 24 September 15 10:29 pm

It's not the terrain or anything that I am concerned about when I am out, I'm a Scout leader so hiking really isn't an issue for me. I'm way more concerned with who might be out with me or coming up behind me.
Maybe it's a silly concern but enough people have been attacked in remote areas or even in ordinary streets to make me very wary.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Goldenwattle » 24 September 15 10:56 pm

I'm sorry you feel this way, as you are missing out. To put your concerns into perspective, how many people do you know personally who have been attacked? I don't know anyone (personally) who has been attacked. By a human I mean, as I know someone who was attacked by a kangaroo. I tried a quick google to find out how many people are attacked each year in the Australian bush, but couldn't find any examples, except attack by kangaroo. They might happen, but I couldn't find examples by googling. Ned Kelly's :roll: name kept appearing though.
I often meet other females out walking or jogging alone too, so I am not unique.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Richary » 24 September 15 11:18 pm

I've been more worried about physical aspects, like "no I'm not climbing down there for a smilie" rather than people. There have been areas where I have been a bit worried about leaving the car for a period though, and at one cache I did in Perth with someone else as part of a game a number of years ago (I think it was one of the Olympics where I had to do a multi with someone else) we pulled into the carpark to find some locals with a smashed window, so took their advice and parked outside on the main road and added 500 metres each way to the walk rather than me having to explain to the car rental company why my hire car had been robbed with all the hassles and costs that adds. And probably losing my bags with all my clothes for the next week and the laptop (even if they were out of sight in the boot).

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Taz » 24 September 15 11:28 pm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-10/t ... ll/6609088
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/woman ... 7253411008

And yes those are all city examples and no I didn't know personally any of them but I don't think I need to in order to know there are crazies out there.

As for the Bushwalking ones?
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=17849
So quite obviously I'm not unique in my views either.
Fair enough the more remote you get the safer it is likely to be but there are a lot more caches in non remote areas than in remote.


It is also not the ONLY reason I dislike caching on my own, quite frankly it's nowhere near as much fun.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Goldenwattle » 25 September 15 2:35 am

The second link didn't work for me. Yes, as the first link shows assaults do happen, but they happen for men too. You can't let these few incidents stop you from going out, sensibly of course, or you might as well lock yourself away at home, and homes have been broken into too and people assaulted in their homes.

I read the comments about women hiking solo. It was mixed, and one person who claimed they had researched attacks in NPs wrote, "Now, in Australia, I've just searched records of sexual assaults in NPs, so far I've only found 2, adjacent to urban areas (Noosa National Park and Royal NP)." It seems to me the fear is greater than reality. An awful attack (even if very rare) happens and it's in the papers and suddenly going out looks more dangerous, when in reality, as Happy Chappies pointed out, the risk of being hit by a car might be greater, or I add, being involved in a car accident. Do you drive? I mean, I was involved in a car accident on my way to go Geocaching. Someone rammed my car in the back, pushing the rear of my car into the rear wheels making the car undrivable, and writing it off, but do I still drive? Yes I do, and cycle at other times too, and this is FAR more dangerous than being mugged.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Just a cacher » 25 September 15 8:39 am

Taz, you do what makes you feel safe.

You won't enjoy it out there, if you're frightened or worried all the time, anyway. You could consider taking a large hatpin or loud alarm, or you could just hunt for a like-minded friend and cache as a team.

I find that "we" find more caches when I go out with someone. Everyone 'looks' differently, and I often spot caches the other person misses, and vice versa. Sadly, it isn't as easy as one might think to find a caching partner.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Tuena » 25 September 15 11:42 am

I cache alone & am not interested in climbing trees etc so my PQs reflect that in the terrain rating. I've never had a really good sense of balance so know my limits. I travel alone & don't camp within 50 Ks of a built up area on a Friday or Saturday night - too many yobbos. If there are others camping at a remote spot I try to gauge their demeanour by sight or a quick conversation, then decide whether to stay or not. They're probably doing the same to me. I haven't been caching in any scary urban locations but have met shooters & pig doggers whilst caching & had no problems, especially as the latter had obedient dogs.

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Re: So where/how do you draw the line re safety?

Post by Goldenwattle » 25 September 15 12:12 pm

Tuena, you sound similar to me. I also travel alone, both in Australia and overseas. I often sleep in my car when travelling in Australia, but I do admit I usually find some other 'free' campers and camp near them for safety. Too many yobbos possibly about, but of cause this might just be my imagination. But then it's often more fun joining others and sharing a camp fire. The only country I was a bit nervous caching in was UAE, but I still did go out and find caches. I was just more 'awake' to my surroundings, and dressed more conservatively than many tourists I saw. I also don't have good enough balance for climbing trees. This is also reflected in my walking up steep hills versus walking down steep hills. I have been told I walk about three times faster up hill than down. LOL, I know this, as I am trying to not slip and fall down going downhill.
The last time I walked in the bush, a few days ago, both on and off trails - urban bushland - Mt Ainslie area in Canberra - I passed about three other walkers and joggers - all females, alone like me.
Last edited by Goldenwattle on 25 September 15 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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