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“At night, don’t venture out into low-lit streets alone, regardless of the area,” advises Caher. “Even if you’re on a bike, you’re better off riding with someone.” He recommends regularly checking the sex offender registry on the DCJS website(criminaljustice.state.ny.us), where “you can find pictures of offenders in your area.”
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Unfortunately, crimes don’t only happen in dark alleys, and often attackers are people you’d least expect. According to Michele Vigeant, program office director at NYC victims’ assistance organization Safe Horizon(safehorizon.org), “Historically, 80 to 85 percent of sexual assault is committed by someone the victim knows.” But when you’re out and about, “If you’re feeling unsafe, go to a local 24-hour store, and arrange a ride home,” Vigeant counsels. Nonprofit Saferides dispatches cheap cabs every night of the week until 3:30am (1-888-656-SAFE, saferidesunlimited.org), anywhere in the city. If you’re flat broke but stuck in a shady situation on a Saturday night, call Rightrides(718-964-7781, rightrides.org), a volunteer-operated service providing free lifts to women and transgender individuals in 35 NYC neighborhoods.