Portland, Maine is a fun place to live or visit. It has world-class restaurants, lots of music venues, and bars ranging from polished cocktail lounges to pickled-egg dives. While Portland is a generally safe city, it makes sense to protect yourself at night – especially if you have been drinking.
Here are some personal safety tips to make sure that you end your evening with only pleasant memories.
Avoid Excessive Drinking
Know how alcohol affects your judgement. Everyone is different; you know your limits better than anyone else. Stay well on the safe side of those limits. Trust servers or your friends if they tell you you’ve had enough.
Be a Good “Wing Man”
Look out for others in your party. Watch your friend’s drink if they need to step away, and never leave your own drink unattended. If you lose track of a friend in a bar, don’t assume that they’re OK. Find them, call or text them to make sure they’re all right. If you think they’re making a poor decision (driving when they shouldn’t, leaving with the wrong person, etc.), talk them out of it. They may not appreciate it then, but they will later.
Safety in Numbers
Walk in groups whenever you can, and stay in well-lit areas. Use sidewalks, and walk near the curb to avoid doorways, shrubbery and other hiding places. Look like you know where you’re going – even if you’re not sure. Walk with confidence at a steady pace.
If you find yourself in an argument that seems to be escalating, walk away. Never carry an illegal weapon. Nothing escalates a fight more than a weapon, and someone can get hurt with it – even you.
Protect Your Valuables
If you use an ATM, bring a friend with you, and use an indoor machine if possible. When you’re in a bar, at a show, or in a restaurant, do not hang your purse or bag on the back of a seat. Keep your wallet in your pocket unless you’re paying or showing your ID. Although theft is covered by your Maine homeowners or renters insurance, your policy has a deductible, and coverage for cash is minimal under most policies.
Stay in Safe Areas
Avoid walking near unprotected waterfront areas, alleys or “sketchy” areas. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
Take a Cab
Everyone knows not to drink and drive, but too many people still do. Walking or biking after you’ve been drinking can be just as dangerous. Fortunately, Portland has plenty of cabs on any given night. Do yourself a favor and take one home or back to your hotel. The cab fare is a lot less than the expense of a DUI, or the loss of your car insurance discounts.
By using good sense, you can keep you and your friends safe when you’re out on the town.