A night out on the town is a great way to wind down after a long week, which is why so many of us head to the bar over the weekend to indulge in a few cocktails or mocktails. You might have a favorite local haunt that you frequent, or perhaps you like to try somewhere new every once in a while. But regardless of where you end up, there are certain precautions that you (unfortunately) have to take to keep yourself safe. Now, police have issued a new warning amid increased crime reports, and their guidance includes something specific you should not be doing with your hands. Read on to find out what police recommend you change about your bar behavior.
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Police have seen an increase in one crime trend.
Having a drink shouldn't be a high-risk activity, but criminals spike beverages to leave their victims vulnerable. In Boston, drink-spiking crimes have been on the rise, the city's police department confirmed at a recent city council meeting, Fox News reported. Richard Driscoll, lieutenant detective for the Boston Police Department (BPD), stated that authorities have received dozens of reports of beverages being drugged.
"We are aware of about 73 reports where a victim or witness alleges a drink spiking occurred or fears that one occurred," Driscoll said at the meeting. "Of those 73 reports … three were reported to have resulted in positive drug tests for opioids, and a fourth was reportedly the result of an unknown date rape drug. With that said, there's no denying that an issue does exist."
This isn't the first time police in Boston have warned about these crimes, as the department issued a press release following several social media reports of drink-spiking activity at bars back in May.
Given the latest statistics, however, police are speaking out once more, and this time they're offering new guidance.
These drugs can make you disoriented or even render you unconscious.
Staying vigilant at the bar, as well as at parties and entertainment venues, is a must, the BPD said, per Fox News. In a community alert from Oct. 26, the department further reminded citizens that drugs like Rohypnol (also known as "roofies"), GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid), and ketamine are often used to spike drinks, as they're all "scentless, colorless, and tasteless."
"These drugs and substances can cause disorientation, confusion, temporary paralysis, or unconsciousness, along with a host of other symptoms, leaving the potential victim vulnerable to the intentions of the suspect," police said.
You might not even be aware if your drink has been tampered with, which is why it's so vital to take certain preventive steps when out and about.
Your drink must be covered at all times.
Police stressed the importance of keeping your drink covered at all times. You can invest in a "creative invention" to do so—there are several options at Walmart or Amazon—but your hand will also work just fine. In fact, police advised that you never remove your hand from the top of your beverage when you're not directly looking at your drink.
Make sure that your drinks are coming directly from the bartender as well, and avoid taking one from people that you don't know or trust, police said. Keep an eye on your beverage at all times, never leaving it unattended—even if you're going to the bathroom. It may not seem like the most sanitary option, but for safety's sake, it's best to take your cocktail with you to the restroom.
If you suspect that your drink has been tampered with, you can test it with test strips or nail polishes that "light up a certain color" when drugs are detected, according to the BPD. You should also seek help right away "if you begin to feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, or strange in any way," police said.
Know how to recognize signs of trouble.
In addition to accounting for your own personal safety, police noted that you and your friends should have a buddy system in place to avoid getting separated. Staying alert is also important, so be sure to pay attention to telltale signs that something is amiss.
"Please be aware of any uncharacteristic behavior from your acquaintances and be wary of strangers attempting to lure individuals away from their friends," the BPD community alert reads. "Also, should you observe any individual who appears to be in distress, wandering alone late at night, or dressed unsuitably for the weather, be sure to contact the police immediately."