Posted on: November 20, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

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By Emma Gomez, News Editor, and Lily Ligeska, Features Editor

Wondering if you’re being followed home, keeping pepper spray close, never walking alone at night. These are some of the things that women have to think about to stay safe.

If you are a TikTok user, you might have seen the videos of women living in the West Loop of downtown Chicago sharing their experiences of almost getting abducted. On Sept. 26, Fox 32 News reported two kidnap attempts on women in the West Loop. The incidents took place in well-lit areas with plenty of witnesses, like a dog park in broad daylight.

Photo by Sowetan LIVE

The suspected abductors are driving in vans with others inside and attempting to grab these women and pull them inside the vehicle without anyone noticing. Fortunately, the women were able to get away or were saved by a witness who was close by. 

However, attempts like these may be much closer than you think. Recently, a woman who attends Moraine Valley was followed home after getting out of class at around 6 p.m. This took place around a month ago.

Over the course of three separate days, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, had three scary incidents happen. As she was leaving Moraine’s campus, she noticed a car following her the whole way home.

“I was thinking about that as I was driving home and I’m like ‘Huh, that white car has been with me for a little bit,’ and I put it into my brain as ‘Everyone’s just driving down LaGrange right now, everyone’s heading in the same direction, the chances of someone actually following me are slim,'” she said. “But I did make a mental note to remember the shape of the car.”

The student, being skeptical but still hoping it was nothing, put the car to the test. She made several different turns and started slowing down to see if the car would do the same, and it did.

“I was driving home, and I took weird side streets I don’t normally take,” she said. “And I was wondering if that car was still following me. I’m driving past the open field and park by my house and I see the car coming. I put it in my brain as “There’s no way that’s the same car. The car starts driving with its headlights off and stops, as I’m basically in my driveway and pulling in.”

The student scurried into her house, leaving all her belongings in her car except her phone and keys. At the time, she was the only one in her home and was quick to call a friend to tell them what happened. She turned all the lights off in the house and locked herself in the upstairs bathroom with some items to protect herself, such as a bat and an airhorn.

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“When I go downstairs to see if the car is still there, I see it,” she said. “This time it’s way closer and across the street. Then I see there’s no one in the car. Since it’s next to a streetlight I can see into it.”

After 45 minutes, still scared in her home, she sees a man running from what looks like the direction of her house, wearing all black with his hood up and a flashlight swaying side to side as he’s running. She quickly hangs up the phone with her friend and calls 911.

“Even if it’s nothing, I’d rather be safe than sorry,” she said. “I was home alone and I was like ‘This is crazy, I’m calling 911 right now.'” She talked to the dispatcher and asked her to send an officer.

Carrying on with her life, she thought that would be it. But the very next day, she noticed a white SUV following her while she was running errands before class. Doing what she did the day previous, she made a whole loop around the Orland Park Mall to see if the car would do the same. And it did.

Luckily, this time she ended up getting pictures of the car’s license plate. She hoped she had lost them, but the next thing she knew the car was back. There was a woman in the car, refusing to look back at her, wearing black sunglasses, around mid-twenties. She quickly drove to the nearest police station, hoping that would scare them off.

“As I’m in the lot of the police station, I see them zoom past me,” she said. “I immediately sprinted into the police station. I ended up staying and missing class. Obviously my safety is more important than any class.”

The next day, while on her way to class, she noticed what looked to be the same white SUV from the day previous. She told a trusted professor at Moraine Valley who suggested she go to the campus police.

“We took a look at the security footage from Tuesday,” she said. “We didn’t see the sedan that followed me, but we did spot a white SUV that looked like the one from Wednesday. As soon as I left and took a right, they also left and skirted out to the right.”

She gave campus police and the Orland Police Department the license plate number and hoped that the horror of these incidents was behind her. Then, last week, she had a scary encounter with a strange man inside of a Starbucks.

Even if it’s nothing, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I was home alone and I was like ‘This is crazy, I’m calling 911 right now.'”

Anonymous MV student

The student said she studies at Starbucks frequently at this location because they are open until 11:30 p.m. At around 10 p.m., a man walked in, and she was the only one in there besides the workers. She had her Airpods in and was studying for a test.

“He sat down at the table next to me, which was weird too, because there were five tables completely open,” she said. “He could’ve sat anywhere else, or away from me. He was trying to strike up a conversation by pointing out the Red Bull in my backpack. I had a Red Bull in the side pocket of my backpack, and I thought, ‘It’s weird that you noticed that.'”

He continued to ask her if she was studying and tried to keep the conversation alive, when she clearly was not trying to talk to him. She told him she was packing up to leave, and he asked if she lived in the area. Obviously unwilling to tell him where she lived, she just said she lived in Palos.

Since she goes to that Starbucks location often, she knows the workers, and one of the managers, who noticed what was going on, asked her if she was OK or needed help.

Photo by
Photo demonstrates blue lights similar to those on Moraine’s campus, with constant security footage. Simply press the button on one and you’ll be linked with a dispatcher immediately.

The man then proceeded to ask her if she could drive him home because he lives in Oak Forest, about two minutes from where they were. She quickly said she had a test the next day and couldn’t drive him home. She then got up and walked over to the register to talk to the manager.

“I start talking to the manager, and I’m trying to keep quiet so he doesn’t hear,” she said. “She says, ‘I heard the whole conversation.’ I had asked her to watch me get into my car to make sure I was safe, and she said she’d just walk me to my car. And then he was in the doorway as if he was waiting for me, and so then the manager asked him what he was doing, and in the meantime, I sprinted to my car and left.”

The student said the Moraine Valley Police Department was very helpful in making her feel safe and ensuring that they are keeping a constant lookout, not just for her, but for every student in Moraine’s community.

Moraine Valley Police Chief Patrick Treacy gives helpful advice for women to stay safe.

“Go to, if possible, the nearest Police Department,” Treacy said. “Maybe even call 911, if you can do it safely, while you’re driving there. If you can’t do that then try another public area, Fire Department, a busy shopping mall, or just somewhere that is well lit with a lot of people around, in that order.”

Treacy wants students to know that campus security is always happy to help escort a student out to their car, whenever needed.

“We’d much rather you talk to police and it turn out to be nothing, rather than the 1 out of 1,000 chance that something unfortunate happens.”