Spooky season

Opinion columnist Julia Montoya outlines simple steps you can take to improve your safety.


My daily routine always consists of three things: long walks to the bus stop, tall cups of coffee and the podcast “Crime Junkie” playing in my ear.

While I’m a huge fan of current events podcasts, such as "The Daily," NPR news, and "Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations," I especially enjoy "Crime Junkie" because all of the events are real, and they are told in such a way that it feels like the host is telling you the kind of scary stories you ask to hear by a fireside at night (just in time for fall — the spooky season).

"Crime Junkie" host Ashley Flowers and co-host Brit Prawat lay out all of the facts of chilling true crime stories in chronological order, and by the end of the episode they state where the case stands in present time. "Crime Junkie" has covered many notable cases, including the 2004 disappearance of college student Maura Murray.

One of the reasons I appreciate "Crime Junkie" so much is because the hosts not only recount the stories of these crimes, but they also offer listeners advice on to how to stay aware and alive when in dangerous situations. Here is a list of a few notable tips from the podcast that I think are important to hear for everyone’s safety:

  1. Keeping in contact with your family members, friends, or whoever you are closest to on a daily basis. Use apps like “Find my iPhone” that allow other people access to find the location of your phone in the case of an emergency.

  2. In the case that you are being abducted, try to make as much noise as possible and try to drop as many (non-essential) items you have with you such as your college ID, water bottle, earphones etc. — anything that an abductor might ignore or leave behind but someone else can pick up later and associate with you and your abduction.

  3. Create an ‘If I go missing’ folder that contains secure personal information including login info for your bank accounts and credit cards, cell phone provider login information, social media and other messaging app passwords, and identifying information about yourself (hair/eye color, tattoos, birthmarks, etc.). This information is essential in the case that you do actually end up missing. It will make the investigation process easier and could end up saving your life.

Now, I’m more aware of just how often crimes occur, and more aware of things that I do in my daily life that put me in danger of becoming a victim of one of these crimes. I debated whether listening to all of these cases was making me paranoid, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it truly has just made me more aware of just how common certain crimes are and that no one is safe from them. No one ever wants to assume the worst, but I think that familiarizing yourself with certain dangers can help you prevent them.

If you’re someone who’s already cycled through every Netflix horror movie, like me, looking for something to set the tone this fall, "Crime Junkie" is your best bet.

Julia Montoya is a senior from Garden City studying English.