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Do not wear earphones while walking alone: crime expert

Lee Soo-jung, a criminal psychology professor at Kyonggi University, appeared on “Radio Star,” MBC TV‘s weekday late night talk show, on Wednesday. (MBC)
Lee Soo-jung, a criminal psychology professor at Kyonggi University, appeared on “Radio Star,” MBC TV‘s weekday late night talk show, on Wednesday. (MBC)


Wearing earphones while walking alone at night could make you a target for crime, warned a leading Korean crime expert. 

“It’s important to be alert at all times. I never park my car in dark areas and wear earphones in alleys,” said Lee Soo-jung, a criminal psychology professor at Kyonggi University, during an episode of MBC TV’s “Radio Star” that aired on Wednesday. “Always be aware of your surroundings.”

Lee’s advice against the use of earphones echoes the official guideline of the National Policy Agency to prevent sexual violence crimes which states that a device’ noise canceling function could make it more difficult for users to detect and react to a danger approaching. 

It is not just for crime prevention. Pedestrians using earphones are at a greater risk of injury and fatality from road accidents, other experts say. If a person needs to listen to something while walking, it would be better to have just one earphone in, they say. 

In an era of ubiquitous mobile connections, the use of earphones has become more popular. Wireless earphones accounted for more than 70 percent of domestic shipments of wearable devices, which totaled 12.76 million units in 2020, according to the data from market researcher IDC Korea. 

A local media outlet said there have been crimes targeting woman walking alone at night with their earphones in. In 2013, a 23-year-old man living in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, was caught by the police after chasing after three women in a narrow alley at night and sexually molesting them. All of the victims had earphones on, and that was why the man chose them as his targets, he was quoted as telling the police. 

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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