Some back story is necessary here: I live in Kampala, Uganda. Despite being E. Africa it actually has a reputation for being fairly safe. People walk on streets at night, in well lit areas with very few problems. There is good social control and if someone steals your purse or harasses you, generally you can yell and scream and some shop owner will pop out and tackle them. One time a police officer was just nearby when a man tried to snatch my purse, and I had to ask the officer to stop beating him. Thieves caught in the act are a big deal here.
So one night my boyfriend and I are having some drinks at a nearby bar. We decide that it's a beautiful evening and to take the 15 minute walk home. Everything is normal and fine until we turn onto a main street near our home. Now, this being Uganda, the norm is for there to be a main paved street and then the dirt side roads. The side roads are where most homes, including ours, was --we've since moved to a main road. Dirt roads are not well lit, but we hadn't heard of any crimes at all in the neighbourhood (and word spreads fast here) so we felt reasonably safe.
As we are nearing our turn off from the main road a boda man drives by (bodas are basically motorcycle taxis) and he says, '"Careful it's...." and then as he is driving away, we miss what he's saying. As we get closer we see a mob of bodas come up about 100 ft behind us and we can clearly hear the word 'police' more than once. They quickly zoom off.
I'm fucking freaked out. My boyfriend has spent more time around these parts, and seemed fairly blasé. He had gotten too comfortable. He seemed completely unworried walking and joking and sometimes stopping to hug me. I'm in full fucking nope mood and pushing him off me and walking quickly to where our compound is. My safety trumps his feelings. We had a guard there and I knew I'd feel safe inside the gates.
Shit is dead quiet on these side roads (rare) and alarms are going off in my head. We get to the fence, I already have my keys out (oblivious boyfriend is still digging for his) and get inside as quickly as possible.
Turns out, one of our neighbours and friends, Lawrence, had been out walking around the same exact time and was horribly beaten by two men. His neck was so swollen it looked like he had a goiter and he had cuts and scrapes all over him. They even tried to cut off his leg with a machete. Luckily they came down on his leg with the wrong side of the weapon and caused fairly shallow cut. These events caused a huge stir in the area because these crimes were actually extremely rare in the area.
Lawrence heals. Meanwhile these crimes continue. One Ugandan girl gets beaten to a bloody pulp in front of a primary school. Multiple sightings show they are 2 guys on unregistered bodas. They go around with pangas robbing anyone and everyone. White, Ugandan, Indian, they don't care. One of my friend gets held up by the 2 men...they just stole her bag. Another friend wasn't so lucky and she was sexually assaulted. Another boda drive was also attacked, but the only thing we found of him was some blood and pieces of his motorcycle. Fucking awful shit.
These crimes are still happening in my area and the police are doing jack shit. Hard to make the police do anything here. But the other night I was home alone as my boyfriend was on a business trip. We moved to a more well lit area on a main road and hadn't gotten a guard yet. Just two amazing dogs.
Around 2am he wakes me up calling to say goodnight. As we're chatting I hear some bodas pull up to my (now) guard-less gate. I get off the phone and get very quiet, turning off everything in my house. My 2 dogs start going crazy. The girl dog is a barker when stray dogs go by our gate, but she is growling and absolutely losing her shit. I'd never heard her like that before. I grab my own machete and thank god every window in my house has bars on it. I position myself at a vantage point and wait.
Besides the dog, nothing was moving. Then I see my dogs go tearing off across the compound. A few moments later I hear the bodas rev back up and drive away down the street. I stayed up until it was light that night. Nothing has happened lately, but I do love my fucking guard dogs. Also my new guard.
TL;DR: I live in a now-dangerous area of the city and I think my 2 dogs saved my ass.