With all of these stories about the guy in the white van driving around abducting women from downtown, and especially this recent story, I felt it prudent to remind anyone who reads this to take my recent advice to heart, and make sure you remind all of your female friends about it as well.
For the love of God, stay with your friends! If you DO get seperated - and it happens all the fucking time downtown when you're consuming way too much alcohol - then call your friends before you go out on an impromptu search for them in other bars. Text message them. Stay put. Stop drinking. Call other friends who aren't drinking to come get you.
If you find yourself being harassed by guys downtown, or you find yourself being followed or feeling threatened in any way, please find a police officer. Be aware of your surroundings. Call 911. With all of these girls as victims in Athens, I guarantee a quick call to 911 will have half of the fucking Athens-Clarke County Police Department at your side in less than a minute.
And again, bar employees are your friend, too. We can help you and get you to a safe place as well. Don't be afraid to ask.
Taking cabs home is still the safe thing to do, regardless of recent events. Just make sure you check that the van or car actually has printed on the actual car body that it's a cab, and not just an unmarked vehicle. On busy nights, random people decide to make some extra cash and cart people around town. Even I've been approached while walking to my car at the end of a busy game night by people in unmarked vans asking if I need a ride home. I've always declined, of course.
Legitimate cabs are safe, just make sure they're legitimate.
Please be safe, stay with your friends at all times, and make intelligent decisions, as best as you can, while you're drinking away your weekly grocery money your parents gave you.