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Panic Room

By Ali Trachta in Miscellaneous on Mar 7, 2008 4:52PM


Late last year one of Belmont Avenue’s staple boutique shops, Tragically Hip, moved down the block. (Relax! It’s not gone!) Instead of being replaced with yet another trendy clothing store, we were surprised to see an entirely new idea move in. The space is now home to 20 Seconds, a store devoted to selling all the self-defense and survival gear any rape-fearing urbanite could possibly need.

And it’s not just pepper spray. As detailed in their mission statement, 20 Seconds aims to equip citizens with both the supplies they need to stay safe as well as the knowledge necessary to deter danger. The store currently offers consulting services to businesses looking to increase security, and is working towards creating various self-defense and safety workshops.

On one hand, this store could be a Godsend. Considering the rate of violent attacks and sexual assaults that take place throughout the city every year, one could argue that 20 Seconds is long overdue, and a necessary means of empowering our citizens.

But as we mulled around the store suddenly feeling like we needed every alarm system and cell phone flashlight they had, we couldn’t help but wonder - is this place just peddling panic? Considering this store posts a running list of every crime that’s occurred nearby in recent months in their front window, perhaps it’s just fueling the fire of fear. Logic tells us no one could possibly be prepared for every dangerous situation that might come their way, so why try? And does anyone really need an attack whistle/compass? You be the judge.

20 Seconds is located at 852 W. Belmont.