There are many simple things that we can do to protect ourselves, and also discourage others who commit crimes. The following are tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of a crime when you are walking, going to and from work, or when you are in other public places.
- The likelihood of being a victim of a robbery increases if you appear to be unaware of what’s going on around you. Learn to be aware and recognize risk in your surroundings (such risks may include people loitering, burnt out street lights, a parked idling vehicle, etc). Increase your personal awareness everywhere.
- Plan the safest route to your destination prior to leaving; Stay on busier, well-lit streets and stay on the centre of the sidewalk; Avoid dark or concealed areas and structures; Cross the road if necessary; Walk facing traffic to prevent being approached from behind.
- Do not carry valuables in a visible manner; When carrying a purse, secure it under an arm or jacket; Don't overload yourself with parcels which can block your view or reduce your mobility.
- Remain alert. Digging in a purse, wearing headphones or struggling with a heavy briefcase reduces your ability to be prepared.
- Walk with a companion if you feel that being alone may put you at risk.
- Walk with a purpose. Keep your head up, look around and directly at people to assess them.
- Have your keys ready. As you approach your car or door, have the right key positioned to open the lock immediately. Continue to monitor your surroundings.
- Avoid using ATM’s before or after business hours. Ensure that your money is secure prior to leaving the ATM.
- When using public transit, arrive at the stop just before the bus is due. Do not remain in the bus shelter if you feel suspicious of anyone.
- Trust your feelings when you feel something is not right. If you feel uneasy, go to the nearest public place such as a store or restaurant, or go to a payphone for assistance (calling 911 is free).
- Report any suspicious incidents to police or crime stoppers.