Walking with confidence
Plan your route and try to walk with a friend if possible. At night keep to well-lit busy roads and thoroughfares where you can.
Try to avoid short cuts through parks, alleyways or car parks.
• Be aware of what is going on around you.
• Avoid wearing headphones as they will make it harder to hear people approaching you, and may also indicate that you have something (music player) worth attempting to steal.
• Carry a torch for dark areas.
• Walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic.
• If you are walking across a common or parkland keep to the main paths and open spaces where you can see and be seen.
• Avoid wooded areas.
Consider carrying a personal attack alarm; they are cheap and available from many DIY stores. Carry it in your hand, not your bag or pocket, so that if needed you can use it immediately.
If you think you’re being followed, cross the street, perhaps several times, to check. If you can, go into a shop and stay there until you’re sure you’re safe.
If you are really worried, find a busy place and call police. Remember that people may be intimidated if you walk close behind them.
If a vehicle driver stops and speaks to you:
• Keep your distance from the vehicle.
• If you feel threatened, move away quickly in the opposite direction from the way the car is facing.
• If you can, try to remember vehicle details (number plate, make, colour) and call the police.
Never accept a lift from someone you don’t know well or don’t feel comfortable with.
Be careful with electronics - talking on a mobile phone, listening to an MP3 player or carrying a laptop bag shows thieves that you have something to steal. It’s also a good idea to cover up expensive jewellery.
Watch out for pickpockets, particularly in crowded places. Take the following precautions:
• Keep valuables out of sight and in front trouser pockets if possible.
• Don’t carry important documents or credit cards that you do not need.
• Consider using a purse chain.
• If you’re carrying a bag, try to have it across your chest and keep your hand over the fastening.
• If someone grabs your bag, let it go - your safety is more important than your property.
• Try to avoid using cash machines at night.
• Only take your wallet out when you need to.
If you take a regular route walking the dog, jogging or cycling, try to make variations and go at different times.
Buses and trains
On buses, try and avoid isolated stops. If you want to feel safer, sit on the lower bus deck near the driver. On trains or tubes, sit in a busy carriage.
If you are arriving at night, try and arrange to be met by someone at your destination. Use main escalators and walkways where there is CCTV.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust is the national charity for personal safety. It provides advice on minimising risk.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust
London WC2R 1AT
Tel: 020 7091 0014
Community Legal Advice offers free, confidential and independent legal advice for residents of England and Wales.
Tel: 0845 345 4 345
Registered Charity Eng. No:1066686
Keep your eye on your drinks so that you know nothing has been added to them - be wary of accepting drinks from people you do not know unless you have seen the drink poured at the bar and are certain it could not have been spiked.
For long journeys, make sure your vehicle is in good condition and properly equipped with enough fuel, oil and screen wash as well as anything extra you may need for particular weather conditions. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a charged mobile phone with you and, if possible, an in-car charger (you can buy phone chargers that fit into the cigarette lighter socket).
Always use a reputable mini-cab or private hire car firm and book at their office or by phone. Remember that only licensed ‘Hackney Carriages’ are allowed to pick people up in the street without making a booking first. Private hire firms must be pre booked.
Isle of Wight Neighbourhood Watch Association wishes to thank
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust for the use of these articles.
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