Crimes in public places are very rare, but many of us worry about them. The following tips will help you to feel and stay safe.
In the street
- plan your route before you go and stick to busy, well-lit areas
- spread your money and valuables around your body. For example, keep your keys in your coat pocket and your money in a closely carried bag
- keep valuables out of sight
- don't carry large sums of money. If your pension is paid straight into your bank or Post Office card account, you don't have to draw it all out in one go
- before you use a cash machine, check that no one's hovering behind you. Always safeguard your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Don't count your money in the middle of the street.
- if you use a wheelchair, keep your belongings beside you rather than hanging them on the back of the chair
- if you think you're being followed, keep moving and head for a busy area. Tell someone what's happening or call the police
- keep your handbag in sight all the time, not slung on your back like a rucksack
- shout loudly to get attention in an emergency
- consider carrying a personal alarm
- if someone tries to snatch your bag, it may be best to let them take it rather than trying to fight back.
On public transport
- try to wait for public transport in busy, well-lit areas
- you may feel safer if you sit near other people. If you are on the bus or train and there are not many people about, sit near the driver. Try to be near the bell or emergency alarm
- if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, move away.
- keep the number of a reliable, licensed taxi company handy. Find a company you trust and feel comfortable with and use it each time.
- book a taxi before you go out. When it arrives, check it's the one that you ordered before you get in. If you're in any doubt, ask the driver to tell you the name of the person who booked the taxi, but don't tell them your name.
- sit behind the driver on the back seat and if you feel uneasy, ask to be dropped off somewhere you know that is busy and well-lit.
When you're driving
- before setting off, plan your route and make sure that you have enough petrol. Tell someone where you're going and how long you expect the journey to take
- think about what you would do if you broke down. For example, do you carry a mobile phone to use in an emergency? If it's cold, it's a good idea to have a blanket and some warm clothes in case you have to wait for help to come
- try to park in busy, well-lit areas. If you park in the daylight, think about what the area will be like after dark
- when you're driving, keep valuables and personal possessions out of sight and doors locked. When you leave the car, make sure that you remove any valuables and lock the doors