Public Safety

Public Safety

Street Smart


It's a warm summer evening and you're walking home thinking about the great movie you just saw. You hear footsteps behind you and the street suddenly seems longer and darker. You tense, walk faster, but a hand grabs your shoulder and a voice demands you watch and wallet.

You cashed your paycheck and decided to brave the noon crowds and shop for your son's birthday party. Your juggling two shopping bags and worrying about all the things you have to do before the party. You feel someone shove you in a crowded store, one of your bags slips, and in two seconds your purse is gone.

The building is almost empty by the time you finish the report. You don't bother to call the Security officer to walk you to the parking lot even though it's getting dark. You're searching for your keys when a man with a knife grabs you and drags you into the car.


You can do a great deal to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. The most effective weapons against crime are:


1. Wherever you are, stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings. Don't daydream.

2. Communicate the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you're going. Stand tall, walk purposefully, and make quick eye contact with people around you.

3. Stick to well-lighted, busy streets. Stay on the part of the sidewalk that is farthest away from shrubs, dark doorways, and alleys where people can hide.

4. If you walk at night consistently vary your routes.

5. Walk with a companion, whenever possible.

6. If you work late, arrange to leave with a co-worker or accompanied by a security officer. Make sure your car is parked as close to the entrance as possible or move it to a safe spot in the late afternoon when people are leaving.

7. Keep your car locked and check the back seat and floor before getting in.

8. Don't overload yourself with packages and don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.

9. Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or other tempting targets such as jewelry or expensive clothing.

10. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps, and keep a firm grip on it./ Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front trouser pocket.

11. Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Find out what stores and restaurants are open late and the locations of police and fire stations. If you are in an unfamiliar neighborhood, take a few minutes to look around for stores, telephones, and street lights.

12. Have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.

13. If you think someone is following you, abruptly switch directions and walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted home. If you are really scared, scream for help.


1. Keep your car in good running condition and always have more than enough gas to get there and back.

2. Park in well-lighted areas that will still be well-lighted when you return, like under a street light.

3. If your car runs out of gas or breaks down, raise the hood and tie a white cloth to the door handle to alert passing police cars. Get back in the car and keep the doors and windows locked until the police arrive. If someone stops, ask him or her to phone the police for help. Use a banner that says "PLEASE CALL POLICE" on the front or rear window.

4. If you think someone is following you, don't head home. Keep your hand near the horn and drive to the nearest police or fire station, open gas station, or other business where you can safely get help.


1. Use well-lighted and busy stops.

2. Don't fall asleep. Stay alert.

3. If you are verbally harassed, say loudly and firmly "leave me alone." Attract help by talking loudly or screaming.

4. Watch who gets off the bus or subway with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.


1. Familiarize yourself with emergency buttons/phones of elevators you ride frequently.

2. Look in the elevator before getting in to be sure no one is hiding.

3. Stand near the controls.

4. Get off if someone suspicious enters. If you're worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and don't get on.

5. If you're attacked, hit the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.


1. Go with a friend if possible. There's safety in numbers.

2. Vary your route and schedule so there is not a distinct pattern. Be familiar with your routes and know places along the way - businesses, police and fire stations - where you could go for help.

3. Avoid isolated areas. Look for routes that are near populated areas or roadways.

4. If you must bike or jog at night, try to do it with a friend and wear reflective clothing.

5. Consider buying a whistle or shriek alarm.

6. Leave the headphones at home. You need to be alert to what's ahead - and behind you.


# Don't resist if the attacker is only after your property or has a weapon.

# If you do decide to resist, don't get scared, get mad! Shout "NO!," "STOP!" or "CALL THE POLICE" loudly and forcefully. Try to incapacitate or distract your assailant long enough so you can escape. A jab to the throat or eyes or swift kick to the knees may give you a few minutes to get away or attract help.

# Try to get an accurate description of the attacher: color of eyes and hair, type of clothing, height and weight, race, sex, any unusual features such as scars. If a vehicle is involved, get the license number, color, make/model if possible.

# Report an attack - a mugging, robbery attempted rape, purse snatching - to the police or sheriff's office IMMEDIATELY.

# Call a victim assistance service or rape crisis hotline to help you deal with the trauma that any assault causes.


Make your neighborhood and workplace safety by reporting broken street lights, leaning up parks and vacant lots and lobbying local government for better lighting in public places.

Volunteer to escort a friend or neighbor who must go to work at night.

Join a Neighborhood Watch group to look out for your neighbors and your neighborhood.

If you see a crime being committed, call the police immediately and stay with the victim until help arrives. Be supportive and offer to accompany the victim to the hospital or police station.

If a co-worker or friend has been a victim of crime, offer to help with things like babysitting, locating victim services and moral support in court.