Personal Safety

What characteristics make one individual more susceptible to criminal acts than another individual? While there is no clearly defined answer to this question, a review of individual incidents allowed law enforcement to identify certain behaviors that make someone more likely to be victimized than others. Just like predatory animals look for certain clues that may identify potential prey, criminals look for behavioral clues to identify those individuals who might be easy victims. By following the suggestions below, you might be able to minimize your risk of becoming a victim.

  • Avoid "tunnel vision" when out and about. Whether you are on the street, at the shopping mall, on a parking lot, at work, or just driving in your car stay alert to your surroundings. Don't walk blindly into a dangerous situation.
  • Walk confidently and at a steady pace and know where you are going.
  • Trust your instincts. If you are feeling uneasy about something or somebody avoid the situation or person. Cross the street or go another direction.
  • If you carry a purse, don't dangle it from your arm. Carry it securely between your arm and your body.
  • Try not to carry large amounts of cash. If you must, be very careful about others seeing it. Consider putting just enough cash in your wallet or billfold to pay for purchases and keeping the rest of it in another area.
  • Stick to well-traveled streets and avoid shortcuts through alleys, wooded areas, or parking lots.
  • Be aware of people hanging around ATM machines. Don't approach the machine if you feel uneasy. Try to use ATM machines in the daytime only.
  • Have your car key or house in hand before reaching the door.
  • If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house. If scared, scream for help.
  • There is safety in numbers. If you have to work late, make sure that there are others in the building. When leaving ask a co-worker or security guard to walk you to your car.
 The car itself can present unique challenges for maintaining personal safety. Here are a few tips to be safe when operating a motor vehicle.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert when parking in parking garages.
  • Never leave windows rolled down or doors unlocked, even when coming right back. Look around your car as you approach it, including underneath, and check inside your car before getting in.
  • Keep car doors locked at all times when driving.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If you think you are being followed, do not lead them to your home. Drive to a police
  • station or fire station or a business where there are other people present to get help.