Personal safety when you’re walking somewhere is incredibly important. Always plan your route and try to walk with a friend if possible. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind…
® Be aware of what is going on around you
® Keep to well-lit busy roads
® Try to avoid shortcuts through parks, alleyways or car parks
® Avoid wearing headphones as you won’t hear people approaching you
® Carry a torch for dark areas
® Walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic
® If you are walking across a parkland keep to main paths and open spaces where you can see and be seen
® Avoid wooded areas
It is a good idea to consider carrying a personal attack alarm, pepper spray or a small Taser; they are cheap and available from most stores. Carry it in your hand, so you can use it immediately.
If you think you are being followed, cross the street a few times to check. If you can, go into a shop or petrol station and stay there until you’re sure you’re safe. If you are really worried try find a busy place and call the police.
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 the vehicles details (number plate, colour, make) and call the police
® Never accept a lift from someone you don’t know well or don’t feel comfortable with
Be careful with your electronics – talking on your cell phone, listening to an iPod or carrying a laptop bag shows thieves that you have something to steal. It’s also a good idea to cover up expensive jewelry.
Watch out for pickpockets, especially in crowded places. Take the following precautions:
® Keep valuables out of sight and in your 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, hold it across your chest and keep your hand over the fastening
® If someone grabs your bag, let it go – your safety is more important
® Try to avoid using cash machines at night
® Only take your wallet out when you need it
If you take a regular route when you walk the dog, go for a jog or a bike ride, try and take different routes every few days. If someone has been watching or following you, this will make it harder for them to find and attack you.