Personal Safety

Personal Safety Recommendations

Virtually all activities in life entail some level of risk, and we all have different attitudes toward risk. At one end of the scale is refusing to engage in an activity by exaggerating the level of risk involved. At the other end is engaging in very risky activities while refusing to take any precautions. Neither of these attitudes are useful for living an empowered life. What is useful to accurately assess the risks, take those precautions that make sense, and live as fully as possible. The following precautions should be adopted within a cultural/gender context. They will not guarantee safety, but they will minimize criminal opportunities.

On the street:

  • Never hitchhike! It's not worth the risk.
  • Be very careful using outside ATMs at night or in unfamiliar surroundings
  • When walking, walk in the middle of the sidewalk and walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • Try not to overload yourself with packages or other items. Keep your hands as free as possible.
  • Do not wear music headphones while walking or jogging.
  • Do not read while walking to standing on a sidewalk.
  • If you wear a purse with a shoulder strap, be prepared to let it go if it is snatched. Otherwise you could be knocked down and hurt.
  • Carry a second wallet containing a few dollar bills and old expired credit card, which are normally destroyed or discarded. If confronted at knife or gun point, give the suspect the second wallet and concentrate on a good physical description to help police in making the arrest.
  • Avoid being on the street alone if you are upset or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If you carry a purse, carry it close to your body, preferably in front carry no more money or credit cards than you absolutely need.
  • Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.
  • When you approach your parked vehicle, visually check the area around the vehicle for any suspicious persons or activity. If you observe anything suspicious walk to where there are people and call the police.
  • Always park in visible, well-lighted areas.
  • If you drive a car attempt to avoid parking next to a larger pickup or van. They can be easy to hide behind.
  • To reduce the time to enter you car, have your keys ready.
  • When operating your vehicle, keep doors locked and windows up.
  • Keep valuables in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Use extra caution in underground parking or parking garages, and try not to go alone.
  • When stopped at lights or in traffic, allow space between you and the vehicle in front of you so you can make an exit if needed.
  • If someone approaches your vehicle and tries to enter blow your horn to attract attention.
  • A cell phone is a good investment in safety.