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Street robbery and personal safety

Stay safe on the streets

Violent crimes committed by strangers in public places account for a very low proportion of recorded crime, but nevertheless there are still measures that will dramatically reduce these crimes even further.

Most people already take simple precautions as part of their everyday lives, without realising it. Staying safe is all about anticipating potential problems by listening and being aware of what and who's around you, and knowing what action to take to stay out of danger.

Don't be frightened to trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, take action to avoid it:

  • prepare - think about how you're going to get there and back and remember to tell someone where you're going, who you're going with and when you expect to return
  • look confident - remember your body language - stand tall and look like you know where you're going
  • carry a personal safety alarm and learn how to use it.
  • carry emergency phone numbers (including the numbers to cancel your credit cards), some change, a phone card and your keys in a safe pocket
  • avoid risks and be aware - keep looking and listening to what's happening around you.
  • try not to change plans at the last minute, but if you have to, tell someone
  • never take safety for granted - don't say to yourself "it only happens to other people," "it's only a short journey" or "they look honest"
  • trust your instincts - if you feel that something is wrong, it makes sense to avoid it
  • avoid short cuts through dark places - keep away from odd and out-of-the-way places whenever you can
  • cross the road if you see people you don't feel comfortable about and be aware of who's around you when you're out and about
  • walk in the middle of the pavement facing the traffic, so that cars can't follow you
  • mobile phones, MP3 players and laptops are attractive to thieves, so be careful where you use them and be aware of what's happening around you if you are using them
  • cover up expensive looking jewellery and wear your bag across your body, so that it opens on the side facing you
  • in winter, wear your coat over your bag to hide it - you're any easy target if you leave your bag facing backwards over your shoulder or carry it over one shoulder
  • if you use a wheelchair or motorised scooter, keep your handbag in front of you, rather than hanging it on the back of the chair where thieves can steal it
  • if somebody does try to take your bag, let it go and don't fight to keep it - you're less likely to be hurt