Keeping yourself safe
You can help remove the opportunity of becoming a victim of crime by taking a few sensible precautions.
Many are common sense and may be things that you already do. Making yourself safer doesn't mean changing your entire lifestyle, personality or wardrobe and it doesn't mean never going out at all.
Some general points
- Know where you are going and the best way to get there. Let people know where you are going, your expected arrival, duration and departure times
- Stick to busy, well-lit streets whenever possible. Take the safest route, not necessarily the shortest
- Try to look and act confident – look like you know where you are going, be aware of your surroundings and who is around you! This will make you appear in control and less vulnerable.
- When meeting someone alone, place yourself between the other person and the door to give yourself an exit route if needed
- Be alert and listen to your instincts
- Be extra careful when using cash machines - make sure no one is loitering too close, do not let anyone distract you as you remove your card and cash from the machine and do not count your money in the middle of the street
- You might like to spread your valuables around your body. For example, keep your phone in your bag, your house keys in your trouser pocket and your money in your jacket
- If you feel threatened, head for a safe place where there are lots of people, such as a pub, shop,garage etc. Do not become involved in confrontational situations. If, for example, your ‘gut’ feeling is telling you not to enter a property listen to yourself and act with your safety in mind
- If someone grabs your belongings,let them go. Your safety is more important than your possessions.
- If you use a wheelchair, keep your things beside you rather than at the back of the chair.
- Try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you are carrying. Talking on your mobile phone, carrying a laptop, or showing your friend your new gold ring all show thieves that you are worth robbing.
- When out walking or jogging, you should not listen to a personal stereo through headphones, so you can stay more alert to your surroundings.
Below are a few helpful points to consider to reduce risk. Your company will have its own policies and guidance specific to your workplace which you should make yourself aware of.
- Be in control of your work environment
- Be confident but not confrontational. Make eye contact and politely engage with customers/clients as they enter your premises
- Trust your instincts
- If you have to deal with confrontation be polite, don’t raise your voice and use your own communication skills early on to defuse a difficult situation. Your volume, tone, and body language are key elements to consider
- Never underestimate a potential threat
- If you feel uneasy, start to act. Create some distance between you and the individual. Try not to enter the aggressor’s personal space. They may see this as a threat
- Map out a pre-planned second escape route
- If you have to leave, ensure you have means to communicate with others to get help. An example may be to explain that you will get someone else to help them and escape to a safe room
- Familiarise yourself with your building layout
- Security Measures -Is there an effective CCTV system in place covering your premises? An emergency alarm, two-way radio or mobile phone should be carried at all time so you can summon help; ensure it is tested regularly. Do people know how to respond? Your business community working together can reduce the risk.
- Keep your car in good condition and try not to run out of petrol.
- Keep doors locked when driving and keep bags, phones and other valuables out of sight, preferably in the boot.
- Try to park in well-lit or busy areas.
- If you park during the day, think about what the area will feel like after dark.
- Some car parks have 'Secured car park' accreditation.
- Find out which ones do locally and try to use them – look out for the 'Secured car park' sign.
- If you break down on the motorway, follow the arrows to the nearest phone.
- Do not cross the carriageway.
- Wait outside your car (as far away as possible from the carriageway) unless you feel threatened, in which case you should sit in the passenger seat.
- Do not give lifts to or accept lifts with people you do not know, or do not know well.
- Do not drive if you have been drinking or taking drugs, and do not accept a lift from someone who has.
- You may feel more comfortable carrying a mobile phone with you. Try to keep it out of sight, and do not use it while driving.
Advice for Students
- Never leave your bag, mobile phone, tablet or laptop unattended in public view, even for a few moments e.g. while you pop to the toilet
- Avoid talking on your mobile phone or listening to music on headphones whilst walking home at night. Try not to walk home alone. Be aware of what’s going on around you and keep to well-lit, busy areas
- Be aware: local thieves actively target students, so lock doors and windows when leaving the property
- Thieves target students in crowded places, so keep bags securely fastened and out of view
- Mark your belongings with a UV pen or other marking system and register your valuables on one of the commercially available asset registers (for example http://www.immobilise.com
- Protect your mobile phone by:
- Being careful when using it outside train and bus stations as these are popular venues for snatch theft, often by motor cycle
- Not advertising it to thieves by keeping it hidden from view (NOT in your back pocket), and keeping public conversations short
- Keeping a note of your personal IMEI number (type *#06# into your phone) so that if your phone is stolen, you can block it from being used
- Using a security code or PIN
- Downloading a phone tracking application and register it on http://www.immobilise.com
- Be alcohol aware and drink responsibly
If your phone is stolen, report your number to your network and the police – the handset can now be barred on all networks and will be useless to thieves.
Register your phone with your network operator. Record your registration number (IMEI) and your phone number. Keep these in a safe place separate from your phone. You can get your IMEI number (15-digit serial number) by keying *#06# into most phones or by looking behind your phone battery.
Report the number of your stolen phone to your network operator and the police as quickly as you can. It can now be cancelled immediately like a stolen credit card. Stay alert – your phone is a valuable item. When you are out, be aware of your surroundings and don't use your phone in crowded areas or where you might feel unsafe.