The most important tool in crime prevention is your mind. When used effectively and coupled with a confidant attitude and keen awareness, you can avoid dangerous confrontations with potential assailants, decreasing your chances of becoming a victim.

Make it a habit to protect yourself from harm by using common sense, security devices and a few safety practices. But remember, even the most expensive security devices will not keep you safe if you do not use them.

The following tips are guides to follow to protect yourself in public spaces:

Protecting Yourself

  • Stay Alert: Be conscious of what, or who, is around you.
  • Be Confident: Don't send out unconscious signals of vulnerability. Avoid the look of being alone, unaware of surroundings, confused or lost. If in an unfamiliar location, avoid using or speaking on a cell phone.
  • Look people directly in the eyes: know basic self-defense moves and always have a plan of escape.
  • Trust Your Instincts: Use your intuition. If something does not feel right, remove yourself from the situation immediately.
  • Know the Neighborhood: Use well-traveled routes and be cautious of strangers in the area.

On Foot

  • Don't Take Short Cuts: Stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area.
  • Don't Walk Alone: Walk with spouse, friend or group.
  • Don't Flash Cash: Keep money hidden; carry your purse close to your body.
  • Automated Teller Machines: Avoid using at night where lighting and visibility to others is poor. Be cautious of other persons approaching you at the ATM.
  • Be Prepared: Wear comfortable clothing when walking and always have an escape plan.

In The Car 

  • Fill the Tank: Keep your car in good running condition and keep your tank full when traveling to unfamiliar areas.
  • Lock the Doors: Keep windows up and doors locked when traveling in heavily congested areas with lots of foot and vehicle traffic.
  • Park in the Light: Always park in a well-lit parking area near a streetlight.
  • Be Cautious: If followed, don't go directly home or to an isolated area. Go directly to a police station or well-lit, congested store and seek help. Never pick up hitchhikers.

Public Transportation

  • Be Attentive: Stay alert while on buses, trains, subways, etc.
  • Pick Your Spot: Aisle seat is preferable just in case someone is bothering you, you will be able to leave more easily.
  • Don't be Ashamed: Tell the person to leave you alone if they are bothering you and be loud enough so that others can hear and be alerted to your situation.
  • In Taxis: Use well-known company; wait inside.

If You Are Attacked

  • Don't Panic: Take control of yourself and the situation.
  • Don't Resist: Give up your property. It is not worth your life!
  • Distract: Try to distract or confuse assailant; scream, run, etc.
  • If There is a Weapon: Remain calm, be cooperative and negotiate.