Help & advice Personal safety Safety on the street Plan ahead. Before you go out, think about how you are going to get home, e.g. Can you travel home with a friend? What time does the last bus/train leave? Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly-lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks. Walk down the middle of the pavement if the street is deserted. If you do have to pass higher risk areas, think about what you would do if you felt threatened. Consider heading for a public place; somewhere you know there will be other people, for example a garage or shop. If you are at all worried, try and stay near a group of people. Try to keep both hands free and don’t walk with your hands in your pockets. Try to use well-lit, busy streets and use the route you know best. Whenever possible, walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers. If you do have to walk in the same direction as the traffic and a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk or run in the other direction. Keep your mind on your surroundings – remember if you are chatting on your mobile phone or wearing a personal stereo, you will not hear trouble approaching. Be extra careful when using cashpoint machines. Make sure nobody is hovering nearby and don’t count your money in the middle of the street. If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road, turning to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area and tell people what is happening. If necessary, call the police. Beware of someone who warns you of the danger of walking alone and then offers to accompany you. This is a ploy some attackers have been known to use. Never accept a lift from a stranger or someone you don’t know very well, even if you are wet, tired or running late. Try not to keep all your valuables in one place. It’s a good idea to keep valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket. Consider carrying a personal safety alarm, which can be used to shock and disorientate an attacker giving you vital seconds to get away.