The chance that you or a member of your family will be a victim of violent crime is low. Violent crimes are still rare and account for a very small part of recorded crime. But some people are still frightened that they, or someone close to them, will be the victim of a violent attack. You can be prepared for such incidents and consider a number of personal safety tips:
Invisible Alert App
Invisible Alert is an application available on smart phones. It can send an alert to a pre-programmed contact with a message alerting them you need assistance. It sends a GPS location to their phone with your current position.
The app also has an audible alert feature that can be used if you feel your safety is under threat. This can deter any potential attacker and the app is suitable for anyone. It is ideal for young people on a night out or commuters on their way home and can be a great reassurance for loved ones knowing they can be contacted if needed.
Personal safety at work
- Contact community safety on 01296 585061 for a free personal safety alarm
- Make sure someone at your office knows where you are and that you have arrived safely and returned home safely
- Have a plan and think of what you will do; can you get to your car safely and swiftly? Is there somewhere populated such as a pub you can go to? Do you have an alarm you can sound?
- If you don't feel safe leaving work and walking to your car, ask a colleague to walk with you
- Don't complete paperwork in your car. Get back to the office or your home to do so
Staying safe when you're out and about
If you often walk home in the dark, get a personal attack alarm from a DIY store or ask your local community safety team or crime prevention officer for a free one. Carry it in your hand so you can use it immediately to scare off an attacker. Make sure it is designed to continue sounding if it’s dropped or falls to the ground.
- Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards.
- Carry your house keys in your pocket.
- If someone grabs your bag, let it go. If you hang on, you could get hurt. Remember your safety is more important than your property.
- If you think someone is following you, check by crossing the street – more than once if necessary – to see if they follow. If you are still worried, get to the nearest place where there are other people – a pub or anywhere with a lot of lights on – and call the police.
- Avoid using an enclosed phonebox in the street, as the attacker could trap you inside.
- If you regularly go jogging or cycling, try to vary your route and time. Stick to well-lit roads with pavements. On commons and parklands, keep to main paths and open spaces where you can see and be seen by other people – avoid wooded areas. If you wear a personal stereo, remember you can’t hear traffic, or somebody approaching behind you.
- Don’t take short-cuts through dark alleys, parks or across waste ground. Walk facing the traffic so a car cannot pull up behind you unnoticed.
- If a car stops and you are threatened, scream and shout, and set off your personal attack alarm if you have one. Get away as quickly as you can. This will gain you vital seconds and make it more difficult for the car driver to follow. If you can, make a mental note of the number and description of the car. Write down details as soon as possible afterwards.
- Don’t hitch-hike or take lifts from strangers.
- Cover up expensive looking jewellery.
- Self-defence and safety awareness classes may help you feel more secure. Ask your local police or your work if they have classes.
- Only use licensed taxis. Ensure the driver is wearing their driver’s badge and make sure that the vehicle displays a white plate at the rear of the vehicle. For more information on what taxi you should use, including what the red, yellow, and white plates mean follow the link at the foot of the page to the taxi and minicab section.
- When booking a private hire vehicle pre book and agree the fair when booking. Make sure you’re entering the correct vehicle and confirm the booking with the driver who should be wearing a badge. If you have any doubt that the taxi is legitimate, make an excuse and don’t get in to the vehicle.
What men can do:
Men can help by taking the issue of women’s safety seriously in their everyday lives. Bear these points in mind:
- If you are walking in the same direction as a woman on her own, don’t walk behind her – this may worry her. Cross the road and walk on the other side. This may reassure her that you are not following her.
- Don’t sit too close to a woman on her own in a railway carriage or bus.
- If you are thinking of chatting to a woman waiting, for example, at a lonely bus stop, remember that she won’t know you mean no harm.
- Realise how threatening actions such as staring, whistling, passing comments and jostling can be, particularly when you are one of a group of men.
- Help female friends or family members by giving them a lift or walking them home when you can. If you do, make sure they are safely indoors before you leave.
For more advice on personal safety see the Suzy Lamplugh Trust website.
For advice on safety in taxis and minicabs see this link.