Staying Safe on the Streets: Precautions Against Mugging & Sexual Assault

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Tips to protecting yourself from being a victim of mugging or sexual assault

IN THIS SECTION

 

General

Walking

Making It a Safer Community

Subway Safety

Home Safety

Avoid Theft and Mugging

 

GENERAL:

 

Measures you can take to protect yourself from falling victim to a mugging or sexual assault:

Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Criminals often target people who are distracted, such as looking down at your phone or listening to music.

Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a location or a person, leave immediately, go into a place or store you know is open, and don’t be afraid about calling the police.

Be wary of distractions. Sometimes one perpetrator diverts your attention while another picks your pocket or steals your belonging.

Always know your location. If you call 911, the operator must need to know your location (or the location of the incident).

Don’t be afraid to make a scene or yell.  Attackers often expect people to be silent and you can divert an attacker if they know you’ won’t be an easy target.

 

WALKING:

 

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Travel on populated, well lit streets that have open businesses. If you are not familiar with the neighborhood you are going, or it’s late at night (even if a short distance), consider taking a car service or taxi. (RightRides or can help).

If at all possible, travel with a friend. However, still stay alert, even with a buddy.

If you feel you are being followed, retreat to a store or other public area and call 911. If a motorist is bothering you, turn around and walk the opposite direction of the car.

Have the key to your residence ready in your hand as you approach your door.

Avoid talking to strangers.

Walk closer to the curb to avoid passing close to dark doorways and other places of concealment.

If you must use an iPod (avoid this), keep volume down low enough so you can hear your surroundings.

 

MAKING IT A SAFER COMMUNITY:

 

Invite your neighbors to sit on the stoop with you so there are more people present on your block.

 

SUBWAY SAFETY:

 

If possible, stay in the view of the token booth while awaiting your train. Never walk near the edge of the platform.

If you are taking the subway, look for the red or green lights outside the entrance. A red light means that you cannot enter the subway system at the location. Look for an entrance with a green light before going down the stairs.

 

HOME SAFETY:

 

If you live in an apartment building, don't buzz in someone who rings your bell until you have verified who they are. This will help protect both yourself and your neighbors.

Always lock your car. Before getting into your car check the back seat to make sure no one is hiding.

 

 

AVOIDING THEFT/MUGGING:

 

Take out your ear buds. Being in your "own world" with your attention diverted makes you an easy target.

Carry your purse close to your body. Place one end of the purse in the palm of your hand and the other in the bend of the elbow. Never carry a purse by the handle or wrap the strap around your body.

Carry only the amount of cash or number of credit cards necessary to make your purchases for the day.

Get off your phone and keep your cell phone out of sight when not in use. If they can see it they can grab it and run (or worse).

Don't pull out your phone if someone asks you the time. It's an easy way for a thief to get quick access (and a common practice).

Don't leave belongings such as bags and laptop computers unattended. (Don't ask others to watch your things for you, and don't walk away from a stroller with personal belongings on it.). We are a neighborhood of almost all nice people, but it only takes one to steal from you.

Keep your wallet on your person (breast pocket, front pocket or jacket insert) rather than in the top of the stroller or hanging on the back of the stroller. Don't keep your wallet in your back pocket.

When in a bar or restaurant, don't leave your handbag over the back of your chair, on a stool, or on the floor. Many places have hooks under the bar-- use them and make sure noone has access. Take your purse when you go to the bathroom; don't leave it unattended.

If you must place packages in your car, put them into the trunk and make sure the trunk is locked. The trunk lock should be protected by a cylinder guard plate. Never leave packages in the passenger compartment unattended.

If you are carrying a wallet, carry it in the breast pocket of your jacket or in your side pants pocket. The rear pants pocket is one of the easiest to pick.

Place items out of sight in the trunk of your vehicle prior to reaching your destination. Never leave packages on the passenger area of the vehicle.

Be wary of con artists. Con artists use a number of ploys to scam you and steal your property. Some divert your attention while another picks your pocket, some pose as utility workers or a tradesperson to gain access to your home, while others conduct scams that are more elaborate involving several con artists. As a consumer, you should also be wary of illegal vendors selling goods on the street. Purchase merchandise from only licensed vendors or reputable stores. Follow your instincts and remember, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is".

Record the numbers for each of the credit cards you own. This will facilitate reporting the theft or loss of the card.

 

FURTHER READING IN THE PSP SAFETY SECTION:

 

What to do if you witness or you are a victim of a crime