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Personal Safety: How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of an Assault

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In your car

  • If at all possible, carry a cell phone with you in the car.
  • When entering or exiting your car, always lock all doors.
  • Before entering your car, look inside and have your keys in your hand and ready to unlock the door.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If a stranger offers help, do not get out of your car. Roll down the window far enough so you can ask the person to call for assistance.
  • Drive with all your doors locked.
  • Do not stop to help a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest phone booth and call for assistance.
  • If you suspect you're being followed, drive to the nearest gas station, police station, or fire station and blow your horn. Try to get the car's license plate number and description.
  • At night, always park in well lighted areas. Be alert and careful when using parking garages.
  • When your vehicle is parked, don't leave anything of value in plain sight. Remove items by taking them in your house or putting them into the locked trunk. Purses, brief cases, money, packages, cell phones, etc, make it enticing for a person looking to break into a car.

On the street

  • Avoid walking, jogging, or biking alone at night unless absolutely necessary.
  • Plan the safest route to your destination. Choose well lighted busy streets and avoid short cuts through parks, vacant lots or unlit areas.
  • Vary your route and schedule.
  • Always walk near the curb and away from alleyways and doorways.
  • Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching vehicles.
  • Consider not wearing headphones while out walking or jogging. You cannot hear what is going on around you.
  • If you suspect you're being followed by someone on foot, cross the street and head for the nearest well lighted, populated area. Walk quickly or run to a house or store to call police.
  • If you need to attract attention, scream "fire!"
  • Do not use automated teller machines (ATM's) at night. Use them during the day. Have your card ready and scan the surrounding area before approaching the machine.
  • Do not overburden yourself with packages or a bulky purse.
  • Always remain alert to your surroundings and walk with purpose, making quick eye contact with everyone you pass.