Virtually all activities in life entail some level of risk, and we all have different attitudes
toward risk. At one end of the scale is refusing to engage in an activity by exaggerating the level of risk involved. At the
other end is engaging in very risky activities while refusing to take any precautions. Neither of these attitudes are useful
for living an empowered life. What is useful is to accurately assess the risks, take those precautions that make sense, and
live as fully as possible. The following precautions should be adopted within a cultural/gender context. They will not guarantee
safety, but they will minimize criminal opportunities.
In Your Home Or Apartment
lights at all entrances.
good locks on all doors and windows.
not use your full name on your mailbox, in the telephone directory, or on your answering machine.
not leave a schedule of your times away from home on your answering machine.
which of your neighbors you can trust and depend upon in an emergency.
who is at the door before opening it, and do not open the door to an unexpected visitor.
hide extra keys in easily accessible places. Criminals will find them.
for photo identification of all repairpersons. If you are suspicious, call to verify employment.
give personal information to telephone solicitors.
creating a “safe room” with a separate telephone line or cellular phone, and strong locks. If someone breaks in,
you can retreat there and call for help.
not let strangers into your home or apartment to use the telephone. Offer to make the call for them.
security bars for added security on sliding exterior doors.
On The Street
hitchhike! It’s not worth the risk!
very careful using outside ATMs at night or in unfamiliar surroundings.
walking, walk in the middle of the sidewalk and walk facing oncoming traffic.
not to overload yourself with packages or other items. Keep your hands as free as possible.
not wear music headphones while walking or jogging.
not read while walking or standing on a sidewalk.
you wear a purse with a shoulder strap, be prepared to let it go if snatched. Otherwise you could be knocked down and hurt.
good suggestion for men is to carry a second wallet containing a few dollar bills and old expired credit cards, which are
normally destroyed or discarded. If confronted at knife or gunpoint, give the suspect the second wallet and concentrate on
a good physical description to help the police in making the arrest.
Avoid being on the street alone if you are upset or
under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
you carry a purse, carry it close to your body, preferably in front. Carry no more money or credit cards than you absolutely
In A Car
you approach your parked vehicle, visually check the area around the vehicle for any suspicious persons or activity. If you
observe anything suspicious walk to where there are other people and call the police.
park in visible, well-lighted areas.
you drive a car, attempt to avoid parking next to a larger pickup truck or van. The can be easy to hide behind.
your keys ready when approaching your vehicle to reduce the time needed to enter.
operating your vehicle, keep the doors locked and the windows rolled up.
valuables in your car should be placed in the trunk or otherwise kept out of sight.
stopped at traffic lights or in traffic, allow space between you and the vehicle in front of you so you can drive away if
necessary. If someone approaches your vehicle and attempts to enter, blow your horn to attract attention and drive away.
people consider a cellular telephone to be a good investment in safety.
not pick up hitchhikers!
not open your window if someone approaches your vehicle to ask for directions, the time, etc.
the door locked.
leave house keys attached to car keys at service stations or parking facilities.
not stop for a stranded motorist. Instead, go to the nearest telephone booth and call the police for assistance.
your vehicle becomes disabled and help is not immediately available, raise the hood of the vehicle (if you can safely do so),
attach a handkerchief to the door handle, and then stay in the vehicle with the doors locked and the windows up. Activate
your hazard or parking lights. If someone stops to assist you, ask him or her through the closed window to call the police.
sometimes stage a motor vehicle accident known as a “bump and rob.” The motorist is robbed when they exit their
vehicle. If you are involved in a minor accident under suspicious circumstances, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked
and the windows up and await the police. If you believe you are in possible danger, write down the license plate of the other
vehicle involved in the accident and drive to a safe location to report the accident to the police.
let your gas indicator fall below 1/4 full.
you are driving somewhere you are not familiar with, plan your route and check a map before you start out.
portable fire extinguisher.
cloth to tie to door handle or antenna to signal distress.
On Public Transportation
of overheard conversations. Don’t tell anyone on a bus or subway where you are going.
awake and alert.
exact change ready.
as close to the driver as possible.
you sense someone is following you when you get off, walk toward other people or to an open business.
In A Building
isolated corridors or hallways.
extra careful in stairwells and isolated or poorly lighted restrooms.
entering an elevator that is occupied by only one other person who is a stranger.
an elevator, stand near the controls and locate the emergency button.
you are assaulted while in an elevator, hit the emergency or alarm button and press as many floor buttons as possible.