Be prepared and be aware
It is important to be prepared when entering unfamiliar places or scenarios. Put the phone down, don’t get distracted by your headphones and watch where you’re walking and who is around you. You will be much more apt to detect a situation that is dangerous.
Respond appropriately to strangers
Some things to watch out for: strangers asking for money or personal information or suggesting you go to a different location with them.
Every adult has the right to say no to ideas and situations that feel unsafe. If you are receiving poor treatment from a stranger, you can walk away or get help from a community member. Don’t be afraid to be direct and even rude if you need to.
There is an appropriate amount of personal space that should be maintained between you and others while out in the community. This applies to both you and others around you. Just like you would not want someone to get too close to you, you should also avoid getting too close to them. If someone does get too close to you and begins to make you uncomfortable, you have a right to move and/or ask the person to leave you alone.
How we respond to stress can determine the outcomes of challenging situations. It is a good idea to learn and practice how to stay calm in situations where you feel confronted or harassed. Techniques such as deep breathing as well as an awareness of your rights are examples of ways you can feel empowered and be better able to take appropriate action.
- Do not carry more than $25.00 of cash at any given time unless it is for a specific purpose.
- Keep smaller bills available.
- Keep money in a wallet/purse or money clip, not just in your pocket.
- Be aware when taking out your money (do not make a public showing of how much cash you have).
- Do not share a debit pin number or credit card number with anyone.
- If using an ATM, try to do so during daylight hours.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM (if people are standing around the ATM machine, wait until they leave to make withdrawal).
- Your money is your own. You should never feel pressured to lend or give money to others, whether they are familiar people or strangers.
- Park in a secure area.
- Keep car doors locked.
- Take a look around the parking lot before unlocking doors and exiting or entering your vehicle.
- Communicate your whereabouts with trusted family and friends.
- Keep valuables out of sight and locked up.
Awareness in public
- Be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers.
- Avoid going alone to areas that are unfamiliar to you.
- Travel in groups if possible or walk with the crowd.
- Avoid gawking/staring at other people.
- Stay in well-lit areas.
- Do not wander off well-traveled streets or paths (alleys, deserted side streets).
- Carry a cell phone with emergency numbers programmed.
- Do not use your phone (texting, watching videos, etc) while walking in parking lots or crossing the street.
- Avoid unsolicited offers for help (requests for money or assistance from people on the street).
- Be aware of your conversations—speaking in a loud voice or about controversial topics in a public place (on a bus, metro, etc.) can aggravate people around you and make you a target.