Ultimately, if you’re a victim of crime, it’s only the criminal’s fault that something bad happened to you. However, these expert tips could give you more options if trouble ends up ruining your day or evening.
Although women feel more vulnerable when they’re out, it’s actually young men who are a higher risk of violence.
Keeping safe whilst walking
- Always try to walk facing on-coming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers (men who drive around looking for prostitutes).
- If you do get asked for sex by someone slowly driving their car alongside you, feel free to report the creep to the police – it’s illegal.
- If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road turning as you do to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, cross again. Keep moving. Make for a busy area and ask for help – for example from a shop keeper.
- If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction: you can turn much faster than a car.
- Avoid confrontation. Do not meet aggression with aggression, as this is likely to escalate the situation. Talk your way out of problems, stay calm, speak gently, slowly and clearly. Breathe out slowly to help you relax.
- If you are trapped or in danger, yell or scream. Your voice is your best defence. Shout, ‘Phone the police’ or other specific instructions which people can understand easily.
Using taxis safely
- Do not hail a minicab from the street or accept a lift from a minicab touting for trade: the driver could be anyone. Book a cab over the phone and when the cab arrives ask the driver his name and company. Ask what name he is expecting to collect.
- Always try to share a cab with a friend.
- If necessary walk to the nearest minicab office, keeping to well-lit streets and walking against the traffic and in sight of other people whenever possible.
- Always sit in the back of a cab and if you get chatting to the driver do not give away personal details.
- Trust your instincts – If you are at all worried, ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car. If the driver refuses to stop, use a mobile to call the police and alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving or calling out the window.
Safety on public transport
- Have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so that your wallet is out of sight.
- Always wait for the bus or train in a well-lit place near other people if possible and try to arrange for someone to meet you at the bus stop or station.
- Avoid empty carriages on trains. Always try to sit where there are lots of people. If you feel uneasy, move to another seat or carriage.
- If a bus is empty or it is after dark, stay on the lower deck as near as possible to the driver.
- If you feel threatened make as much noise as possible to attract the attention of the driver or guard.
Safety when drinking
‘Drink spiking’ doesn’t just mean date-rape drugs; if someone buys you double shots without telling you, you could easily end up out of control and vulnerable.
- Always watch your drink, or get your friend to watch it when you go to the loo;
- If someone offers to buy you a drink, watch them order it at the bar;
- If you start to feel weird (sick, dizzy, confused) find a friend and tell them.
Always carry in your pocket:
- A mobile, or at least some spare change to make a phone call.
- A couple of numbers for reputable cab firms in your area/ area you go out.
- If possible, carry a personal alarm and know how to use it to shock and disorientate an assailant so that you can get away.
Thanks to The Suzy Lamplugh Trust for providing information for this article.
Photo of girl with muscles by Shutterstock
Updated on 25-Sep-2012