When out and about

While out and about, help yourself to stay safe by reading the following advice:

  • Look self-confident and walk with purpose. Keep to main routes and avoid short cuts and unlit areas.
  • Wear shoulder bags with the flap facing you and the strap over both your arm and your head. Wearing the bag across your body like this is better than wearing the bag just over your shoulder.
  • Be aware of what's around you. Personal music players (MP3, iPods) and large hoods on coats can distract you.
  • Don't walk and talk. Using your mobile phone distracts you. It also makes you 'an easy target' for a thief - a mobile phone is stolen in half of all robberies and a mobile phone is the only thing that’s stolen in a third of all robberies.
  • Register your phone for free at Immobilise (opens new window) - this helps the police to recover your phone if it's stolen.
  • When out and about don’t advertise your valuable jewellery by having lots of it on display. The value of gold and other precious metals has increased so may be a target for criminals.
  • If you are carrying money, carry only what you need. Keep cheque and credit cards separate from cheque books.
  • Never carry your Personal Identification Number (PIN) codes.
  • Don't leave bags unattended.
  • Hide purses and wallets in an inside pocket.
  • Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them. This advice particularly applies to young people.

If you're being followed:

  • Cross the road - several times if necessary.
  • Walk to a busy place - like a shop, an office, or petrol station - or knock on someone's door.
  • Call a friend or family member to come and meet you or pick you up.
  • Only if you are confident enough and other people are around to hear you, consider turning and facing the suspect and shouting in an authoritative voice 'Are you following me?'
  • Read about the law on using 'reasonable force' to protect yourself.
  • If at any point you feel threatened or in danger, call 999 immediately.

If you’re being attacked:

  • If someone is trying to snatch your bag, let it go. You may get hurt holding on to it.
  • Try to get a description of the attacker and tell the police immediately - call 999. It is an emergency when: a crime is being committed, there is a risk of injury, or there is a risk of serious damage to property. In a non-emergency, call 101.
  • Shout and scream as loud as you can if you're being attacked, are threatened, or at risk of being attacked. This will alert people who may be able to help. It is also likely to cause the offender to run off.
  • Consider buying a personal attack alarm to help in this sort of situation. There are various types of personal attack alarms available. When an alarm is sounding, an attacker is unlikely to continue an attack. Contact your local crime prevention and reduction adviser for advice on buying a personal attack alarm.