Everyone is entitled to enjoy public places without fear for their personal safety.
The reality, however, is that our streets are not always safe, so it pays to be street smart to stay safe. A little information, awareness and planning can be a big help.
If you’re heading out, especially at night, take a little time to plan.
- What will you take with you? If you’re taking something valuable, keep it hidden. Keep expensive jewellery covered up.
- Make sure you take your cellphone, and make sure it’s fully charged before you leave.
- Tell family, friends or flatmates where you’re going, when you expect to get home and whether you’re going to stay over somewhere for the night (if you are going to stay out, call them and let them know).
- Take your ID, some cash or an eftpos card so you don’t find yourself at a parking building with no money, or at a bus stop or taxi stand without the fare.
- Work out how you’re getting home – if it’s public transport, when do the buses and trains stop running?
- If you’re driving with mates and want to drink, work out who’s going to drive home so that person doesn’t drink.
When you’re out
There’s safety in numbers. Stick with your mates. If you’re going to be drinking, do so in moderation. The more you drink, the worse your decisions will be.
- If you’re drinking, have water or non-alcoholic drinks between each drink.
- Stick with your drink – don’t leave it unattended and only drink what you’ve seen poured in front of you.
- Keep an eye on your gear. Bags, cellphones and other gear is being stolen because people haven’t taken care. If you can’t hold on to your gear, at least put it somewhere you can see it all the time.
- Don’t leave with someone you’ve just met or accept a lift with a stranger.
- If you use a public toilet, find a busy one with lots of people around. Check to see no-one’s loitering nearby. Ask a mate to wait for you. Leave if you’re not comfortable.
- Use teller machines only if you think it’s safe. Pick one in a well-lit area at night. Shield your PIN number, make only small withdrawals if possible, and put your money away quickly.
If you think you’re being followed, cross the street, vary your pace and direction, and go to somewhere busy, such as a service station or fast food outlet. If you’re worried, call 111.
If you are confronted, be confident and assertive. Say loudly “Leave me alone” or words to that effect. If you have to physically defend yourself, go for the eyes, nose and genital area. Use whatever’s handy – handbag, briefcase or umbrella. Dial 111 as soon as possible.