Friday, 13 December 2013

Keep safe when out and about this Christmas

Walking the streets late at night/early in the morning

Most people know that they shouldn’t walk home late at night or in the early hours of the morning on their own, but many people still do it.
How many times have you left work, a party or a club and thought, I’m only 10 minutes down the road. I’ll be ok?
But in reality walking alone on unlit streets, across dark open land etc makes you more vulnerable to crime. To make matters worse if you’ve been drinking you’re often even more vulnerable because, you are unaware of what’s going on around you. You don’t realise how easy it is for a thief to come up behind you and take your mp3 player and mobile phone.
Its not just thieves that you need to be aware of when you’re walking the streets, there are also other people out there who will take advantage of your vulnerability. Sexual assaults are rare crimes, but they do happen.
One of the most common things to do when you’re walking home in the dark is to get your mobile phone and start texting or to ring someone. Doing this may seem like a safe thing to do. However, it lights you up like a Christmas tree and makes you a walking advertisement to opportunistic thieves.
You can take a few simple precautions to avoid becoming a victim of theft. You can also make your phone difficult to use if it’s stolen:
  • Avoid talking on your mobile while walking, or having your mp3 player on show.
  • Before taking out your mobile, check to see who is around and position yourself in a way that will make it difficult for thieves to approach you.
  • Try to be where a CCTV camera can see you
  • Always use the keypad lock function
  • Register your mobile with the service provider, and immobilise
  • Make a note of your mobile phone's IMEI number.
  • Report a theft to the police and to your mobile service provider as soon as possible. 
So next time you’re coming home late at night or in the early hours of the morning take more notice of what is going on around you.

What advice could you give me about staying safe late at night or in the early hours of the morning?

Whether you’re going out or coming home late at night or in the early hours of the morning. We recommend you do the following:
  • Don’t walk home alone. We recommend that you walk with a group of people as it makes you less of a target.
  • Avoid taking risky shortcuts through back alleys, parks or waste grounds.  Stick to pavements and well lit areas.
  • If you are walking along a road with no footpath, walk facing the traffic so you can see what’s heading towards you. This stops cars pulling up behind you unnoticed.
  • If you regularly walk home or go out jogging try to vary your routes (without taking risky shortcuts)
  • Wearing earphones is common practice these days and can make walks or jogging more entertaining. However, be aware that the earphones may appear attractive to opportunistic thieves and potential attackers, and reduce your alertness to your surroundings.
  • If you’re carrying a bag make sure the clasp is facing inwards, all zips and pockets are closed. If your bag is snatched let it go, your safety is more important than your property.
  • If you have expensive items on you such as jewellery, a mobile phone or an mp3 player keep it out of sight.
  • If you are threatened by a person, scream and shout, set off a personal attack alarm to startle the attacker and give you vital seconds to escape. Try to make note of details such as registration plates, clothing, height etc and then report the incident to the police.
The advice given is nothing more than common sense. Sometimes we choose to ignore advice like this, but it’s given for a good reason.