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Statistics show that the possibility of you or someone you know becoming the victim of a violent crime are low and that violent attacks committed in public by people unknown to you only account for a small percentage of recorded crimes.
To further reduce the chances that you become a victim of violent crime there are a number of common sense precautions that you can take. These may be precautions you already take as part of your day-to-day routine and if you don’t, they don’t have to involve drastically changing your routine.
One of the most important things to think about is what your reaction would be in the event of a dangerous situation occurring. Would you defend yourself, the people you know and your property or would you capitulate with the attacker and give them what they want. Neither choice is wrong but it is worth considering as there will be no time to think about the options when the situation arises.
Below are some simple but handy tips for increasing your personal safety and decreasing the likelihood of an attack.
- The safest place to be is in a bright, well lit and busy area.
- Act confident – try to look and act like you know where you are, where you are going and what you are doing. Individuals who look confused, lost or unfamiliar with their environment are more susceptible to attack.
- Don’t keep all your valuables in one place on your person. Spread them about pockets and bags. This way you reduce the risk of losing everything of value on you if an attacker demands that you hand over your possessions.
- Consider just handing over an item if an attacker demands it. This way you may reduce the risk of a violent attack occurring.
- Reasonable force is allowed as an act of self-defense, in the eyes of the law. Be aware of what you are doing though because while innocuous items such as keys and cans of drink can be used for defense, the carrying or use of a weapon is illegal.
- Always be aware of the dangers if you do decide to defend yourself. You attacker may be stronger than you or better at fighting than you. Always consider the option to run away. You will lose no face if you do so.
- Being inconspicuous with your valuables while out in public can reduce the possibility of a mugging. Don’t talk loudly into your brand new mobile phone, don’t carry your laptop in an obvious laptop carry case and don’t show off your new jewellery in public.
- While it might help with concentration when out jogging, having a personal stereo on can take your attention away from what is happening around you and leave you less alert.
Theft and Robbery
Otherwise known as street robbery, mugging is the collective term for a variety of criminal activities including snatching bags and pickpocketing. Pickpocketing is different to common mugging as it usually occurs in busy places where the attacker is less conspicuous while common robbery is more likely to take happen in quiet or dimly lit areas.
The largest identified group who are victims of robberies are young men with attacks typically being carried out by other young men.
The personal alarms available from Crime Prevention Products have been designed to be easy and quick to use and emit loud high pitched noises to deter attackers and attract passers-by. For more information, browse the selection of products in the Personal Alarms section.
Whether you are travelling by public transport, taxi or your own car, it is important to be aware of potential attacks that could occur.
While buses and trains may seem safe, there are some common sense precautions that should be taken. Sit in the busiest part of the vehicle, if you feel safest, sit near the bus driver. Plan your route, make sure that you know where you are going and when your bus departs/arrives. If there is someone near you whose presence or behaviour are making you nervous, move and sit away from them. If they are being particularly aggressive, tell the driver or train guard.
Your car should be a very safe form of transport but do bear in mind the following points. Also ensure your petrol tank is filled. Keep your doors locked when driving and keep valuables out of sight of passers by, preferably in the boot. Park in busy, well lit areas as opposed to dark alleys of dimly lit areas of a car park. When parking in the day, do bear in mind that the area might be dimly lit come night fall. Do not offer lifts to people you do not know.
For information on car security devices, please browse the products available in Crime Prevention Products’ Car Security section.
Taxis and private hire vehicles
Taxis are a highly convenient way of travelling if you do not like public transport and do not have a car. Due to the criteria needed by taxi drivers, taxis do offer a degree of protection. Many councils require taxi drivers to provide documentation, take special driving tests and prove a clean criminal record before they will let someone be a taxi driver.
Always check that the taxi you are using is being driven by a licensed taxi driver. He/she should have their licenses on display on the dashboard or other clearly viewable area at the front of the taxi. If you doubt their credentials, do not use the taxi.
Check that the taxi or PHV that arrives is the one you ordered. Ask for a description of the car - colour, make, etc - and check this when it arrives. You could also ask for the name of the driver beforehand.
If you can, use a trusted taxi company and if possible, a known trusted driver. If you are concerned about being outside after your journey, ask the driver to wait while you get inside.
Everyone has the right to live free of harassment and the threat of personal harm from attack. This guide is offered as a basic introduction to reducing the possibility of harm that may come to you. The tips and advice offered are considered to be useful and are also given by the government, police, self defence experts and victim support groups.
For more information and more in depth advice, visit the sites we have listed below. All provide useful information and some offer one to one advice on particular issues.
Also be sure to browse the range of personal safety products available from Crime Prevention Products. Personal alarms, vehicle alarms and other products can aid in preventing harm to come to you and the people you care about.