Personal Safety

Protecting Yourself

Be prepared to physically or psychologically protect yourself. A good way to prepare is to think ahead.

  • Mentally prepare how you would react to crisis situations and have a plan.
  • Do whatever you feel will result in the least amount of harm to yourself!

Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. A dangling handbag invites a purse snatcher. An unlocked window invites an intruder. If you eliminate the opportunity, you greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

Out Alone

  • At night, try to stay on well-lighted streets; avoid doorways, shrubbery, dark shadows near buildings, and other potential hiding places. Carry a flashlight.
  • While walking or jogging, be aware of your surroundings. Look confident and alert. Make quick eye contact with people around you. It's best to exercise or run errands with a friend when possible. Always dress so you can walk or run easily to avoid attack.
  • If you are being followed by a car, change your direction. If followed by a person, turn and look at them. This gives you time to think and lets the person know that you are alert. In either case, get to the nearest public place.
  • A woman should carry her handbag next to her body with the flap or clasp toward her. A man should carry his wallet in an inside or front pocket.
  • Don't leave your purse on the back of the door or on the floor in restrooms, theaters, restaurants, or other public places. Don't leave your purse open or unattended in a shopping cart. Carry your keys in a coat pocket.

Safety In Your Car

  • While walking to your car, have your door key ready in your hand as you approach. Before getting into your car, glance into the back seat and floor to check for someone hiding. Get into your vehicle and lock the door immediately before settling yourself or packages.
  • Look for a well-lighted parking place and lock your car – even if you're just running into the store for a minute. Never leave your purse, briefcase or gym bag in your car. Place them in the trunk.
  • If you must leave your key with a parking attendant or service garage, leave only your car key, never the keys to your house. These can be duplicated while you're gone.
  • Keep your doors and windows locked and windows rolled up most of the way, especially in heavy traffic, keep your purse out of sight.
  • If someone tries to break into your car, honk your horn repeatedly and try to drive away if you can.
  • If you are being followed, don't drive home immediately. Drive to the nearest 24-hour police or fire station, hospital emergency entrance, all-night restaurant, gas station or other place where there are people.
  • You should not travel, especially at night, when you know you have car trouble or are low on gas.
  • If your vehicle does fail, turn on your emergency flashers, raise the hood or hang a handkerchief from your window to attract attention, or use a "call police" sign in the windshield. If someone stops, stay in your vehicle and ask them to call for police assistance.
  • Don't leave mail or packages with labels listing your name and home address in view, inside your car. Don't leave your work ID attached to your purse or briefcase.

Workplace Safety

Traveling To and From Work

  • Park your vehicle under or next to a light pole if you are coming to or leaving work when it is dark outside.
  • Walk in and out of work in pairs or groups, especially late at night.
  • Do not leave work if you are not comfortable with someone in the parking lot. Call the Police for assistance.
  • Immediately report anyone who is waiting in the parking lot who does not appear to be there for business.

Safety at Work

  • Let your co-workers know when you leave the office and give a time that you will return.
  • Consider carrying a cell phone in case you need help or are in trouble.
  • Make sure the workplace is secure if you stay after normal working hours.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers and medical kits.
  • If there is an emergency, have a designated meeting place for all employees to gather.

Front Desk

  • If you have face-to-face customer contact, do not leave objects on the front desk that may be used as weapons (i.e., stapler, paper weights, coffee mugs).
  • Have the front desk positioned so that there is an escape route for the employee.
  • Set up a pre-coded page for the front desk employee to use in case an upset customer gets out of control or the employee feels unsafe.