- Walk purposefully. Communicate the message that you are calm, confident, know where you are going, and know what is going on around you. Stand tall, and make quick, but deliberate eye contact with people around you.
- If you suspect you are being followed, turn and walk quickly in the opposite direction. Go to a well-lighted and well-populated area.
- Walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic. This will prevent a car from sneaking up on you.
- Avoid walking alone, and stay away from dark streets. Avoid short cuts through deserted areas.
- Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
- Avoid street solicitors trying to sell you something at a bargain price.
- Try not to carry a purse, but if you must, carry it securely under your arm. NEVER wrap the purse strap around your arm or enter a tug-of-war if a thief grabs your purse. You could be seriously injured.
- BE AWARE! Stay alert and use good judgment, so you can avoid becoming an easy target. Trust your instincts, they are usually right.
- Park in well-lighted areas so you can see your car and its surroundings from as far away as possible.
- Have your car keys ready before you approach the car, so you do not make yourself vulnerable while searching for the right key.
- Glance into the back seat and floorboards of your car before you enter, checking for anyone who may be hiding inside.
- Always lock all doors, whether you are in or out of your car. Keep the windows rolled up enough so that an arm cannot be inserted through the window opening.
Keep your purse on the floor or under the seat so it is out of view of any passerby when you are stopped at a traffic light.
- If you are bumped from behind by another vehicle, do not immediately exit your vehicle. ASSESS THE SITUATION. If you feel uneasy, remain in your vehicle until the police arrive. If the other party leaves the scene, try to note the tag number and vehicle description, but do not follow the vehicle.
- If someone threatens you with a weapon, give up your vehicle immediately. DO NOT FIGHT OR ARGUE. Your life is more important than your car.
If your car breaks down, raise the hood to signal for help. If possible, remain inside your vehicle. If someone stops to assist you, have him/her call for help. DO NOT allow them inside your vehicle, and do not accept a ride from them.
- If you believe you are being followed by another vehicle, DO NOT DRIVE INTO YOUR DRIVEWAY OR PARK ON A DESERTED STREET. Pull over to the curb at a spot where there are people, and let the car pass you. If the car continues to follow you, drive to the nearest place where you can get help (gas station, police station, fire station etc.).
- Do not leave your purse unattended on or in your desk. Keep it with you or hide it in a locked desk drawer or cabinet.
- Never give telephone numbers or addresses of fellow employees to anyone without their permission, and use discretion in revealing your own personal plans to people at work.
- Be suspicious of unannounced or unexpected persons claiming to be repair or service people. Ask for their company ID and call the company for verification of repair/service.
- Look inside the elevator before entering. If someone suspicious is already on the elevator, DO NOT get in.
- If you are waiting for an elevator and someone approaches who makes you feel uncomfortable, DO NOT get on the elevator with that person. Pretend you have forgotten something and leave or wait for the next elevator.
- Once on the elevator, try to stand next to the control panel. If someone on the elevator bothers you, press all the buttons on the panel. This will sound the alarm and open the doors on all the floors allowing you an opportunity to escape the situation.
- Use all of the available locks when occupying or leaving your room.
- Know who is knocking before you open the door. If they say they work for the hotel, verify this by calling the front desk before opening the door.
- Locate fire exits, elevators and public phones. Plan the best way to get out of the building in an emergency.
- Leave your television on when leaving your room to make it appear occupied.
Safety at Home
- Lock your doors and windows when you are home. Too often, criminals get into homes through unlocked windows and doors.
- A peephole with a 180-degree viewing angle is best to verify who is on the other side of the door. NEVER open the door to someone you do not know.
- Always acknowledge a caller at your door, but do not open it. Call to the person through the locked door to determine who they are and what they want. Some burglars ring the doorbell, and if there is no answer, they break in.
- If an intruder confronts you inside your home, try to remain calm. Only you will be able to determine your best course of action. Be aware that there is a potential for violence in this type of situation.
For more information or to arrange for a free personal safety prevention seminar for your organization contact:
St. Petersburg Police Department
Crime Prevention Unit