We’d recommend that everyone takes sensible precautions – you can find advice from organisations such as Safer Streets (West Midlands Police) and the Metropolitan Police – but we’re not in a position to suggest that any given area is safe or unsafe. We hope that the more people walk in a neighbourhood, the safer it begins to feel for everyone.
Here’s some advice about personal safety on foot from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust:
- Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks. Walk down the middle of the pavement if the street is deserted.
- If you do have to pass danger spots, think about what you would do if you felt threatened. The best idea is to head for a public place where you know there will be other people, for example a garage or shop.
- If you are at all worried, try and walk with a friend or stay near a group of people.
- Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
- Try to keep both hands free and don’t walk with your hands in your pockets.
- Always take the route you know best and try to use well lit, busy streets.
- Walk facing on coming traffic to avoid curb crawlers.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings – remember if you are wearing a personal stereo you will not hear trouble approaching.
- It is a good idea to have a mobile phone, a phonecard, or some spare change with you to enable you to make a phone call.
- Be careful when using cashpoint machines. Make sure nobody is hovering nearby and do not count your money in the middle of the street.
- If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road turning and look to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area and tell people what is happening. If necessary, call the police.
- If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction – you can turn much faster than a car.
- Beware of someone who warns you of the danger of walking alone and then offers to accompany you. This is a ploy some attackers have been known to use.
- Never accept a lift with a stranger or someone you don’t know very well even if you are wet, tired or running late.
- We all have the right to wear any clothes we wish, but we do need to consider the effect they may have on others. You can reduce risks by wearing clothes you can move in easily and shoes that fit well and are comfortable.
- Try not to keep all your valuables in one place. Instead place valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket or use a money belt.
- One of the safest ways to carry things is in a small bag slung across your body under a jacket or coat. Ensure it sits close to your body