As the nights draw in and the evenings get darker crime, especially crime against the person, tends to increase. Though the chance of being a victim of crime is statistically unlikely, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the threat even further.
We have compiled a list of top tips on how to stay safe this winter and while you may have heard some of these messages before; your wellbeing and personal safety is important to us:
- When you go out in a group, try to ensure you come home in a group. Don’t leave your friends or colleagues on their own.
- Stick to well-lit, well populated and well used areas. Do not take short cuts through dark and remote alleyways, parks or wasteland.
- Walk briskly and with confidence. When you look confident, you are far less likely to be approached.
- Walk on the side of the road that faces oncoming traffic. When there is a pavement, keep back from the kerb. If the road doesn’t have a pavement on one side, use the other side. If you are in more remote areas, always walk towards oncoming traffic.
- Be alert to your surroundings. Do not walk whilst chatting, or listening to music, on your mobile phone, checking for messages or with earphones in. If you really must listen to music, use just one earpiece so that one allows you to hear what is happening around you.
- If you have any concerns about an individual, group of people or a situation, keep away, distance is your friend. Be aware of how you may come across to others. As a man, don’t walk close behind women. If you’re walking faster, move to the other side of the pavement so you don’t worry them.
- Carry your keys in your pocket so they can be accessed quickly if needed. This allows you to get into your home, car or office quickly and without distraction. In extreme circumstances, they can be used to fend someone off.
- If you think you are being followed, check by crossing the street or changing your pace. If you are worried, go to the nearest place where there are other people and call the police.
- In the event of someone attacking you, you are far better shouting FIRE than shouting HELP. People will react far quicker to Fire.
- Excess alcohol will blur your judgment and senses and make you more vulnerable. Keep your drink in sight and do not accept drinks from people you do not know well.
- Be wary of meeting anyone on your own if you do not know them well.
- Where possible, do not visit a cashpoint alone or if you do look around and scan your environment. Criminals will try to distract you whilst using a cashpoint be aware.
- Use a pre-booked licensed taxi firm. Never get into an unmarked taxi. Consider taking a picture of the car, and or number plate, just in case.
- Let your partner/housemates know the approximate time you are due to arrive home. Plan your trip home.
- Wherever possible, don’t walk home alone.
We know these aren’t always possible but try to stick to as many of these as possible to protect yourself and others.
Anyone with information about criminal activity or suspicious individuals should call the Police on ‘101’ or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. In an emergency always call ‘999’.