Test Your Street Smarts IQ
- Jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late at night when the streets are quiet and deserted?
- Let your mind wander, thinking about your job, or all the things you have to do, while walking or driving?
- Put your wallet in a jacket, which you then hang up or throw over a chair?
- Stuff your purse with cash, keys, credit cards, checkbook--and then leave it wide open on a counter, your desk, the floor?
- Think it's a waste of time to lock your car when you'll be back in a few minutes?
If you answered yes
to any of these questions, you need to change a few habits. Even if you answered no
and made a perfect score: Read on!
Basic Street Sense
- Know the neighborhoods where you live and work: Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and restaurants, or stores that are open late.
- Send the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you're going.
- Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid that person or leave.
- Wherever you are-on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus-stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket, not a back pocket.
- Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict movement.
- Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.
- If you have to work late, make sure there are others in the building, and ask someone, a colleague or security guard, to walk you to your car or transit stop.
- If you think someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house. If you're scared, yell for help.
- Stick to well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Try to use the ATM in the daytime. Have your card in hand and don't approach the machine if you're uneasy about people nearby.
- Always roll up the windows and lock car doors, even if you're coming right back. Check inside and out before getting in.
- Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in open lots and underground parking garages.
- Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike.
- If you think someone is following you, don't head home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help.
- Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get where you're going and back.
On Buses or Trains
- If someone harasses you, don't be embarrassed. Loudly say "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the emergency device.
- Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream.
- Use well-lighted, busy stops.
- Watch who gets off at the stop with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.
If Someone Tries To Rob You
- Don't resist. Give up your property-don't give up your life.
- Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.
Take a Stand
- Help out a friend or co-worker who's been a victim of crime. Cook a meal, babysit, find the number for victim services or a crisis hotline. Listen, sympathize, and don't place blame.
- Join a Neighborhood, Apartment, or Office Watch to look out for each other and help the police. Or find out how you can organize a neighborhood watch.
- Look at the root causes. Work for better drug treatment services, crime and drug abuse prevention education, and job and recreational opportunities for young people in your community.
- Make your neighborhood and workplace safer by reporting broken street lights, cleaning up parks and vacant lots, and lobbying local government for better lighting in public places.