Personal Safety

If you are alert to your surroundings, you can often identify a potential assailant.

Protect yourself

  • Try not to walk alone at night but if you do, be alert and avoid dark or isolated areas. Instead, walk out in the open, away from walls, alleys, doorways, and pillars.
  • Whether you are walking or driving, determine the safest route before you leave. Take the longest route if that is the safest.
  • Tell friends or family members where you're going, and then let them know when you reach your destination.
  • Have your key ready as you approach your house or vehicle.
  • Don't enter environments where you feel unsafe. Trust your instincts.
  • Know your physical capabilities and limitations.
  • Don't carry offensive weapons such as knives. They may be used against you.

If you suspect you are being followed

  • Cross the street or walk on the side of the road.
  • Go immediately to the nearest well-lit or populated area.
  • If others are within hearing distance, turn to the person following you and say in a loud and assertive voice: "Stop following me!"
  • Contact Police immediately--go to a house or a store and call the Police or flag down a taxi and ask the driver to call the Police for you.
  • If the person following you is driving a car, take out a pen and paper, look at the licence plate and write the number down, making sure that the driver sees you do this.

If you are attacked

  • Try to remember the complexion, body build, height, weight, age, and type of clothing worn by the attacker. If possible, write down the information while it is still fresh in your memory.
  • If an attacker is after your purse or other valuables, don't resist. If you have the opportunity, throw your purse away from you to the distance the attacker from you.

Protect yourself in your vehicle

  • NEVER pick up hitchhikers or stop to offer help to unknown, stranded motorists. If you see such a motorist in distress, report the location to the Police from the nearest telephone.
  • If you have car trouble on the highway, raise the hood. This will indicate to other drivers that you are having car problems. It will bring official assistance such as the Police or towing company. If a stranger stops to assist you, use caution. If you are concerned, get back in the car. Speak through a slightly lowered window and ask the person to get assistance for you.
  • Don't travel with less than half a tank of gasoline and make sure your car is in good working order to avoid being stranded in an unsafe place.
  • Always lock your car when you leave it.
  • Always have your keys ready as you approach your vehicle.
  • Before entering your vehicle, always look inside first.
  • Always try to park in a well-lit location.

Protect your home

  • Install good locks on doors and windows. Keep doors locked at all times, even when you are at home.
  • Ensure you have a door viewer on solid doors, as well as a safety chain.
  • Leave exterior lights on to deter potential intruders. While you're away from home, leave at least two interior lights on, preferably on timers.
  • If you return home and suspect someone is in your home, don't enter or call out. Phone the Police immediately.
  • Don't leave keys in obvious places. Criminals know more hiding spots than you do.
  • Use first initials only on mail boxes, apartment directories or the phone book.
  • Get to know who your neighbours are and what their vehicles look like so you'll know who belongs on your street and who could be a suspicious person.
  • Ask a neighbour to look after your property when you are away for extended periods of time and offer to do the same for them.
  • Become an active member of a local crime prevention or safety promotion organization such as Neighbourhood Watch or Block Parents.
  • Check in with your senior neighbours from time to time and volunteer to accompany them on outings where they may feel unsafe.
  • Be very selective about admitting any strangers into your home. Ask for identification from delivery, repair, and service people--even Police Officers.
  • Before you answer the door, PLEASE consider the following questions. If any of them cannot be answered satisfactorily, advise the person that you are expecting company and ask them to leave.
    • Do you recognize this individual?
    • Are you expecting anyone today?
    • Does this person fit the image of the company they say they represent?
    • Does this person have valid identification?