Your "Street Smarts" IQ: Do you…
- Jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late
at night when the streets are quiet and deserted?
- Stuff your purse with cash, keys, credit cards,
checkbook - and then leave it wide open on a counter, your desk, the
- Put your wallet in a jacket, which you then hang up
or throw over a chair?
- Let your mind wander - thinking about your job, or
all the things you have to do - when walking or driving?
- 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. Spend a few minutes now to prevent trouble later.
- Wherever you are - on the street, in an office
building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway - stay
alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
- 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 the person or leave.
- 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.
- Stick to well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts
through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting
targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the
- Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket,
not a back pocket.
- Try to use automated teller machines in the daytime.
Have your card in hand and don't approach the machine if you're uneasy
about people nearby.
- Don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict your
- Have your car or house key in hand before you reach
- 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.
- 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.
Learn more about auto theft and carjacking.
- Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure
there's enough gas to get where you're going and back.
- 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 lots and underground parking garages.
- If you think someone is following you, don't head
- Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas
station, or other open business to get help.
- Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike.
On Buses and
- Use well-lighted, busy stops.
- Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream.
- If someone harasses you, don't be embarrassed. Loudly
say "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the
- Watch who gets off 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
- Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the
attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from
Learn more about
things you can do and things kids can do.
for better drug treatment services, crime and drug abuse prevention
education, and job and recreational opportunities for young people in your
- Take a Stand
- 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.
- 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.
- Help out a friend or co-worker who's been a victim of
- Cook a meal, babysit, find the number for victim
services or a crisis hotline.
- Listen, sympathize, and don't blame.
- Look at the root causes.