It’s quite normal to be worried when walking around on your own especially at night. Lots of young people get concerned about walking past certain areas or groups of other young people. Here are our top tips for staying safe on the streets:
- Plan ahead: Before you go out think about how you are going to get home, e.g. Can you travel home with a friend? What time does the last bus / train leave?
- Use well lit busy streets and avoid dangers 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.
- Consider heading for a public place; somewhere you know there will be other people, for example a garage or shop.
- 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.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic wherever possible, to avoid kerb crawlers. If you do have to talk in the same direction as the traffic and a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk or run in the other direction.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings: remember if you are chatting on your mobile phone or wearing a personal stereo you will not hear trouble approaching.
If you think you are being followed trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road, turning 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, or if this not possible knock on the door of a well-lit house and see if the person hangs about. Tell the homeowner what is happening and ask if you can wait outside and call your parents. If necessary, call the police.
- Beware of someone who warns you of the dangers of walking alone and then offers to accompany you. This is a ploy some attackers have been known to use.
- Never accept a lift from 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 it’s worth remembering that you can help to reduce the risks by wearing clothes you can move in easily and shoes that you can run in.
- Try not to keep all your valuables in one place: it’s a good idea to keep valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket.
- Consider carrying a personal safety alarm which can be used to shock and disorientate an attacker and give you vital seconds to get away.