Personal Safety

Stay Aware and Be Alert!

This is the number one tip for personal safety.

Each situation is different; each crime, each criminal will be different. If you take an active part in being safe, you will lower your risk of becoming a victim of crime. Here are some basics for general personal safety:

Being Safe Around Town

  • Whenever you are on the street, in an office building, or shopping, stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  • Send the message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you are going.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, get away from that situation as quickly as possible any way you can.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Be familiar with the roadways and locations of police stations, fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and businesses & stores that are open late.

On Foot — Day or Night

  • Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid short cuts through wooded areas, parking lots, and alleys.
  • Do not flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
  • Carry a purse or bag close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket, not a back pocket.
  • Do not wear shoes or clothing that restricts your movements.
  • Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.
  • If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. Walk to an open store, restaurant or anyplace else with groups of people. If you are afraid, call for help.
  • If you must work late, do not go to your car alone. Go with colleagues as a group. If you are afraid, call 911 and have an officer escort you to your car.

Safety While Driving

  • Keep your car in good running condition. Check the gas gauge before you leave to make sure you have enough fuel to get where you are going and back.
  • Always roll up the windows and lock the car doors when you park the car, even if you are coming right back. Always check your car’s interior and exterior before you get in and drive away.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in parking lots and parking garages.
  • If you think someone is following you, do not go home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station. If you can’t find either of these, drive to a gas station or other open business, and ask for help.
  • While driving, keep all doors locked.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.

Using the ATM

  • Try to use an automated teller machine (ATM) during the daytime. Have your card in hand and do not approach the machine if you are uneasy about people nearby.
  • Always watch for suspicious persons or activity around the ATM. If you notice anything strange, leave and find another machine. If you feel uneasy during your transaction, cancel it and leave.
  • If you do use the ATM after dark—Do not go alone. Park close by and lock your car. If the lights are out, leave and find another machine; report the situation to the bank.
  • Stand close to the machine so that no one else can see your access codes.
  • Take all of your transaction receipts with you. Do not throw them away at the ATM.
  • If you get cash, put it away immediately. Do not count your cash standing at the ATM.
  • Never accept help from strangers at the ATM. Ask the bank for assistance later.
  • Ask your bank which ATMs have working video cameras. These provide valuable evidence in the event of someone tampering with your account or other crimes that may occur at the machine.
  • If you use a drive-up ATM, keep your vehicle doors locked and other windows up.
  • Memorize your access code. Do not write it down or carry it with you.
  • Do not use an access code that’s the same as other words or numbers in your wallet.
  • Never tell your access code to anyone.
  • Never lend your ATM card to anyone. Treat it like cash or a credit card.
  • If you lose your ATM card, notify your bank or credit union immediately.