Personal Safety

What Is Personal Security?

Personal security involves taking steps to keep yourself safe, and protecting yourself from situations that are potentially violent or criminal. Personal security is important because property can be replaced, but you are irreplaceable.

Like other methods of crime prevention, personal security involves recognizing, anticipating, and assessing the risk of a crime occurring. In other words, what situations are potentially threatening to you and likely to put you in peril?

Once you have identified a risk, you can take steps to remove or reduce it. Being aware and informed is important to preventing crimes from occurring, which is why you should consider the following safety tips:

Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and do not place yourself in situations which might jeopardize your safety. When in doubt, call the police for assistance.

IN YOUR HOME

  • Answer your door with it closed and locked. Learn to speak through the closed door. It’s not impolite; it is safer.
  • Install good locks and use them. Avoid using chain locks. They present little deterrent to an aggressive person.
  • Your door should be equipped with a door viewer.
  • Don’t hide keys outside. Leave it with a trusted neighbour.
  • Secure all windows. Draw window shades or drapes after dark and don’t leave accessible windows open while you sleep.
  • Never open the door to strangers. Verify identification of visitors, sales and service people. Check with the company to see if they sent a representative.
  • Should a stranger request to use your phone, do not allow the person to enter your home. Offer to make the call for them. Even if it’s a woman, don’t unlock your door.
  • Don’t reveal personal information to anyone on the telephone or at your door.

ON THE STREET

  • Plan your route and avoid short cuts through parks, vacant lots, or unlit areas.
  • Know where police stations or after-hour stores are located.
  • Avoid being alone if you can. Get a friend to accompany you. If they can’t, let them know the route you’re taking. Call when you arrive.
  • Don’t carry large sums of money or unnecessary valuables. Use cash alternatives such as debit cards.
  • Don’t carry a purse; use waistbelts instead.
  • Don’t leave purses unattended in shopping carts or on store counters.
  • If someone grabs your purse, do not resist.

USING BANK MACHINES

  • Whenever possible use bank machines in visible and active areas during active periods.
  • If you must use a bank machine during inactive periods, consider using a drive-through.
  • Avoid after-hours access to bank machines where you are not visible or cannot see into the bank machine area prior to entering it.
  • Avoid using bank machines in areas that you are unfamiliar with at night.
  • If you absolutely must access a bank machine after hours in an unfamiliar area, consider using the buddy system or drive around the area before you access your cash or get out of your car.
  • Avoid using a bank machine if the door lock seems defective.
  • Be prepared to start your banking as soon as you arrive at the machine.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and always make sure that no one has the opportunity to see you entering your pin number or look over your shoulder.
  • Don’t leave anything behind.

WORKPLACE

Almost any crime that can happen at home or in your neighborhood can happen in the workplace.  But using the same common sense and prevention skills you use at home can help make life at work safer for all.

  • Keep valuable items such as money, credit cards, and jewelry with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
  • Avoid isolated or deserted stairways.
  • Call security or the police if you see someone in the building you don’t recognize.
  • If working after hours, keep all doors and windows locked.
  • If the company has security, advise them you’re working late and ask if they can check in on you periodically.
  • Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation or ask security to escort you.
  • If alone, contact your family/friend and advise them that you’ll be working late and will call before you leave and advise them of your route home.

Report inappropriate or worrisome behavior in coworkers.  While everyone wants to get along with his or her coworkers, this doesn't mean having to accept inappropriate or frightening behaviour. If someone says inappropriate things, acts oddly, or behaves violently in any way (including towards inanimate objects as well as people), report their behaviour to your supervisor. Everyone has a right to feel safe and comfortable in his or her work environment.

 

USING ELEVATORS

  • While waiting for an elevator, stand off to the side; this gives you the opportunity to view inside and removes your obligation to enter if you are unsure of the occupants. If in doubt concerning people in an elevator, do not get on; just wait for the next one.
  • If someone gets on the elevator after you and you’re not comfortable with them, get off. Stand near the control panel.
  • If confronted, push all the floor buttons and the emergency button, DO NOT push the stop button; as you may get trapped between floors.
 

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