Street Smart

Test your street smarts IQ: do you .....

  • Jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late at night when the streets are quiet?
  • Stuff your purse or pockets with cash, keys, credit cards, & leave it in a public place?
  • Put your wallet in a jacket, then hang it up or put it on a chair?
  • Let your mind wander when you are 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 some habits.

Basic street sense

  • Wherever you are, on the street, in an office or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway, stay alert & 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, leave the area.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live an work. Check out the locations of the Police & Fire Stations, public telephones, hospitals, & restaurants, or anything that is open late.

On foot

  • Stick to busy streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots or alleys.
  • Don’t flash cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry & clothing.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat pocket, or front pants pocket, not the front pocket.
  • Use ATMs in the daytime. Have your card ready to use. Don’t use the machine if you feel uneasy about the people nearby.
  • Don’t wear shoes or clothing that restricts your movement.
  • Have your car & house keys ready to use before you reach the door.
  • If you think you’re being followed, switch directions. Walk to a public place. If you are in fear, yell for help.
  • If you work late, be sure that others are in the building. Call the UMASS Police for an escort to your car.

On wheels

  • Keep you car in good running condition. Always have enough fuel in the tank.
  • Roll up the windows & lock the car doors, even if you’re coming right back. Check the inside & outside before getting in.
  • Do not park in isolated areas. Be especially alert in lots & underground garages.
  • If you think you’re being followed, do not head home. Drive to the nearest Police or Fire Station, or any busy public place.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers, or hitchhike yourself.

On busses and trains

  • Use well lighted, busy stops.
  • Stay alert! Do not doze or daydream.
  • If someone harasses you, Loudly say LEAVE ME ALONE. Hit the emergency devise.
  • Watch who gets off with you. If you feel uneasy, walk to a busy public place.

If someone tries to rob you

  • Do not resist. Give up the property. Do not give up your life!
  • Report the crime to the Police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.

Take a stand

  • Make your neighborhood and workplace safer by reporting broken street lights, cleaning up parks & vacant lots, and lobbying local government for better lighting in public places.
  • Join a Neighborhood, Apartment, Office or Campus Watch to look out for each other & help the Police. Find out how you can organize a Neighborhood Watch by contacting your local Police Dept.
  • Help out a friend or co-worker who has been a victim of a crime. Cook a meal, baby-sit, find the phone number for victim services through your local Police Dept. or District Court. Listen, sympathize and do not place blame on the victim.
  • Look at the root causes. Work for better drug treatment services, crime & drug abuse prevention education, and job & recreational opportunities for young people in your community.