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.
- 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.
- 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.