Your Family - Personal Safety

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The chances of you or a member of your family becoming a victim of violent crime are low. Violent crimes by strangers in public places are still rare and account for a very small part of recorded crime.

However, you can make yourself even less likely to be the victim of a violent crime – for example, robbery (mugging) or assault – by taking a few sensible precautions. Many are common sense, and may be things you already do. Making yourself safer doesn't mean changing your entire lifestyle, personality or wardrobe, and it doesn't mean never going out at all.

You should think about how you would act in different situations before you are in them. Think about whether you would stay and defend yourself (using reasonable force), risking further injury, or whether you would give an attacker what they want, to avoid injury. There is nothing wrong with doing either, but you should think about the options – there will be no time to do so if you are attacked.

Some general points:

• You will be safest in bright, well lit and busy areas.

• Try to look and act confident – look like you know where you are going and walk tall.

• You might like to spread your valuables around your body. For example, keep your phone in your bag, your house keys in your trouser pocket and your money in your jacket.

• If someone tries to take something from you, it may just be better to let them take it rather than to get into a confrontation and risk injury.

• You can use reasonable force in self-defence. You are allowed to protect yourself with something you are carrying anyway (for example, keys or a can of deodorant), but you may not carry a weapon.

• If you decide to defend yourself, be aware that your attacker might be stronger than you, or may take what you are using in self-defence and use it against you. It is often better just to shout loudly and run away!

• Shout 'fire' rather than 'help' – it can get more results.

• If you use a wheelchair, keep your things beside you rather than at the back of the chair.

• Try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you are carrying. Talking on your mobile phone, carrying a laptop, or showing your friend your new gold ring all show thieves that you are worth robbing.

• When out walking or jogging, you should not listen to a personal stereo through headphones, so you can stay more alert to your surroundings.