Many of us use public transport to get to and from work, college, university, to pop to the shops or go out. Using the train, bus or grabbing a taxi is often a safer alternative than walking on your own late night. However, there are still a number of safety precautions that you can take to make yourself seem more confident and less likely to become a victim of crime.
Obviously, if you’ve been out drinking or clubbing until the early hours of the morning you may not think about keeping yourself safe whilst you’re making the journey home. But, it is important that you use your common sense to stop yourself becoming a victim of crime.
It’s not just buses, trains and trams that you need to be aware of. Getting into unlicensed taxis can also put you in danger. You need to be especially cautious if you ‘hail’ a taxi after a night out. Do you really know who’s driving you home?
Here are some helpful hints to keep you safe when you use a taxi:
Always use a taxi or licensed mini cab.
Do not get into a private hire vehicle unless you have pre-booked it through a registered company as you will not be insured should anything happen, and it would be difficult to track your whereabouts. You may however hail a taxi (usually a black cab) on the street.
When in a taxi or a black cab take note of the drivers details which should be displayed on his/her badge along with their taxi number. To be extra safe you could text a friend or family member the details.
When you arrive at your destination ask the driver to wait until you’re inside.
There are a lot of stories in the press about the health implications of drinking excessively. Everyone enjoys a night out with friends and family, whether it’s having a couple of drinks with a meal or going out for a night on the town with friends. We often don’t think about the harm alcohol can cause. We know we should, but sometimes we forget.
If you are having a drink do you really know what you’re drinking? Do you leave your drink unattended? Anyone could slip something into your drink when you least expect it.
Drinking alcohol can make you vulnerable, if your drink gets spiked it can really affect you and make you susceptible to criminals.
Did you know?
Drink spiking is illegal, whether or not an attack or assault has been carried out. It can result in a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison for anyone who is found guilty of doing it. If an assault, rape or robbery has also taken place, then the sentence will be even higher.
What should I do if I think my drink has been spiked?
If you think that your drink has been spiked, you should stop drinking it and tell someoneyou trust, that you think your drink has been spiked. If you are out on your own, ask the pub landlord or bar manager to call one of your friends. Then you need to get to a safe place, whether that’s at home or at a friends house.
If you start to feel ill, get someone you trust to take you to your nearest A&E department andtell the medical staff that you think you’ve had your drink spiked.
How can I avoid my drink being spiked?
If your drink has been spiked it’s unlikely that you will be able to see, smell or taste any difference.
The following steps may help prevent someone from spiking your drink:
Never leave your drink unattended
Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know
Keep an eye on your friends’ drink
Stay away from situations that you don’t feel comfortable with
Let someone know where you are and what time you expect to be home, especially if you’re going on a date with someone you don’t know.
Don’t give out too much information to someone you’ve just met, such as your address.
It’s important to remember that if you’ve already been drinking, it may make you less aware of any danger.
The most common reasons for drink spiking are:
To be malicious
To carry out sexual assault or rape
To carry out a theft
If you do go out, remember to make sure that you and your friends/family get home safely. Get them to text you when they get home, and you text them when you get home. That way you don’t have to spend the night worrying about them.
Remember, it’s not just women who get their drinks spiked.
Walking the streets late at night/early in the morning
Most people know that they shouldn’t walk home late at night or in the early hours of the morning on their own, but many people still do it.
How many times have you left work, a party or a club and thought, I’m only 10 minutes down the road. I’ll be ok?
But in reality walking alone on unlit streets, across dark open land etc makes you more vulnerable to crime. To make matters worse if you’ve been drinking you’re often even more vulnerable because, you are unaware of what’s going on around you. You don’t realise how easy it is for a thief to come up behind you and take your mp3 player and mobile phone.
Its not just thieves that you need to be aware of when you’re walking the streets, there are also other people out there who will take advantage of your vulnerability. Sexual assaults are rare crimes, but they do happen.
One of the most common things to do when you’re walking home in the dark is to get your mobile phone and start texting or to ring someone. Doing this may seem like a safe thing to do. However, it lights you up like a Christmas tree and makes you a walking advertisement to opportunistic thieves.
You can take a few simple precautions to avoid becoming a victim of theft. You can also make your phone difficult to use if it’s stolen:
Avoid talking on your mobile while walking, or having your mp3 player on show.
Before taking out your mobile, check to see who is around and position yourself in a way that will make it difficult for thieves to approach you.
Try to be where a CCTV camera can see you
Always use the keypad lock function
Register your mobile with the service provider, and immobilise
Make a note of your mobile phone's IMEI number.
Report a theft to the police and to your mobile service provider as soon as possible.
So next time you’re coming home late at night or in the early hours of the morning take more notice of what is going on around you.
What advice could you give me about staying safe late at night or in the early hours of the morning?
Whether you’re going out or coming home late at night or in the early hours of the morning. We recommend you do the following:
Don’t walk home alone. We recommend that you walk with a group of people as it makes you less of a target.
Avoid taking risky shortcuts through back alleys, parks or waste grounds. Stick to pavements and well lit areas.
If you are walking along a road with no footpath, walk facing the traffic so you can see what’s heading towards you. This stops cars pulling up behind you unnoticed.
If you regularly walk home or go out jogging try to vary your routes (without taking risky shortcuts)
Wearing earphones is common practice these days and can make walks or jogging more entertaining. However, be aware that the earphones may appear attractive to opportunistic thieves and potential attackers, and reduce your alertness to your surroundings.
If you’re carrying a bag make sure the clasp is facing inwards, all zips and pockets are closed. If your bag is snatched let it go, your safety is more important than your property.
If you have expensive items on you such as jewellery, a mobile phone or an mp3 player keep it out of sight.
If you are threatened by a person, scream and shout, set off a personal attack alarm to startle the attacker and give you vital seconds to escape. Try to make note of details such as registration plates, clothing, height etc and then report the incident to the police.
The advice given is nothing more than common sense. Sometimes we choose to ignore advice like this, but it’s given for a good reason.