Personal Safety

Be Aware, Plan Ahead & Trust Your Instincts

Being aware, planning ahead and trusting your instincts, can greatly reduce the opportunity for a crime to occur!

How To Protect Yourself From Crime

Safety On The Street

  • Walk with a purposeful stride. Know where you are going and walk with confidence
  • Avoid isolated areas such as parking lots, garages and alleyways; stick to well-lit, high-traffic areas

  • Keep a distance. Don’t let people get too close, even if they appear to have a reason, such as asking for the time

  • Dress so you can move with ease. Consider wearing clothing and shoes you can move quickly in

  • Pack light and separate essentials. Take only what you need. Overloading yourself can draw attention and make you appear vulnerable. Avoid storing everything in one place, if at all possible. Storing small essentials, such as your keys, ID, cell phone and a small amount of money separate in a coat or pants pocket helps to spread the risk

  • Take action if you think that you’re being followed:

    • If you think you are being followed by a person, switch direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, lighted house or an area with other people. If in a park or other isolated area, take advantage of the presence of a passerby by turning towards the person following you and saying “Are you following me?” in a loud, clear voice and don’t be embarrassed to yell for help

    • If you think that you’re being followed or bothered by someone in a car, do not approach it. Turn around and quickly walk in the opposite direction

  • Tell others where you are going and when you are expected to arrive/ return. Arrange to check in with them when you get there

  • Keep distractions to a minimum when using your phone or electronic devices! Do not walk and read text messages, watch video etc. or otherwise compromise your ability to hear traffic, trains and other threats by using earphones. If you must talk on the phone while walking, don’t get lost in conversation. Pay attention to traffic, people around you and where you are going. STAY ALERT! Also keep in mind the information you may be inadvertently giving out when talking on your phone; others can hear your conversation

Plan Ahead

Think about where you are going and plan your route before you leave. What time of day is it? How can you avoid walking through an uninhabited or badly lit area? If you see trouble, can you cross the street or go into a nearby store? If you are not familiar with the area, did you get directions prior to departing or do you have the capability to look this up while enroute?

What Thieves Look For  

  • Easy pickings: Items left unattended in grocery carts, dressing rooms or desks and wallets protruding from pockets and purses.

  • Crowds: The noise and confusion of crowds help conceal crime. Be especially vigilant anywhere that is busy or crowded

  • Distraction: When you are distracted you are less able to remember identifying characteristics of a thief and are often even unaware a theft has occurred until much later. Thieves will sometimes cause a distraction, (i.e. bumping into you) or target you because you appear pre-occupied (i.e. talking on your cell phone)

  • Clutter: Minimize what can be lost by carrying only what you need. Take small amounts of cash, and only the credit cards you plan to use. Try not to carry anything that is irreplaceable or of sentimental value. Consider wearing clothes with hidden pockets

  • Purses/Bags: Avoid carrying a purse when you don’t need or can’t properly care for one. When carrying a purse, keep it zipped shut. Carry them close to you with an arm held loosely across it

  • Backpacks: Make sure to zip and secure all pockets and to check on your backpack periodically. When in crowded situations, on public transportation and at street corners, bring your backpack around to your front and hold your arm loosely across it

  • Earphones: Thieves look for people carrying high-end electronic devices by paying attention to your brand-name earphones. Consider limiting their use or substituting a generic pair when travelling through public places and/or using transit. And always remember that when you tune in, you tune out your ability to help keep yourself safe

If You Are Confronted

Only you can decide how you will respond to an attack!

  • If someone demands your property and displays or implies that they have a weapon, do NOT resist. You have a greater chance of getting hurt if you do

  • If someone tries to assault you, make a scene. Scream, kick, fight, run -do whatever you can to get away and attract attention

  • Try to remember anything about the suspect’s description that will make them stand out and, if possible, write this information down while it is fresh in your memory

Trust Your Instincts

Trusting your own instincts that a situation seems “wrong” can be the best personal safety tool you have. Pay attention to it and don’t be afraid to act on it!Report the incident to the Police as soon as possible!

Be Aware

Avoid “autopilot”. Remain alert and walk purposefully. Even if you are on a route you take every day, be aware of your surroundings. Also pay close attention around crosswalks and driveways and try to establish eye contact with the driver of a vehicle regardless of whether you have the “right of way”.


To report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at: 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or online at:

In An Emergency: Call 9-1-1.

To report a crime to the Toronto Police that is not an emergency call 416-808-2222.


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