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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Protecting yourself

The risk of being robbed or attacked on your way home is thankfully pretty small, but to keep yourself safe you should be aware of what to do if you find yourself in a threatening situation.

General advice

Whenever it’s possible, try and walk home with someone else or a group of friends. You're less likely to be attacked or mugged if you're with more than one person.

You should always keep alert and aware of what's going on around you. You may be tired but if you fall asleep on public transport, you're more likely to have your bag or your coat stolen.

It's also not a good idea to listen to music through your headphones. As well as being distracting, it's showing that you have something that's worthwhile stealing. Make sure you keep any valuables tucked safely away in your bag.

Carrying a personal alarm can also make you feel a lot safer. If you activate it, the alarm will give off a high-pitched sound that can shock anyone that's attacking you.

You can buy a personal alarm from a lot of high street shops. If you're at college or university, your student union may sell them at a reduced price or give them away for free.

Walking home

If you have to walk home alone at night, there are a few rules that you should follow to keep yourself out of danger.

Make sure you stay on roads that are well lit and that are relatively busy. This will make it easier to see anyone who may be approaching you.

It’s often tempting to take a shortcut through the park or down an alleyway. However, a lot of attacks happen in these areas so don't take an unnecessary risk just to cut your journey time by a few minutes.

If you do think you're being followed, cross the road or go into a shop. If you're scared that the person who was following you is waiting outside, tell the person working in the shop. They can check to see if there's anyone hanging around or let you use their telephone to call somebody to come and collect you.

Travelling on a bus

If you are travelling by yourself and you know how to get home, using public transport is much safer than walking. However, you should still use your common sense if you don't want become a victim.

Make sure that you catch a bus at a stop that has other people waiting there. It might mean queuing for longer than you'd like, but it's less scary than waiting by yourself.

Once you get on the bus, try to sit downstairs as it's easier to alert the driver if something does happen that makes you uncomfortable. If you can, sit in a seat next to the aisle so you can move seats easily if you want to.

Travelling on a train

Wait in an area of the platform with plenty of light where you can see if anyone is approaching you. You may also want to stand near a platform attendant if you really want to be safe.

When your train arrives, choose a carriage with people already in it. Also, look out for where the emergency alarms are. If you get into trouble, don't be afraid to use them.

If you are feeling uncomfortable, change carriages. If there’s no way of getting through while the train is moving, stand by the door and change when you get to the next station.

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