"Street Sense is Common Sense"

Test Your Street Smarts IQ

Do you:

1. Jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late at night when the streets are quiet and deserted?

2. Stuff your purse with cash, keys, credit cards, checkbook - and then leave it wide open on a counter, a desk, the floor? Put your wallet in a jacket, which you then hang up or throw over a chair?

3. Let your mind wander - thinking about your job, or all the things you have to do -- when walking or driving?

4. 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 question, you need to change a few habits. Even if you answered NO and made a perfect score, read on. Spend a few minutes now to prevent trouble later.


Basic Street Sense:

    •    Wherever you are - on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway - stay alert and 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, avoid the person or leave.

    •    Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants or stores that are open late.

On Foot - Day & Night:

    •    Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots or   alleys.

    •    Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like jewelry or expensive clothing.

    •    Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.    

     •    Try to use automated teller machines in the daylight. Have your card in hand.

    •    Don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.

    •    Have you car or house key in hand before you reach the door.

    •    If you think someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant or lighted house. If you're scared, YELL for help.

    •    Have to work late? Make sure there are others in the building, and ask someone - a colleague or security guard - to walk you to your car or transit stop.


On Wheels:

    •    Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get where you're going and back.

    •    Always roll up the windows and lock your car, even if you're coming right back. Check inside and out before getting in.

    •    Avoid parking in isolated areas with little foot or auto traffic. Be especially alert in lots and underground parking garages.

    •    If you think someone is following you, don't head home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station or other business to get help.

    •    Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike yourself.


On Buses and Subways:

    •    Use well-lighted, busy stops.

    •    Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream.

    •    If someone harasses you, don't be embarrassed. Loudly say "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the emergency device.

    •    Watch who gets off with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.


If Someone Tries to Rob You:

    •    Don't resist. Give up your property, don't give up your life!

    •    Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from being victims.

Take a Stand!

    •    Make your neighborhood and workplace safer by reporting broken street lights, cleaning up parks and vacant lots, and lobbying local government for better lighting in public places.

    •    Join a Neighborhood, Apartment or Office Watch to look out for each other and help the police.

    •    Help out a friend or co-worker who's been a victim of a crime. Cook a meal, babysit, find the number for victim services or a crisis hotline. Listen, sympathize, and don't blame.

    •    Look at the root causes. Work for better drug treatment services, crime and drug abuse prevention education, and job and recreational opportunities for young people in your community.