Essex is a safe county and the chances of you, a friend or a member of your family becoming a victim of violent crime are low.
However there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe. Planning your journeys, staying alert and avoiding poorly lit alleyways and car parks are just a few.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust is a charity devoted to providing practical support and personal safety guidance. Visit the trust's website for detailed advice and take a look at our tips below.
Before you go out, from heading out with friends or even making your journey into work, think about how you are going to get home. Avoid travelling alone and set aside some money in advance. Can you travel home with a friend? What time does the last bus or train leave?
- Think about what you need to take with you. If you must take valuables with you try not to keep them all in one place. Instead place valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket.
- Think about carrying a personal safety alarm.
- We all have the right to wear what we want but it’s worth remembering that you can help to reduce the risks by wearing clothes you can move in easily.
- Be extra careful when using cashpoints. Make sure nobody is hovering nearby and don't count your money in the street.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings – if you're chatting on your mobile phone or listening to your iPod you won't hear trouble approaching.
- Trust your instincts if you think you are being followed. As confidently as you can, cross the road, turning to see who is behind you and head for a busy area where you can tell people what's happening. If necessary, call the police.
- Obtain timetable and fare information before travelling to prevent you waiting around for long periods at bus stops or stations.
- When waiting for public transport after dark, try to wait in well-lit areas and near emergency alarms and CCTV cameras.
Walking alone and street safety
It takes three things for a violent or aggressive situation to happen - a victim, a perpetrator and an opportunity. By taking some suitable safety precautions such as those listed above, you can reduce the opportunities and therefore the risk of becoming a victim.
- Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks.
- Try to use well lit, busy streets and use the route you know best.
- Whenever possible, walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers.
- If you are at all worried, try and stay near a group of people.
- Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
- Beware of someone who warns you of the danger of walking alone and then offers to accompany you. This is a ploy some attackers have been known to use.
- Never accept a lift from a stranger or someone you don’t know very well even if you are wet, tired or running late.
A helpine for anyone affected by stalking and harrassement has been set up by the Network for Surviving Stalking, Protection Against Stalking and Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
The helpline offers information, advice and guidance via a telephone line 0808 802 0300 email service [email protected] and website www.stalkinghelpline.org
The helpline offers practical advice about personal safety, how to collect evidence and what to do about silent phone calls or malicious communications,
If you feel someone has an unhealthy interest in you or believe you are a victim of stalking, call Essex Police on 101. If you are in immediate danger dial 999.