Personal Safety for Young Adults
Central to your quest for a fulfilled life is your personal safety. Careful forethought and preparation can help ensure your safety at home and while you're out. Here are some ideas about how you can stay safe.
- Stay informed. Learn about the crime rates in your area. Sign up for notifications and safety alerts.
- Put important phone numbers on speed dial. Program the local police or campus police contact information into your phone. Also keep a number for a cab or safe ride in your phone.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Walk assertively and never walk alone at night.
- Ride safely. Use a safe ride service, a cab, a bus, or ride from a friend.
- If you live on a school campus, know the locations of emergency call phones (they tend to be blue).
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, something is probably wrong. Change what you are doing and get to a more secure location.
- Know your route before you go for a jog, walk, or drive somewhere. If walking or jogging, pick a path with high visibility.
- Report any suspicious activity immediately.
- It is ok to ask a group of people to walk with you, if you think you are being followed. You can also walk into any store or restaurant.
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- Know your neighbors.
- Do not keep spare keys hidden near your door. Instead, leave them with a friend or neighbor you trust.
- Don't prop any apartment doors or dorm doors open. People entering should have a key to get in.
- Always lock your door, even if you are coming right back.
- If you're going away, lock all windows and doors, close window curtains, and set a timer for lights so that it appears you are home.
- Do not let strangers into your building if they do not have a key or access card.
- Keep sliding doors blocked by placing a pole in the sliding track to keep doors from opening wide enough for a person to get in.
- When moving in or out of your place, there is opportunity for theft. Minimize this by not placing any boxes, furniture, or suitcases in an unwatched or out of sight area. Also, lock the door every time you step out (and always take your keys with you).
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- When parking, put possessions in the trunk in a place that is not visible.
- Make sure your car has enough gas or electricity.
- Bring a (fully charged) cell phone with you in case you need to call for help.
- Call a tow truck for a lift if your car breaks down. Never take a stranger's offer to help.
- If you hit something, park your car and check out the situation. You may need to call for help or leave insurance information.
- Always park in a safe area that is well lit.
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- Make sure your brakes work. You may need to get them fixed at a bike shop.
- When riding at night, attach a light to your bike so cars can see you.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Know your state's laws. Some states require you to register your bike. If it is registered, keep this record. It can be used to file a police report if your bike is lost or stolen.
- Obey traffic laws. Ride on the right-hand side. Pedestrians have the right of way.
- Be aware of potential cars when passing by driveways or parking lots.
- Lock your bike. Lock both the rear wheel and frame to a bike rack. You may wish to lock the front wheel to the frame to prevent wheel theft.
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- Mail: You do not want your personal information to get into the wrong hands. Rather than using the home mailbox, use the postal service mailboxes for sending mail, in particular bill payments. If you are out of town, have the post office hold your mail until you get back.
- Internet: When making an online purchase, use a secure site. If you must make a payment, use a credit card rather than a debit card. Use anti-virus software and firewalls to protect your computer.
- Shred all documents that have financial or personal information. This includes credit applications, insurance forms, and bank statements.
- Do not give your Social Security Number (SSN) out when you can avoid it. Do not put your SSN on checks or credit receipts. You can usually give a business an alternate set of information if they ask for an SSN.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus and have them place a fraud alert on your file.
- Close all accounts that may have been accessed.
- File a police report and give a copy to the credit bureaus for proof of the incident.
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public health education intern
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
National Crime Prevention Council, Official Web site.
Safety Tips, Drexel University.
Safety Tips, Duke University
What You Can do to Stay Safe, University of Southern California (USC).
For More Information:
See our Safety on the Internet article.
See our Safety & Security Needs article.
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: July 4, 2013