Public Commuting Safety


  • Plan your route carefully; avoid shortcuts and unlit areas.
  • Walk on well lit streets, in the centre of the sidewalk, away from bushes, doorways and parked cars - anywhere that an attacker could hide. Cross the road if necessary.
  • Keep your keys in your hand.
  • Walk confidently and with a purpose. Observe your surroundings.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, cross the street, go to the nearest home or open business, and call the police.
  • Walk facing traffic. If someone in a car is bothering you, turn around and walk the other way. Try to get the license plate number and report it to the police.
  • When you feel something just isn't right, trust your feelings.
  • Digging in your purse, wearing headphones or struggling with heavy briefcases, luggage and uncomfortable clothing reduces your ability to be prepared.
  • Carry a personal safety alarm on your key ring, or wear it around your neck or pinned to your clothing.
  • Report any suspicious incidents to employers or police.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, such as runners.
  • If you are using a stairwell be sure it is well lit and that you can quickly exit to a safe place.
  • If you think someone is following you, turn around and check. Let them know that you are aware of their presence. Do not go to your car or your house. Cross the street and go to a safe place, such as a store or restaurant.

Riding the Bus or Transit System

  • Carry a schedule. After dark, arrive just before the transit vehicle is due.
  • On the bus, sit near others and tell the driver if you are being bothered.
  • Use the Request Stop service available on some bus routes. Call your local transit company for more information on this service.

Your Car

  • Keep your doors locked at all times while driving and when leaving your vehicle unattended.
  • Before entering your car, look inside to make sure no one is hiding inside, even if the doors were locked.
  • When returning to your car have your keys in your hand so you don't have to spend extra time searching for them.
  • Keep your purse and valuables out of sight, not on the front seat. It's a temptation for thieves to open the door and grab them when you are stopped in traffic.
  • Survey surroundings before getting out of your car.
  • Travel on well-lit streets and well-travelled roads.
  • Don't stop to help a stranded motorist. Instead, stop at the nearest phone booth and call for assistance.
  • Have a "HELP! CALL POLICE" sign in your car for emergencies.
  • If you suspect someone is following you, go to the nearest service station, drive-in restaurant, or police station and blow the horn.
  • For winter driving, make sure the gas tank is always filled and winter safety supplies are in your car.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Do not identify your keys with car plate numbers or name and address.
  • Carry personal safety alarms on your key chain. They will help attract attention if you are attacked.
  • Keep your car in good repair, the tank at least half full, and always check the tires.
  • Park in well lit spaces. Walk with others after dark.
  • If you use underground parkades, make sure you park near the attendant or exit.
  • Don't open your car window more than a couple of centimetres to speak to someone approaching your car, or just drive away if you feel uncomfortable.
  • If you suspect another car is following you, do not go home. Drive to a service, police, or fire station and stay in your car, honking your horn in short repeated blasts until someone comes out to help you.

If your Car Breaks Down

  • Place a "HELP! CALL POLICE!" sign in the window. Do not raise the hood of your car as that stops you from noticing if someone is approaching the car. Put the four way flashers on and wait for police.
  • Stay in the car with the windows closed and doors locked.
  • Only open the window a couple of centimetres to speak to anyone other than the police.
  • Do not be embarrassed to say no to people who offer assistance.