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Winnipeg Police Service

Crime Prevention > Personal Safety

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Personal Safety On the Street

The least expensive and most effective measure you can take to protect yourself against crime is to adopt a security conscious lifestyle. You can incorporate certain habits into your daily routine that make you and your family less vulnerable. A basic rule is to stay alert to your surroundings, trust your instincts and, if you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, TakeAction, and leave immediately.

The best prevention is precaution.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

  • One of the most successful deterrents to street crime is the buddy system. A lone person is the best target for a criminal. Travel in pairs or with a group whenever you can.
  • A personal alarm, carried in plain view in a person’s hand while walking, is a visible deterrent against being attacked or robbed.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and don’t use unfamiliar shortcuts to save time.
  • Plan a safe route and stick to it.
  • Do not wear restrictive clothing or flashy jewelry.
  • Stay on busy, well-lighted streets.
  • Walk in the middle of the sidewalk.
  • Set boundaries and keep a safe distance from strangers on the street.
  • Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars.
  • If you are being followed, change directions and head for a populated area.
  • Always carry emergency money and keys separate from your purse or wallet.
  • Never accept rides from strangers or people you do not know well.
  • When you jog or cycle, vary your route and use populated paths.
  • When you are leaving the house to go shopping, carry only the methods of payment that you will need. Why carry cash, your chequebook, ATM card and credit cards, when you will not need them all to pay for your purchases?
  • PURSES – Criminals associate purses with money 100% of the time. You dramatically decrease the chances of becoming a robbery victim by carrying a belt pack, fanny pack or wallet instead of a purse. Before leaving home, ask yourself if you really have to take your purse. If you decide to take your purse, carry only what you need inside it.
  • To reduce the chances of injury in a purse snatching, avoid wrapping the purse strap around your wrist, forearm or shoulder.
  • If you are involved in a robbery, cooperate as best you can and give up your money. Remember: your personal safety is the number one priority!
  • PANHANDLERS - It is not illegal to panhandle in Canada. Most panhandlers are not aggressive. Do not make eye contact with a panhandler unless they request money. Then, you should make eye contact and politely decline to give them anything. Do not swear or be abusive. A polite No usually works. If you do offer them something, they are more inclined to be back at the same spot the next day

USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Transit buses
  • Try to use convenient, well-lighted and frequently used bus stops.
  • Make sure that you aren’t alone at an isolated bus stop for a long period of time. If you must walk home late at night from a bus stop, try to arrange for someone to meet you.
  • Know where you are going, where you have to transfer and how to get back home. Take into account that your transfer point may be in an area of town you are unfamiliar with.
  • When boarding the bus, try to choose a seat close to the driver. All buses in Winnipeg are equipped with two-way radios and can summon police rapidly if they are required.
  • If you are verbally or physically harassed while you are riding the bus, attract the attention of the driver and other passengers by talking loudly and screaming. Report the incident to the bus driver immediately.
  • Use Request Stop when riding the bus. This service allows transit passengers to get off the bus between regular stops and is in effect 7 days a week from 7 p.m. until end of service. Just ask the bus driver to stop and let you off at the closest location on their route to your destination. Visit the Winnipeg Transit website for more information.
  • Be alert to who gets on and off the bus with you. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, walk immediately to a public place where there are people present.
  • When riding in a taxi, sit in the back seat

VEHICLE SAFETY

Woman getting into a vehicleIt is important that you TakeAction and incorporate certain habits into your daily routine that make you, your family and your vehicle less vulnerable to crime.

When Your Vehicle Is Occupied

  • Ensure your vehicle is in good running order and mechanically sound before leaving for your destination.  Keep gas tank at least ¼ full.
  • Keep the doors of your vehicle locked at all times, not just when you are driving in a rough area of town.
  • Ensure you know the proper route to your destination to avoid having to stop to ask strangers for directions.
  • If you feel you are being followed, drive onto the lot of a well-lighted open business. If the vehicle follows you, remain inside your locked car and honk the horn until someone comes to assist you.
  • If you observe a vehicle driving carelessly or erratically, do not try to pass it to get away from it. Slow down to let it get ahead of you, and if possible record the license plate number.  Report this vehicle to the police as soon as possible.
  • If your vehicle breaks down, try to pull over to the side of the road, turn on your four way flashers, and display a CALL POLICE sign in your window. Only open your window an inch to allow someone to talk to you and ask them to call police for you if you do not have a cellular phone.
  • If you see a motorist who needs assistance, call police for them from the nearest telephone, do not get out of your car to try and help.
  • When involved in a minor motor vehicle accident, quickly assess the damage, then remove the damaged vehicles from the roadway and exchange particulars in a safe place.
  • When emergency vehicles are approaching you with lights and sirens activated, pull over to the right and come to a complete stop.
  • When being pulled over by the police, pull over to the right and stop in the first available safe place. Remain in your vehicle and await instructions from the police officer.
  • When parking your car, look for a busy, well-lighted parking lot and park as close to the entrance as possible.

When Your Vehicle Is Unoccupied

  • Always try to park in well-lighted and busy areas. This is important for both your personal safety and the protection of your vehicle and its contents.
  • When your vehicle is left unoccupied, all doors should be locked and windows closed. NEVER leave the motor running or the key in the ignition when your vehicle is unoccupied. This is an open invitation to a car thief.
  • Do not leave packages or property in plain view inside your vehicle. Keep the vehicle clean and empty of personal items which may attract thieves.
  • Keep any papers with personal information, such as names, addresses and phone numbers, out of the vehicle. This includes your vehicle’s registration, which should be carried with your driver’s license. Other drivers of the vehicle should carry a photocopy of your vehicle’s registration.
  • Never use your name on a license plate or key fob, this identifies you to strangers.
  • Never hide an extra vehicle key under the hood or on the vehicle. Car thieves know all the places to look.
  • When approaching your parked vehicle, have the key ready. Take a quick look at the vehicle to ensure it has not been damaged or broken into and no one is waiting inside, then quickly open door, get in and lock the door immediately.
  • When carrying children and groceries in your vehicle, place children in the vehicle first, then load the groceries.  For extra precaution ask a store employee to accompany you to your car. Do not start the car until you are behind the steering wheel.
  • Purchase and use one or more of the following anti-theft devices:

Steering Wheel Lock - visible deterrent - increases the difficulty in stealing the vehicle, but does not prevent the theft of articles from inside your vehicle.

Alarm - visible deterrent - decreases the risk of criminals stealing and/or breaking into a vehicle.

Ignition Switch - hidden device - does not decrease the risk of your vehicle being broken into and damaged, but does prevent vehicle theft

Combat Auto Theft (CAT) Sticker - visible deterrent – gives the police grounds to stop your vehicle if it is seen being driven between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The free CAT stickers are available at any Police Station or Service Centre.

If you need more information or have any questions about personal safety on the street, contact the Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322 or via email.


If you would like a Police Officer to provide a Power Point Presentation on this topic you can forward your request via one of three ways:
  • email your request to wps-communityrelations@winnipeg.ca
  • fax your request to 204-957-2450
  • mail your request to:
    Unit Commander
    Community Relations Unit
    P.O Box 1680
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Canada R3C 2Z7
Due to demand, we request you contact us at least six weeks prior to the event. Most presentations are one hour in duration and handouts are provided. The presentation is free of charge - room to be supplied by the organization requesting the presentation, with a minimum of 20 attendees.


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Last update: August 1, 2012

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