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Winnipeg Police Service


Crime Prevention > Personal Safety

Safety in the Home | Safety in the Workplace | Safety on the Street | Safety While Travelling | Senior Safety | Professional Home Visitors | Protecting Yourself From Sexual Assault

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Senior Safety

Crime can strike anyone, anywhere! Victims can be anyone of any age, economic status, profession or occupation. It is important that you think safety and incorporate this into your lifestyle. Admit to yourself that you could become a victim, and TakeAction to prevent crime from happening. Be suspicious because too much faith in human nature can make you an easy target for a criminal.

Trust your good judgment. Common sense is the best defense


  • Plan ahead with safety in mind.
  • Try to take a bus, taxi or arrange a ride.
  • When possible, call ahead and let others know your arrival time.
  • Travel on busy, well-lighted streets.
  • Always carry change in your pocket so you can make a phone call. Remember that you do not need any money to make emergency 911 telephone calls from a payphone.
  • Always know the street name where you are and know the address of your destination.
  • When approaching your home, have the key that unlocks the door ready in your hand

Remember: an area is not safe just because you are familiar with it


  • When out walking, use the buddy system whenever possible. There is safety in numbers.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. Be alert and look over your shoulder from time to time.
  • PURSES – When criminals see purses, they associate that purse with money 100% of the time. If pedestrians do not carry purses, they dramatically decrease their chances of becoming victims of a purse snatching. Instead of carrying a purse, use a beltpack, fannypack, wallet or anything that can be concealed on your person. Before you leave your home, ask yourself if you really have to take a purse or whether you can carry what you need in a safer way. If you decide to take a purse, carry only what you really need inside it.
  • Walk confidently with your head up and show a sense of purpose.
  • Walk facing traffic to deter someone from being able to sneak up on you or follow you in a vehicle.
  • Walk in the center of the sidewalk, not too close to the street, and not too close to the building entrances or bushes.
  • If you are being followed, go to an open business or a house displaying a block parent sign. Otherwise, go to a house where the lights are on, and ask someone to call the police.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and footwear to remain sturdy and speed up if it is necessary.
  • Do not take shortcuts through empty lots and dark alleys to try and save time. If you are victimized in these places it will take longer for someone to come to your rescue.
  • If you go out walking after dark, carry a flashlight in your hand to illuminate your path.
  • A personal safety device makes a loud noise if you activate it and attracts unwanted attention to a potential criminal. Carrying it in your hand is a visible deterrent to a criminal, and it can be activated quickly if it becomes necessary.
  • If confronted by a panhandler who asks for money, be assertive, keep moving and don’t give them any money. Make donations to food banks or charities that you know use this money for what you intend. Report any aggressive panhandlers or assaults to the police as soon as possible.
  • If a criminal who wants your money, purse or valuables confronts you – cooperate and give them up. Your personal safety is the most important thing.


Strangers At The Door - Reports of criminals robbing victims who open the door to strangers are all too common in today’s headlines. Here are some steps you can take to prevent such an occurrence from happening to you:

  • Keep your doors locked and windows secure at all times.
  • Place a peephole in the door so you can look out and see who is on the other side.
  • Do not open the door to anyone you do not know without some kind of verification of identification. If you are not satisfied with the identification – do not open the door. It is your home and you do not have to allow any access to it.
  • If a stranger comes to the door asking you to make a telephone call, do not open the door. Offer to make the call for them.
  • Never give out personal information to any stranger who comes to your door.
  • Do not let anyone who comes to your door know that you are alone in the residence.
  • You do not have to participate in surveys – that is your choice.
  • If a stranger comes to your door and refuses to leave, advise them that you will call the police. Do not panic or argue, but be firm and state your intent confidently.
  • At night, surround your house with adequate lighting (sensor lights, floodlights, etc.).

Service and Delivery People

  • If possible, have all service and delivery people attend your residence by appointment or prior arrangement.
  • Do not hide keys outside of your house for the delivery person to use while you are not home.
  • Do not leave valuables open to view or to a delivery person who is unattended while in your premises.
  • If you do not like who you see when the delivery or service person arrives – you can send them away.
  • Ask for identification from any delivery or service personnel who attend your residence. Be sure to utilize reputable and reliable businesses for service calls. Take the time to check on references regarding any company that you plan to have work or perform service for you.

Other Things You Should Consider

  • Take all precautions when storing firearms, toxins, medicines or flammable materials.
  • Install fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Do not use double cylinder deadbolt locks – these are not legal in residences.
  • Display house address numbers on the front and back of your residence.
  • Use exterior motion lighting and interior light timers.
  • Display alarm permits, system stickers and Neighbourhood Watch stickers in a visible place.
  • Apply the 3-foot / 7-foot rule to maintain open sight lines around your residence. Shrubs should be trimmed so they are no higher than 3 feet from the ground and tree boughs overhead should be trimmed so they are no lower than 7 feet.
  • If you return home and find that it has been broken into and you suspect someone may still be inside, go to a safe place and call 911 immediately.
  • Be a good witness; watch for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood and immediately report anything suspicious to the police.
  • Consider a Safe Room in your house. If you are at home when a break-in occurs, make all attempts to get out of the home and go to a safe place where you can immediately call 911. However, if you can not get out of the home, have a designated safe room inside your residence (ex: master bedroom). A safe room should have a strong door, a good lock and a telephone from which you can immediately call 911 for emergency police response.

Safety in your Vehicle  

Before driving your vehicle:

  • Ensure your vehicle is in good running condition because an unexpected breakdown may make you more vulnerable to crime.
  • When approaching the vehicle have the proper key ready in your hand because it reduces the amount of time spent outside your vehicle.
  • Look behind the seat before getting into your vehicle to ensure no one is hidden on the floor.
  • Immediately after getting in, lock all the doors and roll up the windows.
  • When stopped at traffic lights and stop signs, keep the vehicle in drive. If pedestrians or other drivers threaten you, stay in your vehicle, hold down the horn, and drive away as soon as possible.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Do not stop to assist stranded motorists. If you are concerned, contact police at the first chance you get and report the location the motorist was having difficulty.
  • If your vehicle breaks down in an isolated area, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked and wait for someone to stop. Do not get out of your vehicle to speak with strangers who stop; roll the window down an inch and speak through the gap. Ask them to call the police, a tow truck or whatever help that you may require. It is usually safer to stay in your vehicle than to accept a ride with a complete stranger. However, in dangerous, cold weather conditions you may have to accept a ride from a stranger.  Always weigh all your options carefully.
  • If you think you are being followed by another vehicle, do not go home. Drive to the nearest police station or open business, and report this immediately to the police. Do not allow another vehicle to force you to the side of the road - a dented fender can be replaced, but you can’t.
  • Write down the license plate number of any suspicious vehicle or any vehicle where the driver is exhibiting signs of road rage.  Report these incidents to the police.

When arriving at your destination:

  • Park in a well-lighted spot, as near as possible to where you are going.
  • Look around for suspicious people before exiting your vehicle. If you see any, don’t leave your vehicle.
  • Do not leave any valuables, including anything with your address on it inside your vehicle or your vehicle registration. Keep your registration on your person, and supply a photocopy to other people who regularly use your vehicle.

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                                                 


  • Visible deterrent
  • Decreases the risk of criminals stealing and/or breaking into a vehicle

Ignition Switch

  • Invisible 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 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Using Public Transportation

  • Try to use convenient, well-lighted and frequently used bus stops.
  • 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 pm 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.
  • 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. Your transfer point may be in an area of town that you are unfamiliar with.
  • When boarding the bus, try to choose a seat close to the driver. All buses in Winnipeg have two-way radios and the driver can call police rapidly if they are needed.
  • 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.
  • 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.

If you need more information or have any questions about Personal Safety for Seniors, contact the Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322 or via email, or Age & Opportunity at 204-956-6440.

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: 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 23, 2017

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