Tread Lightly

  • When in your car, always keep the doors locked. Any time you drive through areas with stoplights, stop signs, or anything that significantly reduces vehicular speed, keep your windows up. 

  • Leave ample maneuvering space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If you are approached by suspicious persons while you are stopped, do not roll down windows - drive away quickly. 
  • Always be familiar with street names and your direction of travel. 

  • If you are being followed or harassed by another driver, call 9-1-1 and allow the dispatcher to guide you while officers respond. 

  • Never, ever pick up hitchhikers! 

  • If you have car trouble on the road and people approach, don't get out of the car unless you know them or it's the police. Ask the "Good Samaritan" to stop at the nearest service station and report your problem if you are unable to get assistance with your cellular phone. 

  • Stay awake and alert when using public transportation. 

  • Familiarize yourself with escape routes in case of fire or other catastrophes. 
  • Sit near other people or near aisles or doors. Learn the location of emergency alarms and exits. If carrying a handbag, keep it in front of you, closed, with the fastening toward your body. 
  • If you feel threatened by the presence of nearby strangers, lock yourself in your car and blow the horn to attract the attention of others. 

Shop Wisely

  • Before leaving home or the office, lock large valuables such as your briefcase, gym bag, or luggage in the trunk. Transferring such items to your trunk when parked in a retail lot may unwittingly advertise what's inside to nearby criminals. 
  • When you park at night, look for highly illuminated areas within close proximity of a lot of people. 

  • No matter where you park, always survey the inside of your vehicle for anything of value and remove it. 

  • Do not wear excess jewelry. 

  • Reduce wallet and purse contents down to only what you need. 

  • Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it secured in a safe place at home.
  • Keep your wallet in your front pants pocket. 

  • In heavily populated areas, be aware of any crowding or jostling, even if it appears innocent. This is often a ploy by pickpockets to distract you. 

  • Avoid taking packages out to lock them in your trunk if you plan to return to the stores to do more shopping. This may provoke an auto burglary and you will return to an empty trunk. 
  • If you think you are being followed out of a store, do not continue to your car. Return to the safety of the occupied shopping area or office building and contact the authorities. 

Travel Safely 

  • Be sure a friend or family member is aware of your departure and return dates, but do not over-publicize your travel or vacation plans, especially on social media sites. 
  • Double-check plane, train, and bus times before you travel. 
  • Do some research on the area you are visiting. Talk to your travel agent or friends who have visited your destination regarding travel advisories or warnings. 

  • At airports, proceed through security checks and go to the boarding area as quickly as possible. These areas are usually the most secure in the airport. 

  • Keep valuables out of sight and luggage close at hand.

  • Never leave valuables in your hotel room exposed or unattended, even in a locked suitcase. Keep jewelry, airplane tickets, credit cards, passports in a hotel safe deposit box or room safe. 

  • Use the door chain or bolt lock whenever you are in your room. 

  • Use the door viewer (peephole) before opening the door to visitors.

  • Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room. 

  • Keep your room neat so you will notice disturbed or missing items quickly.

  • Keep the majority of your funds in travelers' checks and hidden. 

  • Be alert to overly friendly locals who may have criminal intentions. If they offer to take you to a "special" restaurant or tourist location, politely decline.

More Important Tips

  • Consider a trusted house sitter when you are away from home for extended periods. 

  • Always make your house look occupied by keeping interior and exterior lights on. 

  • Put a hold on your mail and newspaper delivery. 

  • Be sure to keep quick access to the 1-800 numbers on the back of your credit and bank cards. If they are lost or stolen, have them disabled immediately to prevent unauthorized transactions. 

  • Before leaving the country, scan a copy of your passport and e-mail it to yourself. If you happen to forget or lose your passport, you will have access to all of the details and getting a replacement will be that much easier.

Road Trips 

  • Always share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. 

  • Keep a fully stocked emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle. This should include a backup battery for your phone, a first-aid kit, reflective warning signs, blankets, non-perishable food, a tire gauge, a flashlight, bottled water, snow shovel, battery jumper box, and cables. 
  • Be sure your vehicle jack works and your spare tire is fully inflated. 

  • Check all fluid levels before, during, and after your trip. 

  • Keep a printed itinerary of your travel routes in case your GPS fails.