DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Ways to stay safe while on the go this summer

Ways to stay safe while on the go this summer

Pedestrians along a busy city street

As you plan to make the most of your summer, include some advance planning for how to stay safe while you are out and about.

There are easy ways to minimize the potential for risk, whether you're exploring the city or traveling abroad. Public Safety offers the following tips to prompt your thinking about summer safety:

Stay aware of your surroundings

Fiddling with a mobile device or listening through headphones is a great way to kill time while on the go. But don't let these distract you entirely from what's happening around you.

Instead, practice training your senses to recognize what might be an uncomfortable situation or, alternatively, a place of refuge. Scan your surroundings, and use your peripheral vision to notice potential threats and safety outlets.

Trust your intuition, too. If you sense something wrong or out of place, trust that instinct and respond. It is always better to be overcautious than to ignore warning signs.

Here are other tips related to situational awareness:

  • If you feel that someone is following you, try to get to a safe place, such as entering an open business, knocking on the door of a residence or, if needed, asking passersby for assistance.
  • Avoid isolated areas such as alleys, even in the daytime.
  • Keep your valuables in your front pockets, and avoid pulling out any electronics while you're in transit.

Plan your travel ahead of time

Travel in unfamiliar places can often prompt stress, more so when you are unsure about where you are going. In these situations, it's pretty easy for strangers to read your body language. The appearance that you are lost or new to the area could make you a target.

Reviewing your route before you leave the house or office is a great way to settle your mind and refresh your memory.

Give yourself plenty of time to get to an appointment. Nothing will exacerbate travel anxiety like the feeling of running late and needing to hurry.

When you're on public transportation, mind your belongings to lessen the chance of a thief stealing from you.

Here are other tips related to public transportation:

  • Have your train/bus pass accessible before you arrive at the station or bus stop. This way, you won't have to open and dig through your things to find what you need.
  • Try to avoid standing near the exits. The middle of a train car or bus is the safer place to be.
  • Resist the urge to fall asleep on the train or bus.

Know how to respond to a crime

In spite of the best planning and self-awareness, crimes still unfortunately happen to people. If you witness or experience a crime, get yourself to safety as soon as possible.

Once you are safe, check in with yourself emotionally—the experience can be quite upsetting—then call 911 as soon as possible to connect with a first responder.

The 911 operator will ask you to provide as many facts as possible about what you saw and noticed. Revisiting the crime mentally can be distressing, but the information is critical for obtaining a timely and good outcome.

Stay on the telephone with the 911 operator, and provide updates as needed.

Here are other tips related to reporting a crime:

  • To the extent possible, provide the 911 operator and/or police with a description of the offender. Physical identifiers may have caught your attention, consciously and unconsciously, such as race, age, height, weight, hair color, hair length, hairstyle, complexion, distinguishing scars, marks, tattoos, clothing, and shoes.
  • If a vehicle was used, describe its make, model, color, license plate number and the direction it went.