Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More
Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department
Business in SeattleLiving in SeattleVisiting SeattleCity ServicesCity Departments
Contact Us at (206) 684-2489, TTY Dial 7 1 1
Seattle Police Department - Home Page
SPD Home / Safety & Prevention / Personal Safety Tips

PERSONAL SAFETY TIPS

Personal Safety

Walk alertly, confidently and pay attention to your surroundings.

GENERAL SAFETY TIPS

  • Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid "automatic pilot"
  • Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
  • Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
  • Stick to well-lit areas.
  • Develop a plan before you see trouble.  Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
  • If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
  • Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
  • Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.

SAFETY ON THE STREET

  • Before you leave home decide what you actually need to take with you rather than automatically taking your entire handbag or wallet out of habit.  For example, if you are going to the grocery store for a few items, you can carry cash, a single check, or credit/debit card, I.D. and keys in a pocket.
  • Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable, low profile and appropriate for the weather.  This may not be the most fashionable choice but it is the safest.
  • Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings.  Avoid shortcuts.  Walk confidently.  Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
  • If you must carry valuables like important papers, jewelry, cash etc., chose to wear clothes with inside pockets or use a small bag with a long thin strap to be worn under your coat or clothes. 
  • Never carry a wallet in back pocket of pants or jacket or sweater pocket. All cash should be carried in front pockets of pants.
  • Carry your keys and ID separately.  If someone gets your keys and ID, they may go to your home or business and access that location with the keys.
  • If you must make a large, cash purchase, plan ahead and take a companion along.  There really is safety in numbers.  If you do not drive or cannot get a ride use a taxi rather than a bus to minimize waiting time.
  • If you use bank machines (ATM’s) choose one located in a well-lit, busy spot like inside a grocery store.  Put your card and cash away before leaving the machine.
  • Don't display large sums of cash and don’t carry any more cash than is necessary.  Use checks where possible.  Most stores accept checks, check cards and debit cards as well
  • Never leave your purse unattended, even if it is in a shopping cart.
  • Carry your purse very close to you preferable with the strap over your shoulder and the purse to the front of your body.  Don’t dangle it from your arm. 
  • Avoid walking alone at night.  As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.

SPOT AND AVOID POTENTIAL TROUBLE

  • Be aware of your surroundings and know who is nearby.

  • Pay attention to the uncomfortable feelings that often warn us of potential danger.

  • Don't be afraid to cross the street, return to a business, or ask for help based on a "funny feeling". You may be right!

RESPONDING TO A CONFRONTATION

  • If a robber grabs your bag, resist the impulse to play tug of war. If you hang on, chances are you will be knocked down, hit, or kicked and the robber will get your bag anyway.

  • Victims sometimes tell a robber they have no money. This technique may backfire. It is safer to give up a few dollars. Carry a little money in an accessible place for just this purpose. Keep it separate from other funds.

  • If someone demands your property and displays or implies in anyway that they have a weapon, hand the bag or wallet to them.

 

 

 
SPD Badge
SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Headquarters: 610 5th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98124-4986
Site Disclaimer: The Seattle Police Department's website was developed to provide general information. Data contained at this location is generally not reviewed for legal sufficiency. SPD documents displayed are for reference purposes only. Their completeness or currency are not guaranteed. Links or references to other information or organizations are for reference only and do not constitute an endorsement.