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Personal Safety Tips

General Safety Tips

Public Transportation Safety

Banking and ATM Safety


General Safety Tips

Here are general tips for staying safe in a variety of situations, including walking, jogging, shopping, or riding elevators:

  • Stay alert at all times and tuned in to your surroundings, wherever you are. The wearing of headphones while walking or jogging can reduce your level of alertness.
  • Plan your route in advance, and vary your routes whenever possible.
  • Get to know the neighborhoods and neighbors where you live and work. Find out what stores and restaurants are open late and where police and fire stations are located.
  • When walking or jogging, use busy streets, and avoid shortcuts through deserted parks, vacant lots, and unlit passages.
  • At night, walk or jog only on streets with plenty of light and traffic, and avoid walking alone if possible.
  • Walk on the part of the sidewalk close to the street and away from shrubbery, trees, or doorways.
  • Stand tall and walk confidently. Don't make it obvious if you are in unfamiliar territory.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and get help if necessary.
  • Don't carry large sums of cash. If you do carry cash, do not display it in public.
  • If possible, carry only identification, phone numbers, and the credit cards you will need. Keep a list at home of credit cards and other important material you would need to replace in case of loss.
  • Separate your house keys from your car keys. Women should keep their keys in places other than their purses. That way, if your purse is snatched, you will still have your keys.
  • Keep names and phone numbers of relatives or friends on your person, in the event of an accident or emergency.
  • Consider carrying a whistle or other noisemaker, and sound it loudly if you are accosted or feel threatened.
  • Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas. Thieves often work in pairs. One may bump you or cut you off, while the other is picking your pocket.
  • A good purse is one with a flap that folds over the opening and fastens at the bottom, and often has an interior zipper. The easiest purse for you to open is also the easiest for a pickpocket to steal from.
  • Purses should be carried close to the body, under an exterior garment, and slung across the body. Flaps should be secured and turned toward the body at all times.
  • Wallets should be carried in an inside coat pocket and cash in a front pants pocket. A rubber band tied several times around a wallet can increase friction and make it easier for you to notice if you are being pickpocketed.
  • Avoid wearing excessive jewelry. In particular, keep necklaces and bracelets inside your clothing.
  • Don't discuss personal information with strangers.
  • Before entering an elevator, look at the persons already in the car. If you are uneasy, wait for the next elevator.
  • If a suspicious person enters an elevator and you are uneasy, then get off right away.
  • If you notice a person in an elevator has not pushed a floor indicator button, do not get off at your floor. Go back to the lobby and report the suspicious activity.
  • Stand near the control buttons. If threatened or attacked, sound the alarm and push several floor buttons if possible.

Public Transportation Safety

You should always remain alert when riding public transportation. Here are some tips for remaining safe:

  • Plan your trip. If necessary, call NJ Transit (1-800-772-2222) for night-time schedules for your bus or train.
  • "Call backs" are a good idea. Advise a family member, friend, or co-worker of your travel route and time. Call them when you arrive safely.
  • Have your exact fare ready before you leave home, the office, or a store. This way you won't have to fumble for your money at fare box, or display extra cash.
  • Use the busiest, best-lit stop possible both to get on and get off a bus or subway. If you must wait, stay near the attendant's stand or in the best-lit area available.
  • Find a seat on the aisle if possible. This allows you to observe everything around you, and to avoid getting "boxed in" against the window.
  • Sit near the driver or operator, if possible, but avoid sitting right next to the door. Thieves may try to snatch jewelry or personal belongings from people near the door and then exit quickly.
  • Don't let yourself doze off on a bus or subway, or become too engrossed in a book. It can make you an easy target.
  • Keep your purse, shopping bag, backpack, packages, or other belongings in your lap, on your arm, or between your feet. Do not leave them on an empty seat.
  • Avoid displaying expensive looking watches, rings, necklaces, or other jewelry. Don't invite trouble.
  • Be wary of noisy passengers arguing or causing a commotion. This could be staged to distract you while others are trying to steal your valuables.
  • Observe the behavior of those around you. If you feel uneasy or threatened, change your seat or alert the conductor of driver.
  • Minimize the chances of losing your property by avoiding crowded buses and train cars.

Banking and ATM Safety

Automatic teller machines (ATMs) have revolutionized the personal banking industry, providing unprecedented ease and convenience. But they have also created new opportunities for thieves and robbers. Here are some tips to keep you and your money secure while conducting all types of banking transactions.

  • Never walk away from the teller's window or an ATM with cash still in hand. If you are going to count your money, do so at the window or the ATM. Then take the time to put your money in your wallet and to put your wallet in an inside pocket or pouch before leaving.
  • Be aware of your surroundings while making transactions at an ATM. If you feel uneasy, end the transaction as quickly as possible and leave the area.
  • Look around before entering a secured ATM center. Never hold the door open for someone else entering an ATM location. You could be letting in a possible offender.
  • If someone follows you into an ATM center and you feel uncomfortable, leave right away.
  • Avoid using ATMs at night.
  • Fill out deposit slips before beginning your transaction and not in plain view. Complete your transaction quickly.
  • Use your body as a shield when making a transaction at the bank teller or the ATM.
  • Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) private. Never affix it to your card or keep a copy in the same wallet as your card.
  • Take all receipts with you. You don't want to let a potential criminal know how much money you have withdrawn or how much you have in the bank.
  • Avoid large cash withdrawals.
  • When making an ATM transaction from your car, be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes and ears open, and keep car doors locked.

Kenneth McCormick
Director
710 Hermann Road
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
(732) 247-0922, ext. 400
E-mail
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