Fortunately for ACT residents, Canberra remains one of the safest cities in the world, well below the national average in violent crime. However, we must still remain vigilant to protect ourselves from becoming victims of crime.
Always be prepared through the following:
- Be alert and aware of the people around you
- Educate yourself concerning prevention tactics
- Be aware of locations and situations that could make you vulnerable to crime, such as lane ways, isolated parks and buildings, back streets and poorly lit parking lots.
By using commonsense precautions, whether it be when shopping, out at night, using the ATM , when in your car, in the street, catching the bus or if you are attacked, you can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing personal harm as a result of criminal behaviour. The use of personal alarms can deter would-be attackers and help you to gain assistance in the case of any emergency.
The ACT Government and ACT Policing work together on the Civic Safety Program to monitor safety in the city. As part of this program, closed circuit television cameras have been positioned in key locations throughout the city and are used to assist in crime prevention and crime detection.
On this page:
- Do not carry large amounts of money with you.
- Do not carry signed withdrawal forms with your bankbook or in your bag.
- Carry your money and credit cards separately from your bag (use a pocket or money belt).
- Consider the type of bag you use and how you carry it. This can make it harder for the thief to take it from you. Use a small bag with a zip and hold it close and in front of you.
- Do not leave handbags or personal items in your shopping trolley.
Out at night
- Think ahead and consider how you are going to get home. What about pre-booking a taxi or arranging a lift with a friend or family member?
- Never hitch-hike.
- Make sure you stay with your party and someone knows where you are at all times.
- Make sure you have enough money to get home or to phone.
- Keep away from trouble. If you see any trouble or suspect it might be about to start - keep clear. The best thing you can do is to alert the police and keep away.
- Walk purposely and try to appear confident. Be wary of casual requests from strangers, like someone asking for a cigarette or change - they could have ulterior motives.
- Try not to carry your wallet in your back trouser pocket where it is vulnerable and in clear view.
Using an ATM
- Never divulge your personal identification number (PIN) to anyone.
- Be quick and do not hang around the ATM when you have completed your transactions.
- Be aware of who is around you when using an ATM.
- Secure your wallet or purse when using the ATM.
- Never count your money on the street, put it away as soon as possible.
- Do not write your PIN down even if it is disguised or in code.
In your car
- Never pick up hitch-hikers.
- Make sure your car is roadworthy and you have sufficient fuel for your journey.
- Make sure you know the location and condition of your spare tyre, where the jacking points on your car are and how to change a tyre.
- Consider carrying a small torch in your car for emergencies.
- When parking use well-lit areas and consider the route back to the car park. Is it well lit? Will there be other people around when you return to your car?
- Always lock your car no matter how long you will be away from it.
- Never leave valuables in your car.
- Have your keys handy when returning back to your car, especially at night.
- Try to always be aware of your exact location. In unfamiliar surroundings try to remember landmarks and place names around you.
- If you think you are being followed drive to a public place like a police station, shopping centre, service station or hospital emergency entrance.
- If you do nnt already have one, consider buying a mobile phone for ready access to emergency communication.
In the street
- Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you, especially if you are alone or it is dark.
- Whenever possible, travel with a friend or as part of a group.
- Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
- Walk confidently and at a steady pace.
- Make eye contact with people when walking - let them know that you have noticed their presence.
- Do not respond to conversation from strangers on the street or in a car - continue walking.
- Never hitch-hike.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid using personal stereos or radios - you might not hear trouble approaching.
- If you are out and about always keep your briefcase or bag in view and close to your body.
- Be discrete with your cash or mobile phones.
- When going to your car or home, have your keys at hand and easily accessible.
- Consider carrying a personal attack alarm.
- If you do not have a mobile phone, make sure you have a phone card or change to make a phone call, but remember - emergency triple zero (000) calls are free of charge.
Catching the bus
Waiting for a bus
- Avoid isolated bus stops.
- Stand away from the curb until the bus arrives.
- Do not open your purse or wallet while boarding the bus - have your money/pass already in hand.
- At night wait in well lit areas and near other people.
- Check timetables to avoid long waits.
Riding on the bus
- Sit as close to the bus driver as possible.
- Stay alert and be aware of the people around you.
- If someone bothers you change seats and tell the driver.
- Keep your purse/packages close by your side. Keep your wallet inside a front coat pocket.
- Check your purse/wallet if someone is jostling, crowding or pushing you.
- If you see any suspicious activity inform the driver.
If you are attacked
- If someone tries to take your bag or other personal belongings let them. These can be replaced - you cannot.
- Scream, make lots of noise and attract attention. Use your personal attack alarm if you have one.
- Try to get a good description of offenders and report all incidents to the police as soon as possible.
- If the offender is still nearby, run away, get to a safe place and call the police, using triple zero (000).
- Get away as quickly as you can. Head towards a busy street, a shop, service station or police station if there is one nearby.
- Give police as much information as possible - including for example, a full description of what has been stolen, a description of offender(s), when and where it happened, where the offender is now and what direction they ran off in.
Personal alarms are compact and easily carried. When activated, they will emit a loud, piercing noise. They are available from a range of commercial outlets at various prices. They are useful to:
- Deter would-be attackers by raising awareness of your plight to other people in a public area. (However, remember that these types of alarms aim to act as a deterrent and attract attention. They do not guarantee protection from attack.)
- Obtain help in the case of any emergency.
- Tie into a fixed base alarm system or connect to a phone system to call for help (particularly useful for people living on their own in isolated circumstances, and who may suffer from illness and fragility).
For further information and advice on safety and security see the following sections of this website: