The Territory is a place where most people feel safe from the dangers of ‘big city’ crime – muggings, assaults, road rage, bag snatchers and worse. But the unexpected can happen. A few simple precautions can improve your personal safety and make life in the Territory even more secure.
Out at night
Walking home alone after dark and after a few drinks, even a short distance, makes you very vulnerable. Avoid it anyway you can – walk with friends, take a taxi, call a minibus, arrange a lift. Don’t put yourself at risk. Remember, alcohol makes you more confident – and less competent.
On the street
- Stay alert, walk confidently, know where you are heading. If you feel unsafe go to a well-lit area where there are other people around.
- Make sure friends know where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic.
- If you often walk alone for exercise or enjoyment, carry a personal safety alarm or mobile phone.
- If you wear headphones keep the volume at a level so that you can still hear what is happening around you.
- Avoid, if possible, overgrown areas, blind corners and places where someone could hide.
- Be wary of anyone, particularly in a car, who asks for directions or tries to engage you in conversation.
- If possible, don’t carry cash or valuables. Carry any bag on the side furthest from the road. Don’t let the bag, or straps, hang loosely.
- Keep valuable items, such as you mobile phone, iPod, etc out of sight.
- If someone harasses you, take a note of their appearance and dress, vehicle description if any, number plate if possible, and report the matter to police as soon as possible.
On the bus
- Know timetables, so you don’t have to wait long for the bus.
- At night, choose well-lit stops, near other people, if possible.
- Carry a (concealed) mobile phone, spare change or phone card for emergencies.
- In a bus with only one or two other passengers, sit near the driver.
- If the behaviour of others is offensive or illegal, alert the driver and contact police.
- If you are harassed or threatened, complain loudly to draw attention to yourself.
- After dark, if there is distance between the stop and home, arrange to be collected.
- Keep any personal belongings where you can see them.
On the road
- Service your vehicle regularly and check your fuel gauge before travelling.
- Keep a torch, pen and paper in your car.
- Have your car keys ready when approaching your vehicle.
- Check for people loitering purposelessly when entering or leaving your vehicle.
- Whenever possibly keep windows up and doors locked.
- When driving alone, particularly where there is little traffic, don’t stop to assist others who wave you down.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Don’t respond to others driving aggressively. Ignore them, avoid eye contact.
- Don’t leave valuables inside the car where they can be seen.
- If you do have an accident, it is not necessary to leave your vehicle, particularly if others involved are aggressive. Exchange details through a partly opened window, with doors locked.
- If your vehicle does break down, particularly in an isolated area, put on hazard lights, raise the bonnet, stay inside the car, deal with others who stop to assist initially from behind locked doors with window partially open.
- Don’t accept a lift from passers-by. Stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
- Consider joining the Automobile Association of the Northern Territory (AANT) for roadside assistance.
At the shops
- Do not ‘flash your cash’ – keep cash and valuables concealed.
- Don’t leave purse, wallet, bags or valuables in the shopping trolley.
- In shopping car parks be alert to people loitering nearby.
- Keep an eye on your bag while loading shopping into your car.
- Keep your bag close to you but do not wrap straps around the wrist.
- If your bag is grabbed it is best to let go to avoid injury, but draw attention to yourself by protesting loudly, note the appearance of the offender and contact police.
At the ATM
- Don’t let people see you enter your PIN number.
- Avoid using Automatic Teller Machines in isolated or dark locations.
- Count your cash out of sight of others.
- Memorise your PIN and do not carry signed withdrawal forms with your bank book.
- If you feel unsafe or that you’re being watched, hit CANCEL, withdraw your card and walk away.