Avoidance Tactics

Where you live

  • Avoid deserted laundry rooms; plan to do your laundry with a neighbor or friend.
  • Don't place your first name on mailboxes, doors, etc. Use a first initial instead.
  • Have your keys ready before you get to your door, when returning home at night. If you suspect something is wrong, do not enter your home; go to a neighbor, and call the police.
  • If your landlord does not keep up security (locks, lights), request in writing (and keep a copy of the request) that conditions be improved. You have a right to live in a safe environment!

On the Street

  • How you carry yourself is important. Walking at a steady pace, looking confident, and knowing where you are going can make a difference.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, and who is around you. Listen for footsteps or voices. Stay in well-lighted areas when walking alone after dark.
  • If you must yell for help, yell NO! When possible, direct your request to a specific person. Do not be afraid to make a scene, run or yell at someone to stay away from you if you feel threatened.

Tips for Protection when Driving 

  • Keep your purse and other valuables out of sight, under the seat or in the glove compartment.
  • Keep doors locked at all times.
  • Park in well-lighted and well-traveled areas; try to park in middle rows rather than corners where you may be trapped by someone.
  • Check the floor and back seat before getting in the car. While approaching your car, look underneath it.
  • Have a friend or security guard walk you to your car when working late. Do not hesitate to ask security or a friend to walk with you anytime you feel vulnerable.
  • When leaving your keys with a garage or parking attendant, leave car keys only, not house keys.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Try to use ATM machines during daylight hours or when other people are around. Put your cash away as soon as possible.
  • If you feel you are being followed, do not drive home. Drive to a safe location and honk your horn or do something to attract attention.


Develop your own self-defense routines and scenarios to assist you in reacting quickly and effectively.

  • Trust your instincts and feelings. If it does not feel right, act on that instinct!
  • Focus on survival.
  • End obscene or uneasy conversation. 
  • Use your strengths against the attacker’s weaknesses.
  • Consider your options, i.e., exits, weapons available, what body parts are free (legs or arms).
  • Take a self-defense course.